Ubuntu and HP Printers

Posted on Wednesday 28 May 2008

As I warned, I am now dabbling with Linux/Ubuntu again (since I finally got my hard drives partitioned in a manner that makes me happy .) I have to tell you that I am really, really pleased with how simple and easy (in general ) it is becoming to install and use a package like Ubuntu. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite up to speed for the “general” or “home” user I’m afraid…. For me it’s fun and relaxing, but for someone who is trying to install it on their own, on their current system it can be more daunting that climbing Mount Everest.

The challenge that I have had getting my current laser printer (an HP 1000 ) working with Ubuntu has been amazingly frustrating to say the least!

I have two printers connected to my machine. Both are HP (Hewlett Packard), one is an older “parallel port” connected inkjet printer (color printer ) and the other is a USB connected laser printer (my HP 1000 .) The color printer it recognized immediately and I was able to print right away, the laser/USB printer has been a royal pain!

I have tried several different routes to getting it to print. Admittedly the software packages (all that I had tried ) have recognized and said that everything was good to go – but NOTHING would print out. They all just sort of disappeared! Which isn’t for the faint of heart, and certainly not for anyone new to this sort of thing!

Of course I used my friend Google to find what answers I could, and I thought that I found it on a good and technical website that had an article about configuring and using the printer driver ( I even tried using a different but similar driver that they preferred ) specifically to address the issues that I was having!

It had all sorts of technical steps to follow (not difficult – but for the faint of heart/newbie – intimidating ) but unfortunately, once everything was done and responded to and implemented – the printer was right back where I started from – you print to it – nothing comes out…. sigh….

So I tried yet another set of queries (after spending several days working with what I thought  – and others said – would work ) and came across a solution which did work – and it was simple and easy to use too…

To be truthful, I  actually installed a utility earlier that I didn’t know existed (It was part of the HPLIP package – which while appearing useful hadn’t helped me previously) . The utility is called hp-setup and you just follow the prompts and TA-DA not only does it download what software is necessary to use for your printer, it actually works – it printed first time!

The solution was found here lxer.com/module/forums/t/27262/ (a Linux News Site ) and I give them full credit for it and for saving what little hair I had left. Hopefully this article will help point others to this very simple solution….

  1. Open up a terminal window on your Ubuntu desktop
  2. Type “sudo apt-get install hplip” (if you already have it, it will tell you )
    • This will install the original tool. If your computer is not configured to add/install all recommended packages then when recommended packages are listed please ensure that you get and install those as well. Once everything is completed…
  3. Type “sudo hp-setup” and follow the prompts – it’s that simple!
  4. Once installed print a test page and be amazed….

Ubuntu prides itself on being completely open and commercial software free, which is why it didn’t include any HP utilities and why I think I had so many problems getting my printer to work.

There may or may not have been mention of acquiring this utility for HP printers within it’s documentation, but I think it needs to be a bit more obvious for those looking for easy solutions…

All in all though, I’m still really impressed with how Ubuntu works and am looking forward to my next challenge – which of course you will hear about I’m sure – till then…

End Article
  1. Aaron Said,

    Thanks for the HPLIP comments and for your support!

    HPLIP Team

  2. Rick Said,

    My pleasure Aaron!

    To be truthful I didn’t even know that there was a web-site supporting HPLIP! I’m glad there is and I sure wish I had found it sooner. Lots of good information and helpful guidance.

    I have put a link to your website within the posting and for those looking for a quick listing of it – here it is…


    Check it out! You won’t be disappointed!


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