In a previous articles on Ubuntu and Mint, I commented on how easy it now was to install network printers on these easy-to-use Linux distros. Dialog boxes opened for easy searching for network printers. But I also noted that I could not get the scanner elements of my multi-function devices to be recognized. However, I had heard a rumor that HP support for Linux was very good.
So my old Samsung printer broke down. It needed a part that was going to cost a couple of hundred dollars, and I also noticed that Samsung have stopped making printers, so I was not sure how long they would be supported. Ironically, given that this article is going to praise HP, it is HP that has bought out Samsung's printer division, and their support is pretty basic. So I decided that I would buy a new HP multi-function OfficeJet printer.
As a printer, it installed pretty easily. Linux distros usually come with an application called HPLIP (Hewlett Packard Linux Imaging and Printing), but once again I could not get the scanner to work. Now, I had already previously noted that scanners usually require drivers from XSANE, and I had already installed these. What I quickly discovered is that the version of HPLIP that comes with your Linux distro is probably out of date. But HP have a support website at hplipopensource.com. This site suggested removing the current HPLIP, and replacing it with the newest build. That is what I did, following the very clear instructions on their site, utilizing the terminal. This process was very lengthy, and took about an hour, but it was worth it. Once the new installation was finished, it was possible to open the HPLIP GUI, and find the printer quickly. But not only that – it also found it as a scanner as well! I tried a couple of test scans in GIMP, and discovered that the XSANE drivers were now working perfectly with the operating system.
HP are definitely ahead of the game with their support for Linux, and I am delighted. To be fair, I should point out that I have heard that Epson printer-scanners are similarly supported, though I have not tested this for myself. But Brother, Samsung, and Canon are just not cutting the mustard.
My successful and simple installation of printer and scanner drivers for my new HP OfficeJet is one more step to making a Linux distro do everything that we have come to expect from Windows, with none of the hassle.