For the first time in more than a decade this former Mac user doesn’t feel like a second-class citizen when it comes to printing, and it’s all thanks to Hewlett-Packard and their first-class support for Linux.
Their software, HP Linux Imaging and Printing (HPLIP for short) comes bundled with most of the major Linux distributions and their derivatives, including the newly-updated Linux Mint on my desktop computer, and Easy Peasy on my netbook.
Here’s how easy it was to set up my new HP Officejet j6450 on both.
1. Connect printer to my wireless network.
I actually messed up a bit in this first step. I had learned some hard lessons about home networking with my NAS, and knew that a static IP address was important to create a permanent and unfaltering link to something that wouldn’t always be powered on.
Unfortunately I chose to assign a static IP to my HP via the printer itself, using its fax keypad and built-in display. I must gotten something wrong because neither of my computers could find it. In other words, it was a pebkac issue.
Resetting the network access and assigning a static IP through my router worked like a charm, though. Lesson learned — or more accurately, reinforced.
2. Start printer utility on Linux OS and click on “Add Printer”.
3. Select my HP (discovered automatically).
You can see in this screen grab that my exact model isn’t listed, but I figure HP knows its drivers better than me.
4. Wait for the appropriate drivers to be retrieved.
Not sure if they were being downloaded from a server or just installed from my local CUPS database. Either way, this took less than a minute.
5. Choose printer names for my network and for me.
Name selection is entirely arbitrary, so long as the network moniker contains no spaces. I ‘ve named my printer “awesome”.
And that’s it. I now have a printer that’s accessible from any device on my network. If I still had my Eseries Nokia I could probably print from that too. Scanning also works without issue using Linux Mint’s default Simple Scan app.
If I seem irrationally exuberant over such a simple matter I guess it’s because I’ve never had a printer that didn’t require the installation of kludgy software to make it work. With the possible exception of networking considerations this is the first printing peripheral I’ve ever bought that delivers on the promise of “plug and play”.