How can I tell the lpr command (cups) that my file is actually a pdf?
won't print anything.
There are at least two ways to convert and print a PDF file .
The first way is to view the file in xpdf (the PDF file viewer), and then left-click the printer icon. This won't actually send the file to the printer, but it writes a PostScript file in the same directory, with the same base file name as the PDF file but with a
.ps extension. You can then print this file with lpr or convert it to another format.
The second way is to use pdf2ps, part of the gs package, to convert the PDF file to PostScript (then print the PostScript output as described for xpdf above). pdf2ps takes two arguments: the name of the PDF file to convert, and the name of the PostScript file to write to.
To convert the PDF file `pricelist.pdf', type:
$ pdf2ps pricelist.pdf pricelist.ps
This command writes a PostScript file
pricelist.ps in the current directory.
I have had similar troubles trying to print pdf files on a canon inkjet printer using the default viewer application in Mint 17. I know little about cups printing, but for what it's worth this is how I finally got it all working: 1 - I did a distribution update by installing Mint 17.2, not sure if this was a factor in my eventual success. 2 - I installed the correct printer driver using an on-line search (Canon MX410). 3 - I now ensure the printer is turned ON before booting Linux so that the correct printer driver is loaded.
Admittedly, it's all rather unsatisfactory not diagnosing the original problem, but at least I'm happily printing away normally now!