Setting up your Printer with Ubuntu Linux
Some handy Tips / Hints to get your Printer to work
Just plug it in ! Quite often many printers will just work. The Printer will be autodetected and a suitable driver is found. Even very old printers can work easily as many of the drivers are still maintained by the Linux community.
Printer manufacturers often don’t support their own printers for older versions of Windows. But Linux may well still be fine with these 😉
Gathering info on your Printer
- Will my printer work? Maybe
- Linuxprinting.org should be your first port of call for info about your printer.
- I’ve found that HP produced printers have traditionally had the best linux support. Epson likewise. Canon have been more problematic but it varies by the exact model you have. Samsung printers are now made by HP.
- Often different printer models have the same driver and your particular printer model may not be shown. If so try one that has a very similar model number ie my ML2165W is shown as a ML2160 in Ubuntu when autofound.
- There can sometimes be a number of different drivers that can work with the same printer to varying degrees.
- If your printer has a Postscript capability it will ALWAYS work with Linux. Often these are more expensive business grade printers but it’s worth checking nonetheless.
- If you can find a PPD (Postscript Device Description) file for your printer then this is usually the best bet as a driver.
Setting up your printer
- If your printer can be connected by USB as well as wifi, try connecting it with a USB cable first. This is often a better bet to be able to connect to your printer. Once this is done successfully, try the wifi connection too.
- If it’s a wifi enabled printer get the wifi part setup first with a Windows / Mac pc. For my Samsung ML2165 wireless printers setting up the wireless part was easy with Windows but quite a bit more involved in Linux so make your life easy and get the wifi and printer ip address set up first.
- Usually Ubuntu will autodetect a usb, wifi or ethernet connected printer but sometimes it’s handy to know the ip address if using wifi or ethernet cable to connect the printer. You can usually obtain this from the DHCP leases on your internet router.
It didn’t work – what next ?
- Make sure you try the simplest connection first. If nothing is detected using a USB cable, bring up a Terminal, and type ‘dmesg’. This shows all the recent items that that been attached to the computer. If nothing is mentioned concerning usb then you may have a broken usb cable, or hub.
- It may be that you can connect to the printer ok either by USB, wifi or ethernet cable but that a suitable driver isn’t available. In this case searching with Google with linux and your printer’s model number may provide some clues as to obtaining a suitable driver or selecting a different model number printer that is very close to yours. A lot of drivers are shared by printers nowaday.
- Be wary of any blog posts or forum posts that are really old as drivers and Ubuntu change a lot from one release to another and the info may be outdated.
- Don’t give up 😉 Don’t forget your friendly LUG, is here to help with your problems and queries and we will be pleased to help troubleshoot where we can.
- Sometimes just updating your distro can fix things such as this. Newer linux kernels are released often and contain new or updated drivers.
Thanks for listening