[CentOS] Printer recommendations

Paul Johnson pauljohn32 at gmail.com
Tue Jul 22 16:02:04 UTC 2008

On Tue, Jul 22, 2008 at 8:52 AM, Ron Loftin <reloftin at twcny.rr.com> wrote:
> Since my old Epson C86 has finally managed to clog up the print heads,
> I'm in the market for a replacement.  I'd like to know what the people
> on this list are using for printers that are currently available, since
> we are using versions of CUPS and foomatic that are frozen, and any
> other issues or "gotchas" that you are aware of.
> For the replacement printer, I'm considering a color laser printer
> instead of the inkjets that I've been using, and I'm dithering back and
> forth over the question of direct-connect or networked printer.
> Suggestions, warnings, and horror stories are welcome.

I've just had adventures with various HP printers.  In the "work great
with Ubuntu linux and sorta well with RedHat/Centos" I have the higher
end HP printers like the desktop model HP2015d.  I use usb connector
on that one.  That's black and white with duplexing. Very convenient.
Also I have a new HP4014n in a computer lab--that is black and white
with a jet direct card.  On Ubuntu systems, the printer configurator
is somehow smarter than on the RedHat/Fedora/CentOS systems.  Ubuntu
systems are able to see the printer, know automatically its type and
get the desired drivers.  No problem.  On the RedHat variants, more
manual configuration is necessary, but they do work once you get the
settings correct.  I end up using the CUPS configurator in the web
browser on RedHat systems, the system-config-printer thing almost
never gets it correct.

My experience has been that any HP system that promises to support
postscript will work fine, whether with USB cable or Jet Direct card.

I have had an absolutely horrible experience with HP1018. It is a
non-postscript printer that HP sells now.  It has a print driver
system that reminds me quite a bit of the old "win modems" that
appeared in 1993 or so.  I recall it was called the "Zj stream
protocol" or something like that.  It is supposed to work with hplip
and some special drivers & firmware, but it is very unstable for us.
After wrestling with drivers a lot, I contacted their support and the
man said to me "we don't even make that, some Chinese company slaps
those together and we sell them to compete in the lowest part of the
market.  You get what you pay for."  A secretary ordered some because
they are windows compatible.  But they are really windows only.  At
all costs, avoid HP1018 or any HP device that does not support
postscript protocol.

I googled a bit to recover some memories.  It reminded me how awful
this was.  Some people seem to say they have got it working (but I'm
not believing it).


Here's the part that killed me.
"The HP LaserJets 100, 1005, 1018, and 1020 need to have their
firmware loaded every time they are powered on."

I could get the printer set up for the users, but then somebody would
power everything down and no thing would work any more. Root
privileges were required to run the hp setup thing that could
re-download the firmware.

HP makes this difficult because they seem to change model numbers
every week.  The 1018 is not offered now, but they do have 1005 and
1006.  As far as I can tell now, the ones to avoid are the ones that
have this in the spec sheet

Language: Host based.

That means it is the windows firmware approach.

On the other hand, when they say this (as does P4015 series):

Languages HP PCL 6, HP PCL 5e, HP postscript level 3 emulation, direct
PDF (v1.4) printing (192 MB printer memory recommended)

then you are OK.

Paul E. Johnson
Professor, Political Science
1541 Lilac Lane, Room 504
University of Kansas

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