Printer problem cause found.

I finally found out why my printer sometimes doesn't print. It's a problem with one of gs, hpijs, or foomatic, which does not produce any output from some valid .ps files on SPARC only. (I'll file a bug once I find a sufficiently short test case -- I don't think attaching a 15M .ps file is a good idea ;-)

Especially that last bit is worrying me. This isn't the first SPARC-specific bug I've come across:

  • sudo has a problem with timestamps. Upstream suggests a bug in libc, and followups in the bug report seem to support that hypothesis.
  • SpamAssassin sometimes truncates my mails.
  • Jaakko Niemi found on DebConf5 that pdns quits with SIGBUS after running for about 5 seconds, on SPARC. (I prefer to use BIND9, so haven't run across this myself yet).
  • ... there was one more, that I can't seem to remember right now

And now I found this one. I had a picture that I wanted to print, and got nothing out of the printer. So, I fished the PostScript stuff out of the CUPS spool, ran foomatic-rip --ppd HPDJ.ppd <spoolfile >tmpfile; lpr -Pdeskjet -oraw tmpfile on a different machine; and sure enough, it worked, which it did not when I let it print 'normally'; and if I ran the foomatic-rip command on the sparc box, it works for a while and then produces a file which is exactly 0 bytes large.

This is exactly the sort of thing we need porter teams for. m68k is alive and kicking; we don't have this kind of issues in our stable release. Right now, however, I'm seriously considering to stop using the SPARC box as a server, upgrade it to unstable, and (try to) use it as my desktop. That will mean I'll need to find a different box to serve as my server, then...