How does a Linux user manage to print something at a Microsoft conference? I asked myself that same question yesterday and decided to investigate. Not that I really needed to print anything but I was curious to see how difficult, or easy, it is.
The media room here at the Gold Coast Convention Centre has a networked HP LaserJet P3005n for black and white printing. There are six Windows Vista workstations along the same wall as the printer which are already confired to use it. There is a piece of paper stuck on the printer that reads:
This is the default printer for the machines near me
Indeed it is, but since I type interviews directly into my notebook, even if I did want to print something, I have no intention of transferring my copy to a Vista machine just to be able to print it. Anyway, to cut a long story short, all that was required to use the network printer was to:
– Click “Add Printer” in KDE’s printer settings
– Select “SMB shared printer (Windows)”
– Select “Anonymous” for User Identification
– “Scan” for available SMB services on the network and locate the print server the printer is connected to. Do this if you don’t know that but I cheated and looked for it on one of the Vista machines. The “Media” printer was attached to a server name.
– Enter a “workgroup” name (not terribly important what it is it seems), the server name, and the printer name (in this case “Media”).
– Select the printer manufacturer and model. The standard CUPS driver selection doesn’t have an entry for the LaserJet P3005n so I selected something close – the 3015.
– Select the recommended driver for the sected printer.
– Print a test page
If all goes well you should see the CUPS printer test page come out of the printer. Viola! How good is that. I can print without installing any third-party driver software for the particular printer. This reaffirms my believe that all device drivers should be freely available for all operating systems. The ironic thing about Linux is that although few hardware companies proactively support peripheral device driver development, a person has more chance of getting an unfamiliar device to work with it because of all the open source drivers it supports. Go figure.