February 17, 2007
How to set up a HP multi-function printer in Ubuntu

I've received a number of emails asking about my success with setting up the HP PhotoSmart 2575 in Ubuntu linux. To be honest, it wasn't completely intuitive (hence my inspiration to write up a summary for others here):

The default way of adding any brand of printer in Ubuntu is very straightforward: open up the printers folder and click 'New Printer':

Ubuntu Printers dialogue

What to chose next in this dialogue is non-intuitive for average Ubuntu user, but if your printer is hooked up by USB, it is at least (normally) auto-detected:

Ubuntu Add printers dialogue

By plugging the printer into USB I managed without problem to get printing working, but I didn't get any scanning: XSane gave error messages and despite the printer looking ok in the Printers dialogue, I found no options for enabling the scanning functions. A temporary hack for scanning was to hook the scanner up to the network, look up the IP address (it can be read out on the printer's config screen) and access http://{printer's ip}/ - each networked HP printer is infact also a mini web-server, offering info, config, scanning etc.

After upgrating to Ubuntu 7.04 (nicknamed 'Feisty Fawn'), I discovered that a new 'Control Centre' has been implemented - a sure winner for converting current users of Windows.

Ubuntu 7.04 implements a 'Control Centre'

On the bottom, I spotted this tidbit:

Ubuntu 7.04 Control Centre (click to zoom)

Clicking it opens a HP control panel:

HPLIP Linux printing configuration

Clicking on add new device detects and correctly installs the printing, scanning and memory card reading options correctly - even when the device is on the network (not on USB). Lovely. Now all of a sudden XSane scanning works etc.

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