Printer Install

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

I have been playing with a few different distributions of Linux for my secondary machine. I have been on Ubuntu for a while and yesterday I installed Arch Linux. Today, I installed Linux Mint. Overall I really like the desktop environment that it comes with. It seems as polished as Ubuntu.

Tonight I thought I would try installing my network printer to see how hard it is to install. I went to System Settings and selected Printers. I was greeted with a message that there were no printers configured yet. So I clicked the Add button. As I said this is a network printer and as such I clicked the arrow next to Network Printer. Next I was shocked to find my printer in the list right away. So I clicked on it. It pulled up a description and I clicked the Forward button. It then did a search for drivers and after a few seconds it presented me with a dialog for Installable Options. I selected Duplexer because, well, everyone have a duplexer on their printer right? Finally it gave me a few text boxes where I could rename the printer and I clicked Apply. It asked me if I wanted to print a test page. I clicked Print Test Page and do you know what happened? The printer came to life and actually printed a test page!

That is all there was to installing a printer under Linux. It was so painless. I didn’t have to search HP for a driver package with 400MB of other stuff that I do not need. I just went through a simple wizard and out came a system that could print.

I wish Windows 10 was this easy to add a printer. That part about searching HP for a driver package that weighs in at 400MB is true. I do that about once a year when I inevitably reformat a computer or I buy a new one. I have had this printer for at least a decade, but it just works like a charm on Linux. I am impressed.

EDIT (5/3/2020): Ubuntu 20.04 is out now and I added the printer on here and it is even easier: Go to Settings and select Printers then click the Add a Printer… button after what seemed like 5 seconds a list of printers available appeared. I selected my HP Printer and clicked Add. That is it!

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