Give Your Networked HP Printers HPLIP - Page 2

 By Carla Schroder
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HPLIP Toolbox

HPLIP comes with a great little control panel, the HP Device Manager. You will either find a nice menu icon in your start menu, or start it up with the hp-toolbox command. Here are screenshots of it in action. Your own Device Manager will only display functions that your printer or multifunction machine support. Most functions, such as sending faxes, printing documents, and scanning are done from other applications, such as word processors, scanner software like Kooka or Xsane, and image editors. But you can also use the Device Manager to do these things. You should take a cruise through it to make sure things are set up the way you want. For example, you'll need to set up your fax banner, and you can create a fax address book. (There doesn't seem to be a way to use an external directory, such as an LDAP directory, for this.)

The Supplies tab is a lovely thing to those of use who have suffered for years trying to get this feature to work–a graphic showing your ink or toner levels. You younguns have no idea of how we have suffered. (Uphill, both ways in the snow. Barefoot.)

The Configure -> Settings menu lets you choose the default scanning device and have problem reports emailed to you. By default it does not poll your system to discover printers, so you can set it to do this at scheduled intervals.

The first time you start up the Device Manager you should start it from terminal so you can see any error messages. A common one is warning: Coverpages disabled. Reportlab not installed. This means you need to install the python-reportlab package. If you don't have this, you won't have fax cover pages.

The Device menu is for finding and installing new printers. It's a nice change of pace from CUPS; I like CUPS a lot, but the Web interface is still clunky.

Network Scanning

The Device Manager does not include any nice easy way to configure network scanning, which is a shame because it's a pain to set up manually. One way to run scans over the network is using good old X over ssh. Just log into the PC that the scanner is connected to:

$ ssh -Y user@scannerpc

Then run the hp-toolbox command and click the Scan button. Remember that you're running these commands on the remote PC.

There is a more complex way that requires using xinetd, which we'll get to next week. We'll also look at using HP's Jet Direct for direct network printing.


Editor's Note: This article incorrectly stated that HP Device Manager only works on locally-connected printers. That is not the case. We regret the error.

This article was originally published on Aug 6, 2007
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