Cannot print or open System Settings Printers anymore in Linux Mint

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On my Linux Mint 17.3 I suddenly was unable to print documents. It worked the minute before and the next minute it was impossible to print anything. No error message shown, no errors logged, nothing. The cups administration (http://localhost:631) didn't show anything strange either. Yet whenever I wanted to print the printer list never showed up.

The same phenomenon could also be reproduced when I tried to open the "Printers" in the "System Settings":

Linux Mint System Settings Printers

When I clicked on it, nothing happened. And to my growing frustration, nothing was logged in any log either!

On my research I finally came across an interesting clue in the thread Linux Mint 17, No printer output in the Linux Mint Forums: The command system-config-printer should open exactly this "System Settings Printers" window. When I launched the command, I finally got some error I could work with:

WM2856l ~ # system-config-printer
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/usr/share/system-config-printer/", line 65, in
    import cupshelpers
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/cupshelpers/", line 60, in
    import openprinting
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/cupshelpers/", line 22, in
    import requests, urllib, platform, threading, tempfile, traceback
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/requests/", line 58, in
    from . import utils
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/requests/", line 25, in
    from .compat import parse_http_list as _parse_list_header
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/requests/", line 92, in
    from urllib3.packages.ordered_dict import OrderedDict
ImportError: No module named ordered_dict

I checked if there are some python modules which were recently uninstalled but there was no change, at least not in the apt history logs. And as I mentioned before, this started from one minute to the other (whilst I was in my monthly process of printing some reports). A research for this error "No module named ordered_dict" lead me to GitHub issue 1456 of the urllib3 Python library. And interestingly, user Madpentiste had the exact same problem as I experienced:

I had the same issue, that prevented the menu item "Printers" (System>Administration>Printers) to launch. In a terminal, the command printer-config-system would throw an error similar as above.
The problem was completely solved by issuing in a terminal $ sudo pip install -U requests

Let's give this a shot:

WM2856l ~ # sudo pip install -U requests
Downloading/unpacking requests from
  Downloading requests-2.22.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl (57kB): 57kB downloaded
Downloading/unpacking idna>=2.5,<2.9 (from requests)
  Downloading idna-2.8-py2.py3-none-any.whl (58kB): 58kB downloaded
Downloading/unpacking certifi>=2017.4.17 (from requests)
  Downloading certifi-2019.6.16-py2.py3-none-any.whl (157kB): 157kB downloaded
Downloading/unpacking chardet>=3.0.2,<3.1.0 (from requests)
  Downloading chardet-3.0.4-py2.py3-none-any.whl (133kB): 133kB downloaded
Requirement already up-to-date: urllib3>=1.21.1,!=1.25.0,!=1.25.1,<1.26 in /usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages (from requests)
Installing collected packages: requests, idna, certifi, chardet
  Found existing installation: requests 2.2.1
    Not uninstalling requests at /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages, owned by OS
  Found existing installation: chardet 2.0.1
    Not uninstalling chardet at /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages, owned by OS
Successfully installed requests idna certifi chardet
Cleaning up...

Obviously the packages installed through pip replace the much older python libraries initially installed through apt (requests 2.22.0 from pip vs. 2.2.1 from apt, chardet 3.0.2 from pip vs. 2.0.1 from apt). Would system-config-printer now work?

WM2856l ~ # system-config-printer & echo $?
[1] 10274

Yes!!! It worked and the Printers window opened!

Linux Mint System Settings Printers

And now printing worked again, too!

PS: Although printing now works fine again, I still don't know what caused this all of a sudden broken printing system. As Linux Mint 17.3 is EOL and I will upgrade it anyway, I didn't further investigate.

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