Thursday, November 27, 2008

HP Laserjet P1006 Horror -- Won't Print

I haven't had a printer in the house for about four years. I'm pretty much paperless, so I never need one. My gal said she needs to start doing a bunch of printing now, though, so I did what I have done for years since running Linux: I bought HP.

She runs Ubuntu, which uses HPLIP, a great system that guarantees that virtually every HP printer works with CUPS, and it includes functions like scanning for multi-function printers, too. We went down to the Hi-mart near us and looked at two models -- a laser printer and a multi-function. Both showed as supported using HPLIP. Both were relatively cheap (~130K won, or ~USD90). The laser printer should have been cheaper per page, so I asked her if she wanted copy and scanning. She decided to go with cheap. I asked for an extra cartridge, knowing the one that came with the printer would be marginally filled. It was 80K won. I changed my mind.

I left the store happy, knowing that setup would be simple. I plugged in the and it was immediately recognized and ready to print, except that it didn't actually print. It claimed to print. It just died silently. Hmmm. I tried looking over the config and looking for other possible drivers, but there was really no other choice than what I had.

Well, there's a bug. A bad one. The printer is set up, but the appropriate plug-in isn't installed. It needs to be installed using sudo aptitude install hplip-gui and running sudo hp-setup. When you add the printer this way, HPLIP knows to download the appropriated plug-in and asks for you to agree to an EULA. Then it works.

Wow. What a mess. The average user would never have gotten this far. One more "user-friendliness" strike against Ubuntu, the distro for human beings (not geeks).



You sound like your close friend LinuxHater over there..


Haha. Maybe I should start an UbuntuHater blog, eh?

Back to reality. This was not a "printing on Linux is horribly broken" post: don't take it that way. Printing using HP has been perfect ever since I started using Linux in 1997 or so. In fact, setting up my last printer (6 years ago?) on Red Hat was trivially easy.

To set up this printer, you need to download firmware (sihpP1006.img).:hplip-setup does this when you run it manually, but HAL detects the printer and should download the firmware using "getweb p1006" and place it in the firmware directory, but it doesn't. This has been a known bug since July.

Since the bug still has not been given an importance, I doubt it's going to get any love by the developers soon. I'll see if I can put together a patch even though I knew nothing about how HPLIP worked until last night.

Yes, I was frustrated, especially by the silent failure with no error. Major usability problem. There are a ton in Gnome, Debian, and Ubuntu. I try to point them out when I notice them. The usability is still WAY better than Windows, though.

no1ninja said...

Hi, thanks for sharing, I've had the same problem. I've installed hplip-gui but sudo hplip-setup can't be found.

Where am I going wrong?




Apparently I'm the one who's wrong. The command should be sudo hp-setup. Apologies. I've edited the post to correct the problem.


bless you for posting this, I had an hour into it before I found this and who knows how many more hours I would have had without this.


Sorry it took you so long to find my blog. If you need any help, I'll do what I can.


Well thank you for going through all the trouble so I don't have to. I was confused at first because I was using the printer just fine for a while over the network, but when I plugged it in through the usb port, that's when I had the problem.


Nick said...

2 days it took me to find ur blog. Just a little more and i was going mad.
10x! U r THE BEST!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the help! Worked for me.


Stumbled across this article using a web search when I was having the same problem with my P1006. I was frustrated, because I liked the printer before I wised up and ditched windows.

Your solution worked out brilliantly, and saved me a lot of trouble. It's strange--most things in Ubuntu are flawless, but every once in a while (I also had the broadcom wireless issue) something is just overlooked.


I have tried your method and I'm still having trouble, any ideas, my printer randomly prints sometimes and sometimes it does not, maybe i need to delete whatever I have installed


This took some time to accomplish, but it is working now.


Thanks from Hong Kong, chaps. My HP also dead after installing 11.04, these instructions worked fine. Though had to install a "HP QT" first before it would work properly.


I used successfully your article, but then it had a paper jam and after that it never printed again.
Any idea of a workaround?


Your post is fantastic - thank you! And thanks to google, I found it straight away so I was frustrated only for 10 seconds. Hurrah. I'm a happy ubuntu bunny. Thank you! (To make the post even reassuring and detailed for novices, you could include a tip on what the user should do when they run the second command and encounter a little dialog box thingy - I told it to "contact HP over the internet for the required patch", and that worked.)



This post is three years / six versions out of date. I've since installed similar printers and not had this problem, but you're lucky it worked at all.

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