tree: 3dbd85f43fb55bdce2d3c7c6303e360189727eee [path history] [tgz]
  1. etc/
  2. fuzzers/
  3. seccomp/
  4. udev/
  8. overview_diagram.png
  12. socket_manager.h
  14. usb.h

Ippusb Manager

ippusb_manager provides support for IPP-over-USB printing in Chrome OS. This is jointly achieved with CUPS and with ippusb_bridge.

In addition, ippusb_bridge is partially documented here.


ippusb_manager overview diagram

  • The entities involved:
    • CUPS - the print spooler that wants to print via IPP-over-USB.
    • ippusb_manager - service that helps establish communication between the print spooler and ippusb_bridge. Developed specifically for IPP-over-USB printing in Chromium OS.
    • ippusb_bridge - Chromium OS system service that proxies HTTP traffic over USB to an IPP-over-USB printer.

Closer look: CUPS

  • The print queue URI format used for IPP-over-USB printing is ippusb://<VID>_<PID>/ipp/print.
  • We have patched CUPS in Chromium OS to support the ippusb:// scheme.
    • These changes apply to lpadmin and to the ipp backend.
    • If a printer uses the ippusb:// scheme, then CUPS sends a request to ippusb_manager to broker a socket for communication with the printer by way of ippusb_bridge.
  • The usage of the ippusb:// scheme is specific to Chromium OS.
    • As this is a non-standard extension, printers don't know how to respond to this.
    • We retain the ippusb:// scheme in CUPS configuration etc. on-device, but rewrite the URI to use the ipp:// scheme before communicating with the printer.

Closer look: ippusb_manager

Closer look: keep-alive messages

  • Sent from ippusb_manager to ippusb_bridge to preempt the latter from its timed idle exit.
  • ippusb_manager listens for an explicit acknowledgement before declaring ippusb_bridge alive and reusing the extant sockets.
  • If no acknowledgement comes, ippusb_manager tries to wait for the sockets to disappear (i.e. for ippusb_bridge to exit) before spawning a new instance.

Closer look: ippusb_bridge

  • Is started by ippusb_manager, as mentioned above.
  • Is always waiting to exit when idle.
  • Proxies HTTP traffic between CUPS and the printer via USB.
    • Allocates a thread for every incoming ippusb connection for a given printer. HTTP requests over the connection are handled one at a time.
    • Inspects the contents of HTTP messages in order to remove HTTP hop-by-hop headers (as per the HTTP spec).
    • Each client request is read completely, and forwarded to the printer. Then the response is completely read and returned to the client.
  • Holds all available ippusb interfaces on the printer until exit.
    • Some printers (e.g. the Canon DX570) are known to behave erratically if we attempt to release interfaces when we are done with them.
  • Supports receiving connections via TCP or Unix domain sockets.

Appendix: minijail usage

  • Both ippusb_manager and ippusb_bridge are run from inside minijail instances and retain their own seccomp filters.
  • Forked processes inherit seccomp policies from their parents. Since ippusb_manager forks ippusb_bridge, the manager‘s seccomp filter must be a superset of ippusb_bridge’s.

Appendix: Q&A

(WRT ippusb_manager) why Unix sockets; why not D-Bus?

We didn't consider D-Bus at the time. The messages are quite simple and CUPS already had code for dealing with Unix sockets.

Can a user plug in more than one USB printer?

Yes, as long as they do not appear to be the same (i.e. present identical VIDs and PIDs). We opine that this is an uncommon enough use case to be an issue.

Can ippusb_manager and ippusb_bridge have multiple clients?

Preliminary testing indicates that this should work. Sockets are connection-oriented, and an instance of ippusb_bridge is spawned for each connected ippusb printer.

Producing overview_diagram.png from

To generate the overview diagram for the .dot definition, run the following commands:

dot -Tpng -o overview_diagram.png

convert overview_diagram.png -colorspace gray -quality 91 overview_diagram.png

Internal Documentation

Note: This documentation is only accessible to Google employees.

See the design doc for information about the overall design and how ippusb_manager fits into it.

For some discussion of why we migrated to ippusb_bridge (from ippusbxd as discussed in the design doc), see go/ippusb-bridge-design.

Code Overview

This repository contains the following subdirectories:

etc/initUpstart config files for launching ippusb_manager
fuzzersSource files for ippusb_manager fuzzers
seccompSeccomp Policy files for restricting syscalls
udev/udev rules for setting group permissions on ipp-usb printers