Paperless-ng on CentOS7

Over the end-of-year holiday break in 2020 I managed to ressurect my old home-office CentOS 7 development server. I had a mind salvage and update Paperless on that server, and I did manage to do that. However, along the way I discovered the Paperless-ng branch of the project and I installed it, using Docker as suggested, by creating a new project and configuration I’ve saved as summittdweller/paperless-ng-dockerfiles.

Mounting my ReadyNAS Share

To successfully mount my ReadyNAS/Paperless SMB share I had to do the following on centos7 as root:

mount -t cifs -o username=mark,vers=1.0 // /mnt/paperless

Unfortunately, this did NOT work! Everything appeeared to be working properly except that files copied into //ReadyNAS/Paperless/consume were NOT shared into the container as mapped, so no ingest was triggered. I could only get the ingest to start if I used docker cp… to copy the files into the mapped ./consume directory.

Mounting /home/mark/paperless-ng To Support Ingest

So, I turned to for setup of SAMBA on CentOS7 at with hopes that I could mount /home/mark/paperless-ng/consume and get Paperless auto-ingest working.

It works! In fact, it works quite well.

Paperless-ng is configured to watch for changes in /home/mark/paperless-ng/consume and will ingest any unique .pdf files dropped there. Note that Paperless-ng is smart enough to keep track of all the files it has ingested so it won’t knowingly ingest a duplicate.

It’s worth noting that there is also a /home/mark/paperless-ng/exported directory where regular exports of Paperless documents can be kept before back-up to //ReadyNAS storage.

Still NO Good

So, the network configuration indicated above appears to work when copying files from a Mac into the target share, /home/mark/paperless-ng/consume. Unfortunately I’ve had NO luck whatsoever getting my Brother ADS-1500W scanner to network with ANYTHING. The setup seems just fine, but whatever I scan eventually gives me a “Send Failed” message with NO other explanation.

After spending many, many, many hours dealing with this I have officially given up!

A New USB Workflow

My Brother ADS-1500W scanner supports a number of transfer options including USB. There’s only one USB port on the back of the scanner so it’s relatively foolproof.

To engage this workflow I formatted a USB stick as FAT32 and named it PAPERLESS. When this stick is inserted into the scanner a BROTHER directory is created and scans named mmddyynn.pdf are generated there.

Once a set of documents has been scanned using the to USB profile, the USB stick can be removed from the scanner and plugged in to any CentOS7 USB input port. The PAPERLESS volume will automatically appear on the desktop and all that one must do is copy/paste (select and drag) each of the .pdf files from /mnt/paperless/BROTHER to the target consume diretory at /home/mark/paperless-ng/consume.

Modifying inotify in CentOS 7

The ~/Desktop/ file on node centos7 documents a necessary step that I discovered as the key to making Paperless consume/ingest process work. The commands are:

cat /proc/sys/fs/inotify/max_user_watches          # default is 8192
sudo sysctl fs.inotify.max_user_watdhes=1048576    # necessary increase

Starting and Stopping Paperless-ng

Starting Paperless-ng

Simple, to start it on CentOS7:

cd /home/mark/GitHub/paperless-ng-dockerfiles
docker-compose up -d

Or, simply reboot CentOS7. See auto-start details in the section below.

Stopping Paperless-ng

Also simple, on CentOS7:

cd /home/mark/GitHub/paperless-ng-dockerfiles
docker-compose down

Auto-Starting Paperless-ng

I found and followed this resource to create a boot-time auto-start script to configure and launch Paperless-ng whenever CentOS7 is booted. My script is /var/tmp/ and the process of running it echoes some output to /var/tmp/script.out.

I saved the script as a public gist for safe-keeping.