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Does Printing Work Well In Linux?

Recently I was discussing Linux operating systems with a co-worker.  The question came up on how well printers were supported in Linux.  As I have a fresh install of Ubuntu 9.04, I thought I would show exactly how well most printers work in Ubuntu.

First go to System ->Administration -> Printing


Click the new button and it searches for connected printers.


I have a Brother HL-2170W network laser printer connected to my network router. Ubuntu finds it easily. Click the forward button and Ubuntu searches for and finds the printer drivers already included in the default installation.


Click apply to accept the default settings or add your own. The defaults will work quite nicely.


Next Ubuntu asks if you would like to print a test page. I click "Yes" and a perfect test page spits out of the printer.


One last chance to change any settings and options. Everything looks good so I just click "OK"


New printer is installed and ready for use. The entire process probably took less time that what it did to review this post.

So does printing work well in Linux?  My response would be an enthusiastic “YES”.

For more information then you will probably ever want to or need to know about printing in Linux you can go to the  Linux Foundation’s OpenPrinting Database.

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10 comments to Does Printing Work Well In Linux?

  • gustheshepherd

    Hooking up a network printer seems pretty easy. I have a Samsung ML-2510 Laser Printer hooked up via USB. I just turned on the power, it found the printer, and it just worked. Hook it up, turn it on. EASY.

  • Brent

    I finally got my Bro in law off the MS Teat (Vista) and onto Mint. The final straws were the last round of viruses/ malware the hobbled his system, and that he could not get his new Brother printer to work (even with a setup disk). I went to the brother site – found the driver and “viola”.
    The more I use Linux (Mint specifically) the less I understand why you would put up with all the crap from M$.

  • Frank

    Printing in Linux is great, as long as it is a supported printer. When your in-laws call you because of all the viruses and malware garbage you tend to get a bit tired of it. But they won’t switch to Linux because their cheap piece of garbage Lexmark, which costs more to use for one year than purchasing a new laser printer, won’t work in Linux. UGH!

  • It won’t be long before we get to a point where every printer will be a network printer. Since everyone has a network now, the idea of plugging a printer into a single computer will rapidly become obsolete.

    And yes, it’s EASY under Linux now. When we bought our color laser, it took about 30 seconds to get it running under Linux (pretty much the exact same procedure described in this article) but I fought with our stupid Mac for half an hour trying to get their stupid driver disks to work.

  • John

    Just bought a Hewlett Packet Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless all in one (printer,scanner,fax,copier) because HP said
    it works on Linux. And it does! The first machine I’ve ever had that prints and scans effortlessly via Ethernet or
    (in my case) wirelessly.

  • John

    I meant Hewlett Packard!!!!!!!!!! Typing lessons wouldn’t go amiss!

  • wally

    Unfortunately, my experience is not so good – Ubuntu Jaunty and HP 1020

  • Monty

    Google is your friend. Did you try this?


    The process is listed here, and it works like a CHARM (although you should remember to remove any previous attempts in CUPS, reboot your system and reinstall via CUPS).

    $ sudo apt-get install build-essential
    $ wget -O foo2zjs.tar.gz http://foo2zjs.rkkda.com/foo2zjs.tar.gz
    $ tar -zxvf foo2zjs.tar.gz
    $ cd foo2zjs
    $ sudo make uninstall
    $ make
    $ ./getweb 1020
    $ sudo make install install-hotplug cups

    Let me know if this works out. One of the good things about Ubuntu, you are seldom alone with your problems.

  • Homer

    I bought a HP AIO/MFD 6180 because it was supported with Linux. NOt only is it supported. It’s 100% perfect. Every functionworks as intended without issue. The Linux install, a few minutes and a few MB, the Windows install, 1GB of drivers FFS! and they don’t work half the time, updates every other day. In the end we switched the office Windows machine to Linux for the compatibility with the printer! Microsofts ability to maintain hardware compatibility is gone. Noe even the vendors can’t be bothered with them anymore. Pity the end users though.

  • Charles

    I have 5 printers in my home (LaserJet 4M, LaserJet 1100xi, Deskjet 722c, Deskjet 890c, Epson C60) that are in various rooms. The lasers are networked (printserver for the 1100, internal printserver on the LaserJet 4) and the deskjets on Windows XP machines.

    The Epson is on a dual boot (Daughter’s) and I have the main Linux box running OpenSUSE 11.1 and my notebook running Ubuntu 8.04 LTS.

    OpenSUSE and Ubuntu both find printers faster and with less dificulty than Windows vista or even Windows 7 and usually beat out XP Professional SP3 by a slim margin. I have to agree that Linux in general has come a long way in this regard compared to the early days of RedHat and SuSE editions.

    In particular the Linux installation of networked computers is much more simple and robust than you will find in Windows. Not only do you have messages that make sense when you read them, they are intuitive as to what you might be facing with potential issues.

    I had a bad network switch and was quickly able to determine the issue from Linux, where Windows just told me “Unable to connect to network printer. Make sure the printer is powered on and connected before attempting to install”… Linux was able to let me know that the printer man not be responding due to network error, and gave additional hints that a switch or connection appeared to have limited functionallity.

    The more I use Linux, the more I hate windows.


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