Posts Tagged ‘Printing’

Printing photos on a HP Color LaserJet 2550

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

This command prints nicely coloured photos on the laser printer:

lp -o scaling=100 -o landscape
 -o PageRegion=A4 -o PageSize=A4
 -o HPOption_PaperPolicy=Scale -o HPEdgeControl=Off
 -o HPColorSmart=Automatic -o HPRGBEmulation=Vivid
 -o MediaType=Glossy photo.jpg

The media type will probably have to be adjusted to match the paper used.

This command will show all the available options:

lpoptions -l

OpenOffice still won’t print with CUPS

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Some time ago OpenOffice in Debian Testing stopped working with CUPS. I reported the bug, and it was fixed, but for some reason the fix was rolled back, so now I’m back at using a “Generic Printer” for my output, without all CUPS options.

Printing from Mozilla Thunderbird through Xprint

Thursday, September 23rd, 2004

I finally managed to print emails decently from Mozilla Thunderbird with the Xprint backend. Until now it has always come out too big, too small, in the wrong fonts or something else. It has never printed anything presentable.

The necessary instruction on how to make it work are here.

First of all, remove the copies of the PostScript fonts that Xprint keeps for itself. On my Debian systems they’re found at /usr/share/Xprint/xserver/C/print/models/PSdefault/fonts. Just remove the directory. It has to be done as root.

Then go to your Mozilla Thunderbird preferences directory. It’ll be something like ~/.mozilla-thunderbird/default.XXX/ where the last three ‘X’ are individual. There ought to be a chrome sub-folder here, and in that you’ll have to place a file called userContent.css. Just edit it with any editor of your choice. Create it if it doesn’t exist. It has to contain this text:

@media print {
   body, table {
       color: black;
       font-family: 'Times New Roman', times, serif;
       font-size: 12pt;
   tt, pre {
       font-family: 'Courier New', courier, typewriter, monospace;
   :link, :visited {
       color: black !important;
       text-decoration: underline !important;
   .moz-text-plain {
       font-family: 'Courier New',courier,monospace !important;

It might seem like black magic if you’re not accustomed to Cascading Style Sheets, but it tells Mozilla Thunderbird what fonts and sizes to use for printing.

Last thing is to exit Mozilla Thunderbird and restart it to get the style sheet to take effect.

HP Color LaserJet 2550L

Saturday, August 14th, 2004

HP Color LaserJet 2550LMy old laser printer died, and a few days later I stumbled over a good offer on a Hewland-Packard HP Color LaserJet 2550L, which I promptly bought. I got it for around $440 plus VAT.

It is a colour laser printer, with four separate toner cartridges mounted on a carousel, and as the sites says, it works perfectly with Linux. The printer supports both PCL6 and PostScript Level 2.

My model is the smallest of the series. It has USB 2.0 and parallel port interfaces and a 125 sheet paper tray that opens on the side of the printer. Other models have an internal HP JetDirect print server, and a extra 250 sheet paper tray that is mounted below the printer.

I downloaded HP’s PPD file for it to get all the available options. The PPD file has to be copied to /usr/share/cups/model/ and CUPS restarted before the printer is setup. Otherwise the model won’t appear in the list. The printer can also be configured as a “HP Color LaserJet PCL6” printer, but that won’t give you all the possible printing options.

The first message CUPS displayed for the printer was “Starting ESP Ghostscript…” which baffled me a bit, since CUPS shouldn’t need to use ghostscript to process the print jobs, since it is a PostScript printer. The answer is that the internal PostScript engine in the printer is ghostscript, and that was the startup message that appeared.

I have only two grievances about this printer: its size and the noise. The printer is absolutely huge, requiring a space of at least 50x70cm with some extra space around it for cooling. It is not a printer you can put on a shelf. It requires a table. I was surprised at first, but the internal space in the printer is entirely taken up by the carousel with the four CMYK cartridges and the imaging drum, so it couldn’t really be much smaller.

The noise is a result of the cartridge carousel. There is an initial noisy phase for any print job, where the carousel is turned to bring the correct cartridge into place, and if it is a colour print job, the noise continues throughout the printing phase, as the printer changes between the four cartridges several times for each pages. There is an option in the PPD file for “Print Color as Gray”, and that will not only print faster, save wear and tear on the printer, but also lower the noise level quite a bit.
(more…) won’t print with CUPS anymore

Friday, August 13th, 2004

For some reason oowriter has decided it doesn’t want to print with CUPS anymore.

I had set up CUPS_SERVER to point to my home server, so I wouldn’t need to maintain a print setup on our laptops, and every other application prints nicely, but OOo.

In the print dialog the two CUPS printers are there, as expected, and when I print something, the progress dialog flashes briefly on the screen saying the job is being sent.

On the print server nothing ever arrives. There isn’t the slightest trace of any incoming print job.

The CUPS interface in Openoffice appears to be a Debian addition, so I have reported the bug there.

Currently, my workaround involves adding the line


to the start of /usr/lib/openoffice/program/soffice and not having a local CUPS server running.

If the environment variable CUPS_SERVER is set, OpenOffice will use that, otherwise if there is a CUPS server on the local computer, that will be used. By removing both options from OpenOffice, it will fall back to a generic PostScript printer interface. The only thing I have done there is to use oopadmin to set the correct command to send the job to my preferred printer.

I tried setting CUPS_SERVER to point to a non-existant host, but that caused OOo to hang during startup.

With the above workaround (I’m a bit loathe to call it a solution to the problem) I can print to my preferred printer, but I do not get any of the printer specific options, such as resolution, paper type or size, or whatever else the printer PPD might define.

HP PSC-950 and Gimp-Print

Tuesday, August 10th, 2004

I have a HP PSC-950 (Printer/Scanner/Copier and Fax), and I can print and scan without problems using hpijs and ghostscript for printing, and hpoj and xsane for scanning.

Printing of photos on photographic paper from Gimp has always been a problem. The PPD file for the PSC 950 (from, called “HP PSC 950 Foomatic/hpijs”) doesn’t define separate selections of paper type, colors, resolution, but rather puts them all into one group called “Printout Mode”, with choices like “300DraftColorCMYK”, “600BestColorCMYK” and “600PhotoCMYK”.

Given this PPD file Gimp-Print grays out the menues for selection of “Media type” and “Resolution”, giving the user no way to select photographic paper and a high resolution.

This was seriously hurting my WAF, since my wife likes to print out our digital photos. I wouldn’t want her to switch back the enemy’s OS, right.

Then yesterday, when she was especially annoyed that it was so hard to print a photo (and it really ought to be very easy), I got stubborn and sat down to destroy a box of photographic paper. In that process I discovered that if I click “Setup Printer” in Gimp-Print, and instead of the default “PostScript Level 2” setting I chose “HP Deskjet 900 series”, the photos print perfectly. The internal name in Gimp-Print for that driver is “pcl-900”.

The print-job is absolutely huge, since Gimp-Print generates all the necessary printer instructions directely, instead of just sending a PostScript file to the print spooler and filters.

It does annoy me a bit that I cannot get Gimp-Print to print photos simply by pointing it to a PPD file, but at least now the photos are printing and my WAF is, if not increasing, at least in a slower decline.

My HP LaserJet IIIP died suddenly

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

I had an old — very old — HP LaserJet IIIP which has served me quite well, but yesterday it wouldn’t turn on. No lights, no fan, nothing. As dead as a norwegian parrot!

It might have blown a fuse or lost the power supply, I don’t know.

Technical manuals for this kind of printer is hard to find, and in any case they’re not online. I’d have to buy it, and I’m not really in the mood to throw money after such an old beast.

I guess it is time to look for something newer. A native PostScript colour laser printer would be nice, preferrably silent and cost effective. Something like the HP Color LaserJet 2500 would be very nice indeed.