This is a problem I’ve been dealing with for a while now. I have a Lexmark printer which I’ve bought without checking for compatibility with Linux (I bought it when I was still using Windows), and as it turns out, this printer is not supported in Linux. I switched to Linux on my main desktop full-time late last year, so instead of to my desktop, I hooked this printer up to my bedroom Windows 7 media server/HTPC, and whenever I need to print, I just drop the file in question on this machine, and print form there. I need a better solution. Update: As it turns out, Lexmark has recently started releasing Linux drivers (good stuff). Still, the problem at hand stands, as there might still be other printers that suffer from the same problem.
The printer in question is one of those wireless multifunction things, a Lexmark x4650. Like every other printer manufacturer, Lexmark is incredibly incompetent and doesn’t support Linux in any way, shape, or form. Of course, I only found this out when I removed Windows from my desktop machine – on which I do all my work – and switched to Linux ‘full-time’.
Since my printer is connected wirelessly, and sits quietly in my storage closet where it can’t make my unicorn cry, it was relatively easy to just hook it up to my bedroom HTPC (which also acts as a server for all my media files). Whenever I need to print, I just drop the file in question on the shared network drive, go into the bedroom, and send the file to the printer from there. Since I don’t print very often, this is acceptable.
Still, it’s not an ideal solution. I would much rather simply send the file to the printer from my Linux desktop, without having to go into the bedroom. Simply sharing the printer in Windows and going from there is not an option, since that would still require a printer driver to be installed locally.
Basically, what I want is what is being described in this howto: “print to a windows printer from linux WITHOUT needing any linux printer drivers/PPDs”. This howto seems a little outdated, however, and looks remarkably convoluted. I just can’t accept that there isn’t a similar, but easier, solution out there.
Since we have readers far more knowledgeable than I, I figured you guys would have some interesting solutions. At the same time, this could help other people who might be wrestling with similar problems. The details: I’m using Ubuntu 10.04 on the desktop, and Windows 7 on the server/HTPC. The printer is a Lexmark x4650, connected to the server/HTPC wirelessly. I don’t need access to printer settings; the few times I need to fiddle with those I can just walk up to the server/HTPC. Access to the scanner function is not needed either.
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