[conspire] corrected to HP LaserJet4M Plus Re: HP LaserJet4 - CUPS lists printer twice

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Aug 20 09:42:40 PDT 2009

Quoting Darlene Wallach (freepalestin at dslextreme.com):

> I apologize for the incorrect information and laziness on my part in
> not correcting the subject.

Not a problem.  I was just explaining where things jumped the tracks,
and why.

> Would you advise me to select "add printer" instead of "find printer"
> on the CUPS administration page?

Well, I don't know.  I've never actually used the "find printer"
feature.  My method always has amounted to:

1.  Determine correct transport to reach the printer (direct parallel
    port, IPP, lpr, JetDirect, etc.).
2.  Look on the front/back of the printer to find the exact make/model.
3.  Use CUPS's "Add Printer" dialogue, on the basis of that information.

By the way, I notice that the CUPS "Add Printer" dialogue's "Device for
Test" screen includes a "Device:" choice of "HP Printer (HPLIP)"
alongside more familiar choices like Internet Printing Protocol (IPP),
AppSocket/HP JetDirect, LPD/LPR Host or Printer, and LPT #1.  No idea
what that's about, or how it works.  I'm guessing it has something to do
with CUPS's HPLIP back-end module and HP USB-type printers.  (See:  
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/hplip/+bug/162016  However,
I have no easy way of knowing if that back-end module also supports
other connection types such as LPT.)

FYI:  My own strong personal prejudice is that printers should have
their own ethernet ports, so you can just assign them IP addresses and
use them as network printers (IPP or lpr).  I've actually made a point
of getting aftermarket JetDirect cards for old HP laser printers, to
make that possible.  

It really does make life simpler:  The printer then becomes autonomous,
and can be printed to by anyone on the local LAN at all hours, and
doesn't become unusable because a workstation is shut down, off-network,
or not running the CUPS daemon.

> I figured if I chose "find printer" I'd get the correct information as
> opposed to me perhaps selecting incorrectly if I chose "add printer"

Whatever works.  Me, I just make sure I know the device type and the
printer make/model, and that seems to do the trick.

In rare cases, CUPS doesn't have a suitable (or optimal) entry for your
make/model, in which case you pick and download a suitable PPD from the
online OpenPrinting site, then feed that PPD to CUPS.

In fact, that strategy is often wise even if your distro's stock filters
("drivers") give you at least OK results:  By updating to a more-recent
PPD off the 'Net, you can get better print quality, better support for
printer hardware features (e.g., duplex printing), and so on.

OTOH, "good enough" is always a decent argument.  ;->

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