Today I fell in love all over again. With Linux. Specifically Ubuntu 8.04.
I have been playing around with Ubuntu 8.04 for the last week and a half or so and I have totally fallen in love with software, operating systems and geekery again. Not only does Ubuntu just flat out work straight out of the box, it has made using my computer fun again. And productive.
Take installing my printer driver on my machine. A few years ago I bought a new HP Photosmart 2610 printer for an outrageously discounted price at a black Friday after Thanksgiving sale at Circuit City. I had gotten it home and installed the software for it on my computer (a Winblows 2000 computer at the time). It took about 30 minutes and two reboots (that’s right, you heard me) to get the software installed.
Once it was loaded it worked very well. It allowed me to print, fax, scan… the works. Right from my computer. Awesome.
When I got my new laptop about 2 years ago I installed the software for the printer on it. Once again, about 30 minutes and two reboots later I was able to use my printer. I followed this same process a few months later for my wife’s laptop.
Did I mention all of these computers I did this too were Winblows? The last two were XP machines, one XP Pro the other XP home. Thanks Microsoft.
Today I decided to “trudge” through getting my printer connected to my machine. I say “trudge” because I have always heard that installing printers on Linux is a lesson in futility and that, seeing as I am losing hair already, if I wanted to keep what little hair I had I would just not bother.
Was I ever stupid for listening to that mumbo jumbo.
Installing the HP Photosmart 2610 driver on Ubuntu 8.04
A quick Google search for HP Photosmart 2600 on Linux returned a link to the Linux Printing web site for my printer. After reading over the driver information I decided to visit the home page for HPIJS/HPLIP.
Once there I looked around and found that there is an unusual amount of support for many Linux distros form HP’s printer division. Since I quickly found my distro on the list I decided to use Add/Remove … from the Application menu to see if I could install my printer that way.
Did I mention I love Ubuntu? In 8.04 go to Applications -> Add/Remove … and in the search box enter HPLIP. You should get one result. Install the “HPLIP Toolbox” and once it is done, go to System -> Preferences -> HPLIP Toolbox.
If your system is like mine (vanilla to the core) you will have no printers installed to manage. I was asked by the Toolbox if I wanted to add a printer and I said I did by clicking the “Add device” button.
I was asked how my device was connected to my machine and I chose “Network” since that is how my printer is connected.
About 1 second later I was told my printer had been found and did I want to install that printer. I said yes and within about 1 second I was asked which driver I wanted to install. Since there was only one I chose it.
Within about 1 second my driver was installed.I was asked to set up some information for the printer (like the name, location and such as well as the fax number and fax name). I chose the defaults (because they were what I would have entered anyway) and let the setup work.
About five seconds later I was able to test print. No reboot. No 30 minute installs. Just printing. Fast.
Did I mention I love Ubuntu?
Anyhow, I hope this can help someone else who may have believed that setting up printers on Ubuntu was hard. This was painfully easy and now I am printing away like a printing machine.
Well, not really. My printer is doing that. But I am telling it to. And it is all because of Ubuntu.