[clug] Printer recommendations

rodneyp at pcug.org.au rodneyp at pcug.org.au
Wed Jan 9 14:52:17 MST 2013

On Tue, 8 Jan 2013 06:20:04 linux-request at lists.samba.org wrote:
> Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2013 00:19:56 +1100
> From: Simon Oxwell <soxwell at gmail.com>
> To: linux at lists.samba.org
> Subject: [clug] Printer recommendations?
> Message-ID:
>         <CAHw+uBwepsCqiTUES09QYAeq8UYqit8ren0NxmHebc5n6EROug at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> Hi all,
> After months of struggling with a slightly dodgey  USB->Parallel adapter
> and my 15 year old HP LaserJet, I've decided it may well be time to bite
> the bullet and get a new printer.
> I don't do a lot of printing, so will likely stick to a mono laser printer
> (I think an inkjet will likely clog between uses), so was looking to see
> what people are using these days.
> I've done a bit of a market scan, ruled out Canon and Lexmark due to past
> shenanignas, and there seems to be three vendors:
> * Fuji-Xerox, who seem to be doing some really interesting stuff using LED
> instead of lasers and have a sub-$200 colour printer with 2400x2400 dpi
> resolution (and recommeded by a work colleague), but is GDI Host-based and
> Fuji-Xerox offer nothing in the way of FOSS drivers. Seriously cheap kit.
> * Brother - slightly more expensive, still GDI based at the bottom end,
> resolution not quite as good (2400x600 dpi), but the CUPS drivers are
> GPLv2, available is .deb and .rpm, but they rely on binary blob that is
> Linux only as far as the FOSS OSes go. (I have a NAS box based on FreeBSD I
> might want to run a print queue on)
> * HP - even more expensive, but seem to have good FOSS support via hplip
> and foomatic. Technology-wise, HP seem to be stuck with the same print
> engine that's in my 15 year old printer (they're still on 600x600 dpi!)
> There seems to be a sliding scale that ties price and openness in one
> direction and price and spec in the other.
> So, is there any vendors I've missed? Will I have have to suck it up and
> pay more for something that supports PS or PCL? What would you recommend?
> Simon

In my experience, USB-parallel adaptors can work fine with popular printer 
models, not so with obscure/older models.  My guess is that they default the 
parallel mode to more than SPP and that won't work with many older printers.

On the topic of resolution, 600 x 600 ought to be fine for just about any mono 
job.  Anything higher in mono will be a lot slower.  In my experience, colour 
lasers need more like 2400 x 600 or 1200 x 1200 so that the blending of colour 
dots produces something equivalent to 600 x 600 mono quality.

The Fuji-Xerox SLED technology does look to be the best colour laser 
technology around.  Pity about the lack of FOSS drivers

Some of the Brother models are postscript and Brother do provide the PPD 
separately for such models.  I have the MFC-9120CN and use it by simply 
pointing CUPS to the PPD.  AFAIK, the MFC-9125CN is the current release in 
this series.  BTW, these models use LEDs, as do many low cost "laser" 

If you are interested in scanning via network, then Brother do provide that 
capability for virtually all their MFC.  It is based on SANE, although 
provided a  binary blob.
I agree that you should avoid Lexmark.  They do *not* provide the PPD for 
their high end printers and the I'm informed that the binary blob for their 
entry level printers is difficulty to get working.


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