[LAU] OT: Advice on Linux-compatible printers

David Kastrup dak at gnu.org
Wed Jun 23 10:58:02 CEST 2021

david <gnome at hawaii.rr.com> writes:

> Good evening!
> I have a Brother HL-L2300D. It claims to be able to do 600 or 1200dpi,
> but all attempts at printing to it using those resolutions fail (the
> printer light just blinks awhile but nothing prints). Other
> limitations of the printer: the driver is 32-bit only and doesn't work
> on my 64-bit system, even with 32-bit support installed. (Also, the
> Brother printer drivers offered for it are ancient.)
> Before this, we had a Canon photoprinter that worked fine but cost a
> fortune in ink.
> Before the Canon, we had an earlier Brother laser but it decided to
> leak toner all over the interior of the printer.
> The last working printer we had before that was an HP LJ4.
> Are there any other options that actually work with modern Linux?
> Thanks. I mostly work with scores and sorely miss being able to print
> them!

Funnily, I just yesterday bought a (preowned) HP Laserjet 2300dtn (D for
duplex, T for 500page tray, N for network).  Its interfaces are a
Centronics parallel port, a glacial USB port (USB 1.something) and an
Ethernet port.  I hooked up the Ethernet port with my Internet
modem/router.  Then I wanted to configure printing and started a print
dialog on my laptop.  The printer was already listed and worked.

Very eery.  I did install some more software (hplip) in order to get to
pick the tray from the printer settings.

When I checked the router interface (a Fritz!Box 7490) for connected
devices, the printer was listed with its (preowned) name as a hyperlink.
I clicked on it expecting to see some router info, but instead it was a
printer-internal webpage (in a quaint style, admittedly) giving access
to all of the printer's facilities.  I decided to configure a password
at least since I am not the only person using this network.

The person getting rid of the printer also dug up about 3 unused toner

The print area covers a really large ratio of the page which is kind of
relevant for score printing.  And the paper trays are closed drawers
which is kind of relevant for avoiding lint and insects making it onto
the transfer drum and causing permanent patterns.

Duplex printing is also kind of relevant for scores though I tend to not
use standard duplex for my page arrangement, more like

1-3 2-4 5-7 6-8

Which puts an odd-pages stack on the left of the music stand and an
even-pages stack on the right, giving you a whole page of music for
getting the idle stack updated while playing.

So while the exact model number is likely anecdotal (in that it makes
little sense looking for the exact same model), getting an ancient
business-class printer with a network interface might be a good and
hopefully affordable way to get fast printing, good support in
GNU/Linux, and cheap page costs.  Of course, forget about color then.
But we were talking about scores.  Also, better negotiate the footprint
with potential roomies when living in cramped quarters.

David Kastrup

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