Hardware - Printing... I don't understand

shame - 01.06.2006, 12:47 Uhr
Titel: Printing... I don't understand
One thing I have never understood about linux is the printing system. The last time I tried to setup a printer was the first week I started using linux and I found it so confusing and frustrating I gave up and made do without a printer.
Well now I've tried again and I find it still as confusing - cups this, foomatic that, ghostscript the other. lp, gutenprint, gimp-print... it all goes over my head and after spending a couple of days googling I'm still none the wiser really.
I've tried using cupsconfig and kanotix-su cupsconfig but when I try to add a printer the manufacturers list is empty. I tried browsing to /usr/share/cups and found a gutenprint ppd file that matched my printer and it seemed to setup ok but when it prints the quality is very grainy and poor.
When I go to the control centre and try to do anything with the printer it says it cannot find the driver.
I've also tried using gnome and going to Desktop>Administration>Printing and added a printer through that.
It automatically found the driver ok (the same one I had browsed to with cupsconfig) but still had poor quality and when I tried configuring it through kde again it told me again that it couldn't find the driver.
I've now tried the command foomatic-gui and it gives this error -
*** glibc detected *** double free or corruption (!prev): 0x08175030 ***
Unable to read printer database.

I've installed everything printer related I can find in synaptic and cupsys is running.
Can anyone advise me?

Just before posting this I tried setting up the printer on suse 10.1. It detected the printer and downloaded and installed everything I needed and setup the printer and it works but the quality still isn't great unless I set it to the highest quality setting and resolution. It set it up with the gimp-print driver.

I have also installed windows especially to try the printer and it is working perfectly with no problems at all.

kanotix, kde 3.5.2 and gnome 2.14
The printer is an old Epson Stylus Color 440 with brand new cartridges and from what I've read there should be no problems with this printer on linux.
shame - 02.06.2006, 02:02 Uhr
And the adventure continues...
I tried going to printer settings in kde and chose "Administrator Mode" and this time it provided me with a list of manufacturers.
I chose the recommended gimp-print driver only to be told it couldn't find the driver so I chose the gutenprint driver again and the printer works and the quality is improved but anything red is being printed as yellow.
I tried again and used a driver I had downloaded from LinuxPrinting and the quality was better still but again red is being printed as yellow.
I urgently need a printer at the moment and my new one is going to take up to month for delivery so I'm stuck with this for now.
drb - 02.06.2006, 17:48 Uhr
I've just tried to add your printer with the recommended driver and come across the same error relating to the lack of driver . . . so you are not alone!

Have you tried the other drivers?

I've tried the site below in the past to understand the differences between drivers.

http://www.linuxprinting.org/show_print ... _Color_440
shame - 02.06.2006, 23:33 Uhr
Well I tried removing everything relating to printers, cups, foomatic stuff, the lot then re-installed it all and tried setting up the printer again. It still only finds the gutenprint driver but it is working now, up to a point.
The print quality is ok, considering I only need it for plain text stuff mainly.
But compared to suse, if I print the same document from openoffice, the colours are much paler in kanotix and I can only describe the text as "thin".
As I mentioned before, suse is using a gimp-print driver but I can't find this to download anywhere and when I try using the actual ppd file from suse in kanotix, it still says it cannot find the driver.
From what I've read, gutenprint is a newer version of gimp-print so I would expect at least the same quality, if not better than the gimp-print one.
I've tried downloading every driver I can find but kanotix will only recognise the gutenprint one - smooth, decent quality but pale and wishy-washy looking and the stcolor driver from linuxprinting.org - much brighter, better looking colors and black but all the text looks blocky.
Looks like it's going to have to do until I get my new printer but it's not ideal by a long shot.
chris_b - 03.06.2006, 21:28 Uhr
Like you, I've never really understood Linux printing and I don't think we're the only two... But there is an answer:

I have a Canon printer not supported directly by cups and in a previous debian distribution that I used (libranet) I found a package called turboporint which seems to live on top of cups, do all the tricky stuff and also has support for additional printers including my Canon . I checked the list an your Epson is there too. Once installed, you can use the kde control centre or normal cups to manage your printers.

You can get the software from www.turboprint.de. There's a free version which is slightly crippled - I recall it prints a watermark on high-resolution prints. You could try this and see if it works for you, then you can buy a lifetime key for about 30 euros. For kanotix you must use the .tgz version, don't try alien on the .rpm - I did that and it didn't work big time. To be fair the site says don't do this but I didn't read that far as the alien route used to work for debian distros (that's my story anyhow). I now have two Kanotix pcs networked sharing an antique HP Laserjet4 with an ethernet interface, and the Canon usb printer plugged into one of the systems.

shame - 03.06.2006, 22:53 Uhr
Thanks for the heads-up on that. Soon as I get the time I'll give it a try.
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