Update pack 7 breaks printing to PDF

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Update pack 7 breaks printing to PDF

Postby qazwsxedc on Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:58 pm

As subject line. Verified a second time by checking a pre-UP7 installation using the same procedure as set out below, which worked fine, applying UP7, then seeing it fail as described below.

Environment: Linux [machine_name] 3.10-2-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.10.5-1 (2013-08-07) x86_64 GNU/Linux, Pluma 1.6.0 and Mozilla Firefox 24.0

Steps to reproduce: (Pluma is only used as an easy example of an application that should be able to print to file. This problem isn't specific to Pluma. Printing to PDF fails in the same or similar way with any application that doesn't have its own PDF print driver.)

1. Open Pluma, type some text.
2. Select File - Print - "General" tab - Output format: PDF
3. Enter a file name and select a directory to generate it in.
4. Click Print. File is generated as expected. So far so good.
5. Delete the PDF file just generated.
6. Again, select File - Print - "General" tab - Output format: PDF. File name and output directory will still be the same as in step 3.
7. Click Print.

Expected behaviour: PDF file is generated in the same way as it was in step 4. Observed behaviour: No PDF file is generated, and Pluma raises a model dialog box saying: "Error printing Operation not supported"

8. Close the modal dialog box.
9. Select File - Print - "General" tab.

Expected behaviour: Pluma raises the "Print" dialog box, shows the file name used in steps 3 and 6 in the "Name" field and the directory used in steps 3 and 6 in the "Save in folder:" dropdown. Observed behaviour: "Name" field is empty, "Save in folder:" dropdown shows "(None)".

10. Manually enter same filename and select same directory as in steps 3 and 6, then click "Print". PDF file will be generated again.
11. Go to step 5, lather, rinse, repeat.

To summarize: Every *second* attempt to print to PDF will fail, no matter whether the specified file already exists or not.

Another application with which to easily demonstrate this is Mozilla Firefox, which will also fail on the second and every subsequent attempt to print, but silently, without any error message.

This is extremely confusing to users, particularly in case of silent failures. Any ideas on how to fix it would be appreciated.
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Re: Update pack 7 breaks printing to PDF

Postby py-thon on Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:38 pm

It doesn't happen on all machines because on my PC (same environment as yours) Pluma has the expected behaviour. I didn't try Firefox. On the other hand after UP7 I had to delete all my printers (except Generic-CUPS-PDF-Printer) and configure them anew.
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Re: Update pack 7 breaks printing to PDF

Postby qazwsxedc on Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:20 pm

Hi py-thon,

The "print to PDF" functionality which is now broken for me is only selectable from "Print" dialogue boxes, but it's not visible as a separate printer in the Control Centre applet. The only printer I can see in there is the one that's physically attached to the machine. Is there a way to uninstall and re-install the print-to-PDF functionality, like your comment about "Generic-CUPS-PDF-Printer" implies?
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Re: Update pack 7 breaks printing to PDF

Postby py-thon on Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:42 pm

Open the Control Center Printer applet and add a new printer. In the first window select Generic-CUPS-pdf. Can't tell you the details of how to go on, no idea how they would translate into english. It might be that you have to install package cups-pdf first, I don't know whether it comes as standard or not.
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Re: Update pack 7 breaks printing to PDF

Postby qazwsxedc on Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:16 am

Well, cups-pdf is separate from the "print to PDF/PS" functionality baked into MATE, but it'll do as a workaround.

There does seem to be a wider issue after UP7, whether with MATE or cups I can't tell. In addition to what I described above, the Control Centre "Printer Settings" applet will only allow addition of a printer (as described in the forum post immediately above) if I try to do this on the first invocation of "Printer Settings" after a fresh boot. On the second or subsequent invocation it'll only only show the "Enter URI" and "Network Printer" Devices, but not the physical ports nor "Generic CUPS-PDF". It'll keep the "Forward" button greyed out at that point, so it's impossible to add any printer.

I suppose these are the sorts of rough edges one has to live when when using a distribution derived from Debian testing rather than stable. Shame it's affecting something basic rather than something obscure - I'll be reminded of it a dozen times a day...
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Re: Update pack 7 breaks printing to PDF

Postby py-thon on Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:42 am

Could this be a problem with the window to enter your password?
I tried to add a printer and it worked, but sometimes the password window appears not on top of the printer window but some other place and with bad luck (clicking at the wrong moment) is then hidden by another window. In this case the printer window only shows "Enter URL" and "Network Printer" and "Forward" is greyed out. When you find the hidden window and enter your password (which is asked every time unlike with other programs) the other options appear.

I didn't use the other printing method (print to file) for a long time, but right now it doesn't work for me either (tried Opera with ps which crashed Opera and then Pluma with pdf which told me that this action was not supported).
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Re: Update pack 7 breaks printing to PDF

Postby qazwsxedc on Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:24 pm

py-thon wrote:Could this be a problem with the window to enter your password?

In short, no. Authentication is requested, and I answer the password prompt, on the second and subsequent invocations of system-config-printer. I still only get the "Enter URI" and "Network Printer" Devices, but not the physical ports nor "Generic CUPS-PDF", and the "Forward" button remains greyed out.

py-thon wrote:I didn't use the other printing method (print to file) for a long time, but right now it doesn't work for me either (tried Opera with ps which crashed Opera and then Pluma with pdf which told me that this action was not supported).

At least I'm not the only one with this problem then. Dear Maintainers, if you monitor this section/thread, here's a breakage documented to affect more than one user.
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