CUPS (formerly an acronym for Common UNIX Printing System) is a modular printing system for Unix-like computer operating systems which allows a computer to act as a print server. A computer running CUPS is a host that can accept print jobs from client computers, process them, and send them to the appropriate printer.
CUPS consists of a print spooler and scheduler, a filter system that converts the print data to a format that the printer will understand, and a backend system that sends this data to the print device. CUPS uses the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) as the basis for managing print jobs and queues.
It also provides the traditional command line interfaces for the System V and Berkeley print systems, and provides support for the Berkeley print system’s Line Printer Daemon protocol and limited support for the server message block (SMB) protocol. System administrators can configure the device drivers which CUPS supplies by editing text files in Adobe’s PostScript Printer Description (PPD) format.
There are a number of user interfaces for different platforms that can configure CUPS, and it has a built-in web-based interface. CUPS is free software, provided under the Apache License.