Archive for June, 2010

Ubuntu and printers

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

Over the recent years I’ve been transiting into Ubuntu from my good-old DOS and Windows platforms. At first it was kind of hard to break-off from a relationship that had started off in 1986. But as time went on, I started to feel the need to stay with my new (and unfamiliar) platform, Ubuntu.

Well, the transition has (nearly) paid off and I’m feeling (quite) at home with it. But one thing that keeps me drawing back to Windows is the lack of printer support with Ubuntu, particularly, networked printers.

In my opinion, poor printer support seems to be the downside of Ubuntu. I’m always a newbie with this wonderful OS. I’ve moved from version 5.0, 7.x, 8.x and now to 10.4. Still I can’t get my old LBP-800 to print. LBP-800?! Yes… And I think some of you out there might think that it’s about time I got rid of it. But to me, this is a workhorse and I don’t intend putting it anywhere near retirement. After all, it’s sat on my desk for the last 8 years and many other printers have come and gone…

Here are some details of my experiences that I’d like to share with you…

1. Ubuntu seems to install and work like a breeze with newer printers, particularly the USB models.

2. I don’t think they ever had or will have a driver for the older ones like my canon lbp-800. After all, it’s a parallel port printer.

3. My laptop has no parallel port. Thus, I have to access the printer via LAN, on a Windows box. All installations (SAMBA) and the works are in place. But nothing seems to work. Not even error messages!

4. But here’s the flip-side. The printer used to work with my old Ubuntu-driven PC. It did not have all of the features like printer cleaning/servicing but it did the job. By the way, the driver was not officially provided by, or supported by Canonical. Rather it had been a piece of code put together by someone else who had reverse-engineered another driver. I’m sorry, I can’t find that link at this moment. Also, the printer could not be accessed over the LAN.

5. Now, when I need to print a file from my laptop, I first move it to my Windows PC over LAN, then proceed from there.

Having said this much, we should keep in mind the following:

1. I’m trying to¬† install a very old printer which many of you may not even have.

2. Most, if not all new models seem to work well without any issues on Ubuntu.

Happy computing!