Set the default paper size correctly

Registered by Till Kamppeter

A big problem with printing is that the default paper size (A4 or Letter) is not set correctly in CUPS and also in many applications. Especially for users who want an English UI (to have the original and not translations) but who live outside the US or Canada Letter is selected instead of A4.

This is cause by things like programs not polling the correct items from the system locale, not respecting /etc/papersize, not getting the paper size from a selected CUPS printer queue ,,,

In addition, it is not possible to easily change the system's default paper size. I would suggest an appropriate switch in system-config-printer (under "Server" -> "Settings" which does all needed changes in the system so that the new default paper size gets used.

Blueprint information

Not started
Till Kamppeter
Needs approval
Till Kamppeter
Series goal:
Milestone target:

Related branches



Problem: add a new print queue, and there the default paper size is wrong

Installer: install langpacks, then reconfig anything which is probably wrong now (reconfiguring libpaper); if langpack is not installed/broken, it will default to A4

Colin believes that this installer failure is not the reason

Even if you use en_US as a locale, using s-c-p setup should update /etc/papersize

cups and other places currently get copies of the papersize file; instead they should actually /etc/papersize; e. g. the queues should have a new virtual paper size "system"

might be improved by having LC_PAPER default to the country you pick by timezone

RTFM: man 7 locale

cjwatson: installer sets the various LC_* values according to the country or language you select (e.g. LC_MESSAGES -> language, LC_PAPER, LC_TIME -> timezone)
pitti: reconfigure libpaper1 in language-selector

pitti, 2010-11-05: setting back to drafting; this needs working out the details of
- how to handle locale categories in the installer
- how to create/change (or not) queues in cups when paper size changes: Do not change existing queues but create queues with the default appropriate to the current region, as you take your laptop with you but keep the printers at their places. Important is that /etc/papersize and LC_PAPER is updated when you switch time zones via the clock/calendar applet (updated by tkamppeter, 2010-11-23).
- work items

pitti, 2010-12-03: taking off the natty list; this hasn't been drafted yet, and requires some detailled research first. If you intend to work on this for natty, please draft this soon, then we can discuss putting it back. Thanks!


Work Items