CUPS & Choosing a Printer

Michael Scully agentscully at
Tue Oct 23 17:09:48 UTC 2007

The issues with inexpensive laser printers is one of on-board processors and
RAM.  To make very low cost printers for the Windows market, a few
manufacturers make models with essentially no on board rendering capability
and force the Windows computer to do all of page layout in the driver.  The
result is sent out like a raster image to the printer.  Since most desktop
machines have more CPU and memory than most need, it leverages that and
keeps the printer cost low.  So most of the "windows only" printers are
often out for Linux use.  Probably most of the under $200 models work that

Check to see if a printer's specifications say PCL4, PCL5, PCL6, or some
level of Postscript.  FYI, all the Mac-compatible ones will have Postscript.
The generic Linux drivers for these all work fine.


Check the Linux printer d/b to see what's supported. Pay *close* attention
to how *much* support there is (well, mostly, sorta, paperweight). For what
I wound up with, an HP 1018, I had to build the driver, then edit my
/etc/init.d/cups to d/l the firmware that came with the driver every time
cups restarts. 

The printer's quite nice, btw.

You might also consider, if you're buying an inkjet, whether it's
refillable. I understand that a lot of the newer inkjets have chipped
cartridges that won't *let* you refill - they just refuse to print. Then
there are some that just complain (if you're running Windows, anyway) that
refilling voids the warranty, but keeps printing anyway....


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