View Full Version : [ubuntu] Getting Acess to Printer

June 30th, 2016, 06:47 AM
I am running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on several PCs. But I am not using Unity/Dash as my primary Interface/file manager. Instead, I installed gnome-session-flashback, and that adds 2 more interfaces and uses Nautilus as the file manager. You get Compiz and Metacity as alternative interfaces, and can make a choice of the 3 for up to 2 users on the login screen.

I prefer Metacity over the several interfaces I've tried. It is very straightforwards witj 2 panrls. the default number, with one on the top of the screen and the other on the lower. By default, both panels are fixed and always visible, but this can be changed by each user.

I,ve tried to get this matter resolved in all three interfaces, but the solution eludes me. I attached an Epson Expression XP-320 multifunction printer (+ scanner = offline copier as well, and added the deb files you can find behind the scenes at Epson.com that provides the Linux software that can drive 491 Epson printer/multifunction models and series devices. One set of software for all that equipment. And it works, to a point. Under System > System Settings > Printers, I was able to Add the printer, and not only was it recognized as an Epson XP-320 Series. but I can print a test page correctly. It can also make other settings as well, and reports the device does not do a few things, like report low ink levels. So far so good.

But then the problem: Recognizing the multifunction in software. The printer troublrshooter says I may want to share it, but there is no server set up to do it. And it also says under System > Administration > there should be print settings, but that is not an opion in my setup. I have no print settings available.

Most people use cups it seems, which I have installed, but I don't know how to configure it or make it work. The Epson site says it follows Linux Standard Base (lbs), which is in the repositories and now installed, but the man and info file contens are very short, no instructions, and some links either broken or forwarded to linuxfoundation.org. Info did say it is a runtime and linusfoundatiom.org has apparently had several facelifts in the lapsed time, as nothing going in relates, not really.

using google and site:linuxfoundation.org, I got under the cover and found out more about lsb 5.0 coming out in 2015, but all references to it in a general search seem to have been made in 2009/2010. In othrt words, there is still interest in doing it, but it is not main stream. Seeing how hard it is getting documrntation on it, that is not surprising.

Linux Standard Base is the idea that there should be an add-in for all Linux distros that would let them run any package that met the lsb standard. It is sort of like the ideac of a java runtime, making the software independent of the hardware, drivers, and operating system. Epson has printer software for its machines that is written to meet this standard, but that could be an old standard. There is no way to really tell.

Legacy hardware and software eventually go away. You can get around this if you know what you are doing. Old cars can appear to be made new again, and this is a big hobby and industry. You can write an emulator that takes old coded instructions for an Atari and perform the same equivalent actions on a totally different programmable device, like a PC, which is faster and more powerful, and relive that experience.

But compared to modern games and computer uses, the Atari games and machines were really limited. and the need or desire to do this goes away with time. Linux does this now in each distribution by abandoning what is outdated in favor of what is newer and better. The LTS releases of Ubuntu mean several years of continues support, but even then changes come almost weekly.

What I mean ro say is that apparently Epson was able to work out all the quirks of designing printer and scanner hardware and mating it to driver software for those devices. I counted 491 machines this software works with. And the printer got added and tested without problems. So it iks quite possible that cups or iscan/xsane should be able to treat it as a similar device from Epson. But how do I engage and make use of cups and iscan and/or xsane for this purpose?

June 30th, 2016, 09:36 PM
I tried to join the LSB discussion at LinuxFoundation.org to get some answers, and me email bot blocked at the other end. I think that pretty much says that LSB is a dead topic now. Pity. It was a good idea that software could work on any Linux platform rather than specific ones, but I have never heard of it before, and they haven't ever made details of its use available to the public as to where to get it, how to use it, or how to package your own software to work with it. You don't make an effort to get the user involved, you are going nowhere. I guess they found that out the hard way.

But that gets me back to asking why I don't have print settings in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS -- no wait. This pc is running 14.04 LTS, my backup for when I have real problems with what I had in place. Maybe 16.04 LTS will do the trick. Now I just have to figure out how to get that running on this machine without corrupting my hard drive more. Drat! Life does not simplify sometimes, but gets more twisted as you try to go forward.

But I'm nearing the stage of getting something done, I hope. Meanwhile I know there has to be a way to get all Epson printers and multifunction devices to work under Linux. They proved it themselves, which makes it just a software issue. They even provide source code of how they did it, and what it takes to make it work. I'm just not sharp enough or trained in the right disciplines to get it together.

If Epson could ever be persuaded to support Linux "Officially", they have the means to get it done right away. Most people that know Linux make it a point to buy what they know worked for others, and this is most apparent when selecting a printer, scanner, or multifunction device. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS even shipped with a packaged pre-installed for reactivation the HP Laser Jet 1018/1020 after reloading the paper. And HP is big on providing drivers for Linux. But it always gets down to the matter of it being a hardware and/or software matter, and the hardware for the Epson devices are designed to work with PCs, which like I said, makes it just a software issue.

The cost order for printers generally runs in this fashion pretty much, from cheapest to most expensive when you consider the initial cost of the printer and the later ink replacement prices. The most expensive is on top:


Not counted are Lexmark, Kodak, Seiko, Avery, Lantronix, Staples, Panasonic, Toshiba,
Panasonic, Hewlett Packard, Xerox, Kyocera, Toshiba, Samsung, and many others.

Dell is only mentioned as one to shy away from. It gets low marks and is costly. HP and Canon both rate high in consumer satisfaction, but HP is more expensive. Canon, Brother, and Epson vie with each other for the least costly spot with special sales, and Brother holds the middle ground when it comes to initial cost, but fares better when it comes to replacement ink costs. Lazer printers are not considered as they are far more expensive than inkjets are, but the printouts are water-resistant and last a whole lot longer, as they are plastice bonded to paper rather than water-based inks that bleed in over time.

Why just these 4 brands? It's market saturation. You find these 4 brands a log, from Walmart to Office Depot, Staples, and Sears. Not all the same models of course, but you likely will find these brands nearby. You get the impression they will be around for a long time to come, and you can get service and support when you need it.

Having multiple models is not the same as having any real differences in the guts of the machine, and much of the software and even the ink and toner cartridges may work with different models. Like buying a car with a different exterior and interior, the engine, transmission, and drive train may be pretty much the same from one year to the next, and may even be used in other lines and models.

If you saw a YuckyPu printer on sale and it looked like a great buy, should you buy it? But you never heard of YuckyPu before, and nobody knows anything about it. Now should you buy it? You check on-line and can find no mention of replacement inks for the YuckyPu brand at all, and find out you have to order it from YuckyPu in Puerto Rica and have it shipped to you, and they don't even give you a toll-free number to call or offer you a web site to visit, and there is no answer when you call the number in the user manual. Now you wished you had not bought it, right? That is what could happen if you go off brand and deal with a startup, not a proven market player. A market player builds up history, and you can find out from others if their products are any good or not, or if they stand behind what they sell. And just because that company is good at one thing does not mean it is equally good at something different.

HP makes good printers and desktops. I would not give you 3 cents for their ENVY 17" K073ca laptop, and would suspect its whole laptop line could be almost as bad, because laptops are of a class in and of themselves and share many features, including a design team that has its priorities and goals that are way out of line with customer needs and expectations. Make it look good and imposing was the K073ca's design goal if you've seen what I've had to deal with, and it does not matter if it is built to last or works as it should. Mine lasted 41 days, so that was money wasted. And it was a pain to work with in many respects, as it's layout was all wrong, from ports to keyboard to touchpad. And my experience with laptop touchscreens now is this: Don't bother getting one. It's too crude, imprecise, hides what you are trying to pinpoint by covering the area with a finger or broad stylus, and if you get a fine tip stylus, you hand and arm will become fatigues as you try to hold position while you press a button with the other hand. And moving a finger on the screen will smudge it, whereas using a stylus will wear at it and mar the plastic surface.

Touchscreens are fine for hand-helds, but totally inappropriate for large screens where you want higher resolutions and more precision.

Oh, and the touchpad below the spacebar on a keyboard is a dumb idea. Ithat is your palm rest area, essential to many typists for keeping the hands at the right point when going for the next key. You don't watch the keyboard as you type, unless you have no choice. The K073ca had a widely-spaced "island" style keyboard that was like having to get up and change TV channels on foot when a remote is not available, or going outside and walking around the house and in through another door to enter another room that is just through that doorway on your left, or right, or before you, or behind. For all that added, useless spacing, they sacrificed three keys on the right side: The second Alt, Ctrl, and the Menu keys. And the arrow keys were made fingertip wide in an effort to squeeze them in into a spot not bigger than 2 keys together. Totally moronic.

I assured HP that I would make it known how screwed up they got in that area whenever I had a chance. Like I said, its printers are top rated, but do cost you money to own and use. If you are a business or someone concerned with having quality prints over time, go laser and use toner. Otherwise, inkjets are much cheeper and last a good while - if they don't get wet.

Consumer Reports does an extensive breakdown on computer printers and such. But you have to subscribe to see the results. I trust their judgement and efforts, but I sm not interested in getting more junk mail, and if you are not in a buying state of mind, you don't need a lot of "buy this" and "best buy" stuff coming your way. I am only interested in knowing when I am at the point of deciding to get something that I want or need.

Last night, on impulse, I decided I wanted an internet switch. A physical switch to disconnect my eithernet cable from the modem to the router that I could use to keep the world at bay when I was not on the internet. I can unplug the cable by hand of course, but that is not really convenient, as the cable runs behind both the modem and the router. I turned the router around to put the cables and lights in front, The cables are awkward that way, but I could more easily disconnect it. The lights are normally hidden, and I thought a better design would to be to put them on the front side, or even on top so that they can be seen from either side. I also flipped the router over on its back, which puts the airholes for letting heat out on top. As heat rises, this should make it cooler to run, which might make it last longer. I began to wonder what makes some people think they are designers when they don't think to do such obvious things.

I found a switch that would work on Amazon.com for just under $10. Not bad, but could I do better? Yes I could. I found a 2-port switcher that can do the same thing, but involving 2 runs, not 1, and it only cost $6.03. It was advertised as costing as little as $1.50, but I changed my selection from just price to price+shipping+tax, and the $1.50 seller slid to near the end of the list when pricing from lowest to highest. $6.03 was the best price from several sellers, and the reviews were good, so I ordered one. You need 2 more cat5 cables as well, but I have those in spades.

Thesecond line will add a feature I had not initially considered: A second line cut-off. I can wire my wife's PC through that, and when she is not on-line, just cut off her PC to the internet. She's extremely vulnerable to being hacked because she insists on sticking with Win7, although it has been provent to me that it is extremely vulnerable to outside attacks. But if I keep her PC off the internet except on occasions of her using it for email or Facebook, then she will be less vulnerable in general by making her totally protected most of the time. She just has to learn to contact me on the intercom when she wants internet access or to be disconnected when she is not on-line.

Made me think that a good idea would be a computer-controlled switch for internet connections would be a great idea. You have a program that only opens up the internet when needed, like for getting new email messages, checking for updates, sopening a new tab in a browser, reloading a tab, and that as soon as the info is brought in, you shut down again. Trouble is, a physical disconnect causes problems in terms of modem and router activities. You will likely need a reset of both to get it all back up, which takes time. You really need a smart cutoff, where either software or a combo of software and hardware make the internet at the modem or router level seem to vanish or go off-line until you want them, then recover in an instant to make the PC on-line again on the fly. And it has to be smart enough to allow sharing on the back end so that you can still have your workgroup together and able to share things. I think it might be a rethink of the modem or router software and how visible you are to the rest of the world some, all, or most of the time. That USB port that many routers and modems now sport could have a new role, that od allowing a hard drive to be used to house traffic bound your way which software on the PC can access and review when it suits you, and you decide what to keep or throw away according to your rules and when it becomes a matter of concern to you.

A usb port is both a hardware and a software standard. its purpose and use is determined by appication software. With the right application, you can make use of a webcam, multi-function device, HDD, stick, keyboard, mouse, trackball, or even a computer as a terminal to talk to the modem or router. You can even have computers going peer-to peer, or P2P. You can add wireless or wired internet connectivity to a PC that cannot do it any other way, as maybe the network card got fried by a close lightning strike. With the right adapter, a single USB port can support both a keyboard and a mouse at once. You have 127 possible addresses that can be used with USB, but they have to share bandwidth, so it is not a giveaway. The more devices, the slower it can go overall. And with many devices, you need self-powered devices or powered hubs to handle the power load. If you go with hubs, get USB 3.0 rather than 2.0, Costs a bit more, but it employs a better protocol process and can give you more speed in the right combination with other 3.0 devices.

Many multifunction devices like the XP-320 give you 2 moded of connectivity: Wireless and wired via the USB port. The wireless has to be protected by password and encryption, and can still be penetrated over time and with enough effort and knowledge applied. Wired is a different story. Its like the difference between hearing and seeing. Hearing, like wireless, surrounds you. You make directional interpretations by how you two hears interpret the vibrations placed upon them. But you can hear in every direction about equally well and all at the same time. With the eye, you have vision that is directional and confined to the area in view. Turn your head, move your eyes, and your field of vision changes. You can miss something critical if not looking in the right direction at the right time. Drivers, focused on a keypad and small screen, may miss seeing the turn ahead or the child crossing the street in front of them. Without hearing, they will miss hearing the loud sounds of emergency vehicles rushing into the intersection ahead of them or coming up from behind.

In other words, sight and sound go hand in hand. We need them both. Without sight, we can manage to a degree by substitution, where memory, touch, smell, sense of balance, and sound tell us enough to do a lot on our own. But without sound, you are truly isolated, as you are not party to what is going on around you, not involved, not learning from what others say and relate, and depend on CC on the boob tube to understand what you see there. People have to write things down for you, even using hand gestures and mouthings of words to convey their thoughts and feelings, and if you try to reply, you cannot judge if your words sound right or if they can be heard above the other sounds present. If it is just you and no one else ever, then sight would be most important, as long as there is no threat of attack that could come from any side. If it is in the context of their being others, than hearing is liely to be more important, because you can understand what you can hear better than what you can see sometimes. If you see two people at some distance talking and gesturing and looking in your direction, you might tend to believe it is about you. If you stood closer and heard their words, you might know it is about a team meet and party planned for the weekend for kids in a summer soccer camp that would be happening on the grounds behind you. Words can tell a story, whereas vision only conveys images. Thise images can amount to a story if viewed over time, but it may take words, either spoken or in writing, to give meaning to what you see.

Printers are important, because it makes a lasting record of both images and words reduced to graphical symbols. Music can also be reduced to paper form, but loses a lot in the transition. How did a certain song really sound if sung by someone now dead if we only have the written version? Every conductor and every musician makes a new rendering of music when they play, and it is not always the same. An old song may be revived when sung by a new singer. We use barcodes on paper or plastic to talk to computers when we go through a checkout. We can edit text on a computer and print multiple copies of what we wrote or gained from other sources, and those printings can last months or years, and you need no special equipment or software to be able to make use of what is printed out.

Legal contracts are put on paper and signed because cloning what is on paper is not entirely feasible, and having a signature and fingerprints present, or even saliva or sweat or skin oils, does not clone over.

Anything merely filmed or recorded magnetically can be cloned easily. The validity of photographis as evidence is losing ground because we have software that can make change to any recording once it is imaged, and the results can appear to be genuine.
copiers have been used to instantly counterfeit real money, and as copier technology get better, it is less about the image seen and more about the paper or what is in the paper and the ink used than just the appearance, which is easily mimiced.

Aside from your hard drive and its contents, the printer is possibly the most important device you own, outside of something to make use of it with. You can use mobile devices with a printer and a hard drive if they communicate wirelessly, by usb, or possibly even using bluetooth.

You can take paper, presumedly a printout, with you and go through security with it, mail it, have it copied, or whatever and no questions asked. A drive or a hand-held is less fluid in this regard, though it adds vast storage capacity to the equation and ease of reuse of information, which paper lacks.

Having been without a printer for a good while, I know what value they have. You can do without a scanner (and thus a copier) aspect, but the means of getting thigs to paper form are pretty specific to the roll of printer and copier. The copier less so for the individual, because you can just print multiple copies at once. For permanence, I can take an inked copy to a copier machine and have more durable copies made from it.

I am so close with the XP-320, but have not cleared the final fence. I just need a bit of help to get over the top.