[SOLVED] Looking for a Linux-friendly MFD for infrequent use

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martinch
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[SOLVED] Looking for a Linux-friendly MFD for infrequent use

Post by martinch » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:23 pm

Hi all,

My parents have a Mint-based desktop PC (currently running 17.3, but will be upgraded to 18.3 Real Soon Now), and are looking at getting a moderately-compact printer for it. They're looking for a multi-function device, as they'd like to be able to use it as a copier as well as a scanner. Whilst I could be wrong, I doubt they'll use it much - they've managed without one for 2 years, and based on what they've asked me to print, they'd probably print around 100 pages per year (primarily letters & receipts).

First question - whilst Brother, Canon, Epson, and HP all offer Linux drivers for at least some of their printers, do some of them tend to be better (or worse) than others? (a couple of my colleagues have Linux-based work laptops, and there are some OEM drivers that seem to be a cause of ire ...)

Second question - can anyone recommend any devices I should be looking at or avoiding? Given the limited use scenario, my initial thought was a laser MFD like the HP LaserJet Pro M26nw, or Brother DCP-1510/DCP-1610W, however, they are (counter-intuitively) more expensive to run than some of the inkjets. Looking at the "on paper" specifications, something like the Brother MFC-J564DW, HP OfficeJet 6950/6970 or ENVY Photo 6230, or Epson WorkForce WF-2750DWF/3720DWF are all cheaper to buy and run - I'm wondering if one of those might be a better bet, and just make sure it's turned on at least weekly to prime the print heads?

Thanks!

P.S. I got my current printer - an Epson Stylus Photo R800 - in (I think!) 2006, and haven't really looked at them since, so my knowledge is a little out of date!

EDIT: Went with a Brother MFC-L2730DW. Despite some installation quirks, it seems very nice.
Last edited by martinch on Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MintBean
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Re: Looking for a Linux-friendly MFD for infrequent use

Post by MintBean » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:46 pm

If they're only printing 100 sheets a year, I wouldn't place a major emphasis on the cost of consumables. I would start by asking for more detail on what they actually want:

-They do want an all in one.
-Do they want/need colour printing?
-Do they want a duplex printer (that prints on both sides without manually feeding the paper through twice)? (At least one of your suggestions didn't have this - an absolute must for me personally)
-Do they need a printer with network connectivity? Wireless or wired?

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sammiev
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Re: Looking for a Linux-friendly MFD for infrequent use

Post by sammiev » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:52 pm

A lot of good info above, you may wish to look at the price of ink and the volume in the cartridges.

Some printers have a all in one cartridge and when you run dry of one color it stops printing, others have separate cartridges and can be replaced one at a time.

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Re: Looking for a Linux-friendly MFD for infrequent use

Post by pdc_2 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:21 pm

with Ubuntu, since 17.04 .... airprint is supported for printing; so if one looks at the list, https://support.apple.com/en-nz/HT201311 essentially all printers by major suppliers are airprint compatible; so if one plugs into Ubuntu 17.04 or 10 they configure up automatically ...... seems they appear as driverless in the config ...... so all done for you .........

........ yes, this is a Mint forum but 18.04 Ubuntu comes out April 2018; and next Mint based on that will be May-June2018 so by then, airprint support will appear ...... so plug and play .........

...... till then if you see a device that you would consider buying, maybe just post here to check out things;

Brother provide an installer tool: run that and the script goes away and gets the needed driver and installs it; the scanning on Brother can be a little trickier;
Epson provide a generic printer driver that seems to cover nearly all their devices now; again, a wireless scanner can be trickier .....
Canon provide a driver package that 1) installs the drivers and 2) registers the device on lpadmin so all done; and their scanners seem to just work;
HP has some passionate enthusiasts; but people do have issues as checking on the forums will show ...

and then there is Turboprint that provides really good quality printing for all of the above; http://www.turboprint.info/printers.html ..... they need to put food on the table so they ask for a small contribution for their excellent product.

... but really all of the above will be very good so if you don't want to wait till June next year, just get something!

martinch
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Re: Looking for a Linux-friendly MFD for infrequent use

Post by martinch » Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:22 pm

Thanks for the super-quick replies :)
MintBean wrote:If they're only printing 100 sheets a year, I wouldn't place a major emphasis on the cost of consumables.
You're probably right ... it's just my gut reaction, as I know how fast ink adds up (my R800 costs about £120 for a full set of cartridges...)
MintBean wrote:I would start by asking for more detail on what they actually want:
Doh ... I meant to include most of what you asked in the original post, but obviously forgot - sorry!
MintBean wrote:-They do want an all in one.
Yes. They want to use it as a stand-alone "photocopier", as well as a scanner.
MintBean wrote:-Do they want/need colour printing?
No. They are mostly printing letters, receipts, and recipes, for which black and white is fine.
MintBean wrote:-Do they want a duplex printer
That would be nice, but not essential.
MintBean wrote:-Do they need a printer with network connectivity?
Network connectivity is not necessary - they'd be looking at connecting via USB. Whilst WiFi wouldn't hurt, their desktop doesn't have WiFi on it ...
sammiev wrote:you may wish to look at the price of ink and the volume in the cartridges.
Already done that in detail. :) Somewhat surprising that ink tanks seem to be so small these days - my R800 takes 13ml tanks, but they all seem to be around 5ml for standard tanks, and 12ml for "XL" ones ...
sammiev wrote:Some printers have a all in one cartridge and when you run dry of one color it stops printing, others have separate cartridges and can be replaced one at a time.
Ah yes, those combined cartridges are the spawn of satan ... my old Stylus Photo 1520 & 890 had a single 3- and 5-colour (respectively) one of those, and there was always 1 colour that would run out way before the others (I think it was yellow...)

martinch
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Re: Looking for a Linux-friendly MFD for infrequent use

Post by martinch » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:03 pm

@PDC_2: I guess we were typing at the same time ...
pdc_2 wrote:with Ubuntu, since 17.04 ... airprint is supported for printing ... so if one plugs into Ubuntu 17.04 or 10 they configure up automatically ... seems they appear as driverless in the config ... so all done for you ...
Not being an Apple user, I wasn't familiar with AirPrint - it does look incredibly convenient, however! :D
pdc_2 wrote:Brother provide an installer tool: run that and the script goes away and gets the needed driver and installs it; the scanning on Brother can be a little trickier;
Epson provide a generic printer driver that seems to cover nearly all their devices now; again, a wireless scanner can be trickier
So, printer sets up fine, scanner less so. :( Is that still the case if using a wired connection?
pdc_2 wrote:Canon provide a driver package that 1) installs the drivers and 2) registers the device on lpadmin so all done; and their scanners seem to just work;
Ah ... "seem to just work" ... music to my ears! :)
pdc_2 wrote:HP has some passionate enthusiasts; but people do have issues as checking on the forums will show ...
That's interesting, given that HPLIP seems to be bundled by default - I know one of my sysadmin-turned-dev colleagues rather liked HP printers under Linux. :(
pdc_2 wrote:Turboprint that provides really good quality printing for all of the above;
I'll bear them in mind. :)
pdc_2 wrote:but really all of the above will be very good so if you don't want to wait till June next year, just get something!
That's reassuring - thanks! :)

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Re: Looking for a Linux-friendly MFD for infrequent use

Post by MintBean » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:47 pm

I would probably go for something like this:

Brother MFC-L2700DW A4 Multifunction Mono Laser Printer
http://amzn.eu/dVKz0e1

Works on Ubuntu 16.04, hence will work on Mint 18.x.
https://notebook.thriftechs.com/2017/11 ... on-ubuntu/

A great review here, plus good scores on Amazon.
https://vancastle.net/index.php/2017/02/13/676/

martinch
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Re: Looking for a Linux-friendly MFD for infrequent use

Post by martinch » Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:09 am

@MintBean: Thanks for that well-researched suggestion! :)

It looks like a nice unit - possibly a little on the large/heavy side, but then again I guess all of the all-in-one printers are going to be around that size, due to the scanner needing an A4-sized piece of glass. It certainly seems to be widely available for significantly less than Brother's £190 RRP, too! :) Although that's now got me looking to see if some of the other "expensive" lasers are available at a similar "discount" ... doh :lol:

martinch
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Re: Looking for a Linux-friendly MFD for infrequent use

Post by martinch » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:24 pm

So, I had an e-mail chat with Brother, who agreed that an inkjet was a bad idea, and suggested the DCP-L2520DW.

I had a chat with my parents, and suggested the MFC-L2700DW (as suggested above), and the DCP-L2530DW. Typically, they're leaning towards the MFC-L2730DW, as it's not much more than the lower models, but looks a little nicer (touchscreen instead of 2-line LCD, has a bit more memory, and will take thicker paper more happily).

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