I'm trying to setup a Tomcat server (, Java 1.8.0_101) on Ubuntu (16.04), and print to shared printers on a Windows print server.

I have successfully configured several printers with CUPS (2.1.3) and SAMBA (4.3.11). Printing from command line works fine.

In my Java application, when I try to lookup printers like this :

PrintService[] ps = PrintServiceLookup.lookupPrintServices(null, null);

It gives me an empty array. But if I set a printer as default ("DefaultPrinter" in /etc/cups/printers.conf), then the array contains only this printer.

So currently I can print only to the default printer, but I want to be able to print to any printer.

Thanks for your help.


I had the same problem and just found the solution. I don't think this is the best way to solve the problem, but at least it's working for me.

I first found the problem when trying to set up CUPS service on a headless Ubuntu 16.04 server. On my desktop Ubuntu 16.04 the lookup printer is working even without setting a default printer. After further investigation I found that the problem occured after I changed the CUPS configuration to enable remote administration.

Original configuration from cupsd.conf:

# Only listen for connections from the local machine
Listen localhost:631
Listen /var/run/cups.sock

Modifed configuration to enable remote administration (not working):

# Only listen for connections from the local machine
Listen *:631
Listen /var/run/cups.sock

It seems that Java needs to connect to the CUPS service using localhost, so to enable remote administration and also provide localhost connection for Java:

# Only listen for connections from the local machine
Listen localhost:631
Listen /var/run/cups.sock

I still don't understand why using Listen *:631 can't provide localhost connection for Java so my workaround is to add configuration to listen for my server ip address.

Here's my Java code that I used to query the CUPS printer

public class TestPrinter {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        PrintService[] printServices = PrintServiceLookup.lookupPrintServices(null, null);
        System.out.println("Number of print services: " + printServices.length);

        System.out.println("Available printer: ");
        PrintService mPrintService = null;        
        for (PrintService printer : printServices) {

        PrintService defaultPrinter = PrintServiceLookup.lookupDefaultPrintService();
        if (defaultPrinter != null) {
            System.out.println("Default printer: " + defaultPrinter.getName());        
  • Oops I forgot one more important thing. CUPS Service in Ubuntu 16.04 is defaulting to on-demand mode and Java can't wake-up the CUPS service to query the printer. So I change the CUPS Service to always running by modifying /lib/systemd/system/cups.service from ExecStart=/usr/sbin/cupsd -l into ExecStart=/usr/sbin/cupsd -f – hadyatmo Mar 29 '17 at 3:07
  • Thank you very much for the detailed description. I will try what you suggest and hope it works for me too. – user630729 Mar 29 '17 at 7:06

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