Linux Printing isn't working

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Linux Printing isn't working

Postby squeedle on Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:15 pm

I'm new to Linux, and yes, I'm a newbie moron. Granted. But STILL. Linux printing support, or compatibility, is BAD, and is a total deal-breaker for normal people.

This week I rescued two decrepit old Windows computers from e-cycling and refurb'ed them into totally practical Linux boxes. I was able to give them to two families who really needed them but couldn't afford to buy computers. All was well, until...

Neither computer can print. The first computer, I tried with TWO different printers. One Brother multi-function and one Canon inkjet. Despite spending lots of time and following lots of dead-end suggestions from various forums all over Internetland, NEITHER would print correctly. The Brother: not at all. The printer's LCD screen just says "receiving" indefinitely. The Canon: it prints out half a page and then stops, with the paper still stuck inside.

Both these printers work fine on Windows computers.

Then today, on the second computer... Another Brother multi-function. This one actually installed more or less automatically under Mint 15. It found drivers and installed them and life was looking good. But nope. Tried to print the test page, and the printer starts spitting out blank page after blank page, and the computer hangs up to a crawl and then programs start crashing.

FAIL.

So, now we're back at this familiar point, where the options seem to be:
1) Invest potentially many more hours trying to get these printers to work, with no resources to go on other than scattered forum posts that often get so technical that they are all but meaningless to a Linux newbie or are so specific to some other flavor of Linux that I don't know what they are even referring to.

2) Buy a new printer that is confirmed to play nice with Linux. $50-100, but still kind of a roll of the dice since there doesn't seem to be much consensus out there about which affordable printers will DEFINITELY work 100% with Linux Mint 15.

3) Bite the bullet and switch back over to Windows for $100 or so. That's bad for so many other reasons, but at the end of the day, all the average household needs to do is browse the net, use Office, and print stuff out.

Why is the printing situation so horrible? Linux seems to be slick in EVERY OTHER WAY. It auto-installs drivers and configures every other piece of hardware without any input from me. It's amazing. I'm in love with it. But this printing issue is KILLING me. And there's no way I'm the only one.

Just saying.

Long rant, sorry. Any help--perhaps some remote desktop assistance?--would be *massively* appreciated.
Last edited by xenopeek on Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: swearing removed
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby wayne128 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:46 pm

The 'best' way, at least for me, is to do this but no need to pay.. :mrgreen:

3) Bite the bullet and switch back over to Windows for $100 or so. That sucks for so many other reasons, but at the end of the day, all the average household needs to do is browse the net, use Office, and print stuff out.
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let's try to help you

Postby pdc_2 on Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:55 am

Hi squeedle;

you sound very brassed off; you had very good intentions to help a lot of folks ...........

to ask you some technical questions.......

which Brother printer did you want to use?

and which Canon printer?

and did you install a 32bit system please?

I would like to think we stand a good chance of offering you some help;
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby squeedle on Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:04 am

Thanks for the replies. :) Not brassed off so much as disappointed and surprised, because the lack of no-fuss printer support seems so totally out of line with the awesomeness of the rest of the OS and its support for all sorts of hardware.

The computers (and printers) are now at their new homes, so I don't have all the deets here in front of me at the moment, but here's what's up as best I can remember.

COMPUTER 1
I think this was a 64-bit Cinnamon install. The first printer was a Brother MFC-240C. The second was (I think) a Canon Pixma iP3000.

COMPUTER 2
I think this was also a 64-bit Cinnamon install, and this one had the Macbuntu theme too, which was a big hit with the recipients. :) I don't have the printer model, but it was another Brother multi-function dealie for which Mint seemed to easily find drivers via the "add printer" functionality.

Thanks again. :) If you can help, that would be *fantastic*. But in the bigger picture, I really want to say that IMO this is really THE #1 area that Linux needs to focus on in the immediate future. Everything else about it is superb except for this.
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby TBABill on Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:17 am

You're right about some printing support. HP has always worked for me on Linux so I stick to their brand for printers. Brother sometimes is great and sometimes troublesome for some users and Canon seems hit or miss at best from the posts I've seen.
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Re: LINUX PRINTING SUCKS

Postby eanfrid on Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:25 am

Some printers won't work (or will partially work) with any OS other than Windows. A good start is to check before if driver support for your distrib is provided either by the community ( http://www.openprinting.org/printers/ ) or by the printer manufacturer. Windows-printing-only printer manufacturers suck.
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby cwsnyder on Sat Jul 13, 2013 12:42 pm

Epson ink-jet printers also seem to have adequate support, because HP and Epson actually and actively support Linux. Brother, Canon, and many other manufacturers don't.
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby squeedle on Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:08 pm

So if I were to get something like this:
http://www.frys.com/product/6499592

(HP DeskJet 1000)

...it would be all but guaranteed to work in Linux Mint 15?

If that's the case, for $30, I might just do that. Please confirm. Thanks!
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby cwsnyder on Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:12 pm

According to http://www.openprinting.org/printer/HP/HP-DeskJet_1000C , you should have no problems. Mint should just set it up automatically when it is recognized.
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby rich2005 on Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:47 pm

first the quote
two decrepit old Windows computers..snip...I think this was a 64-bit Cinnamon install. The first printer was a Brother MFC-240C. The second was (I think) a Canon Pixma iP3000.


For old hardware, go for a 32 bit OS, on the unlikely event that there is more than 4GB mem a pae kernel will take care of that.

Brother printers, Brother has better linux support than you think. Not as good as HP or Epson, you might have to do a bit of manual install, but the instructions are there.
http://welcome.solutions.brother.com/bs ... l#MFC-240C
That is an old printer, the drivers are from 2008, I just got a mfc-j825dw and both printer and scanner work fine.

Canon printers. Canon are useless and only support linux in a minimal way. I have an old ip4500, even bought the turboprint drivers. Still rubbish, I will never buy anything canon again.
All said, if the LM repo drivers are not working have a look around, often not in the US or EU.
http://support-asia.canon asia.com/P/search?model=PIXMA+MP638&menu=download&filter=0&tagname=g_os&g_os=Linux
tinturl for the above http://tinyurl.com/nawdkzs

Also the ip3000 is listed in gutenprint (for Gimp)
http://gimp-print.sourceforge.net/p_Sup ... inters.php
so pulling in that package should grab any dependencies. Worth a try but do not expect anything wonderful from Canon.

I do roughly the same, get an old laptop, install a lightweight linux, pass it on to a good cause. I can usually get them working better than windoze, but with a more modern printer. Surprised that an ip3000 has not died by now.
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby TBABill on Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:10 am

Cloud print enabled printers are also a wonderful idea as long as you don't mind your print jobs entering the Internet to get to the printer. I have a Chromebook and it does not use printer drivers at all. I just print to my HP cloud enabled printer and it works perfectly every time.
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby squeedle on Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:08 pm

Thanks for all the replies, gang! I am reading and following up on each one. Good stuff!
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby squeedle on Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:50 pm

Just a quick update for anyone else who happens upon this thread in the future...

Someone suggested the "gutenprint" driver for the Canon printer? Didn't work.

COMPUTER 1: Swapped out the Canon & Brother printers for an old HP InkJet (5000-something) and it installed and worked flawlessly. SCORE!

COMPUTER 2: The family will print to PDF for now and take the PDF's to a computer that can print as-needed. :(

Anyway, thanks again for the feedback. It looks like the only practical solution to this issue is just to go to the openprinting database and make sure you select a printer that is listed as working perfectly from their list.

I'll probably swing by Fry's and pick up some POS $30 HP printer for COMPUTER 2 at some point if they decide they need one.
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby saturnine on Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:10 pm

I have this same problem. One would think hooking up a printer in 2013 would be a matter of just plugging it in (e.g. MAC or Windoze). I don't want to become a programmer, engineer, or system administrator just to use a device that is required in modern life. In fact, I can't. I know no-one who has the time to devote to this (following leads in forums, installing and uninstalling various bits of software from all over the internet, and still not have a working printer). I'd spend money on a new printer, but no-one can tell me which printers work beyond a vague, "HP seems to work well." or "Epson has some support for Linux." Even the manufacturers won't tell you what will work. This just leaves me potentially purchasing printers and returning them until I find one that works (talk about not having time!). What kills me is that my Canon MP530 was working under Mint a couple of generations ago, but completely failed when I upgraded the OS. That just isn't right! One should not have to purchase a new printer to move from version X to version Y of their OS! Why would the Mint developers they break things? Right now the only way I can print is to send it to google cloud print and then go to work or a fed-ex store. 20 Mile trip to work or a 3 mile trip and 13 cents a page to the FedEx Store.

The originator of this strand was soo right! Printing is a basic function of computing for the majority of users and is a total deal breaker for everyone I know (except me, apparently). If Linux wants to get past being only for expert users and above, it will have to address this ridiculous deficiency. Everyone pretending it's not a problem is like requiring people to install spark-plugs and set the timing on their own cars before driving them off the lot. I can't be a mechanic just to drive, I should't have to be a programmer just to use my computer (that necessarily includes printing).

In a way I'm sorry for the rant, but I am printless at home and am likely to stay that way because this issue has been persistent for a long time and no-one who can wants to solve the problem, regardless of the "supportive Linux environment" and the "willingness of the opensource community to solve problems." Printing is just an orphan problem for the home user that I expect will never be solved.

Thanks everyone. Cheers.
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby nomko on Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:17 pm

squeedle wrote:One Brother multi-function and one Canon inkjet.

The first one is poorly supported by Linux. But there's a solution: https://sites.google.com/site/tipsandtr ... fo/brother

The second one is getting better supported but still.... Solution: https://sites.google.com/site/tipsandtr ... on-drivers
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby sabonmu on Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:23 am

I totally agree.

This is THE deal braker...

It is pointless releasing new versions of ALL the linux versions/kernels etc if they can't print and handle the all in one scanner/printers.

I think there is a gap here, an enormous gap and even an initiative the size of Canonical can't even see it, let alone solve it.

Today I found my win 7 in dual boot with Mint 15 KDE has died (due to a recent partition resize prior to the new Mint 15 KDE install.

Win 7 hogged up 75% of my SDD, I never hardly ever used it, only when I needed to print and scan.

Now I'm wondering whether I need to buy a second hand win XP dvd and install in that partition just to print.

Like you, I am reluctant to invest in one the MAY work with Linux. I need to know it will.

When will the geeks wake up to solving problems that majority are facing??
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby cwsnyder on Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:19 pm

sabonmu wrote:Like you, I am reluctant to invest in one the MAY work with Linux. I need to know it will.

When will the geeks wake up to solving problems that majority are facing??
When contemplating a printer purchase, the best resource for Linux is the Open Printing Database at http://www.openprinting.org , also at http://www.linuxfoundation.org/collabor ... enprinting . For specific printers, look at http://www.openprinting.org/printers , or driver availability at http://www.openprinting.org/drivers , although the manufacturer's pages will often list drivers, just not how well they work or how much trouble it is to get them working.

I have also noticed that the worst/last to get everything working are the 'all-in-one' or 'three-in-one' printer/scanner/fax machines, because the manufacturer's are reluctant to release technical information needed to write the drivers for Linux/*BSD, and if you add 'network printer' to the batch without a proper manufacturer's API, you have one MORE problem added.

The more popular the printer with Linux or *BSD users, the more likely that a driver developer has produced a driver for that printer, either by reverse engineering a Windows driver or by other means.
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby eanfrid on Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:55 am

When will the geeks wake up to solving problems that majority are facing??
Well, probably when you will pay or refund at least one of them to retro-engineer and make your Windows device work under any other OS :roll: Otherwise do not buy these marvelous cheap Windows-only printer/scanner/fax/toasters badly supported by their OEM.
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby ROY428 on Sat Jan 04, 2014 4:02 pm

Just an FYI. I run Mint 13. Awhile ago I tried Cloud Print and had difficulty setting it up. Just now I installed from the software repository for MInt a package named cloudprint. http://community.linuxmint.com/software/view/cloudprint

"This program shares the locally available cups printers to the Google cloud print service (http://www.google.com/cloudprint). This allows printing on your local printers from wherever you can send jobs to the Google cloud print service, especially from mobile devices, like smartphones, tablets, and computers running Google chrome os."

I just set this up for my Samsung Chromebook and it works extremely well. :D Just an FYI. Cloud Print to me is working far better than in the past.
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Re: Linux Printing isn't working

Postby vlovlo on Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:38 am

had a problem installing Lexmark S 305 and asked Lexmark directly: instant help, amazing and it works parfectly! mail to: lxkListens@lexmark.com
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