We recently began looking for a replacement to our Epson photo printer. We like to print out photos at home, and purchased an Epson photo printer a few years ago. Of course, that was when we used Windows XP at home. We paid about $350.00 for it, and it did print professional quality photos. Like all home photo printers, they faded eventually, especially if light shone on them, but they did what we needed them too. Like many folks, we began purchasing the cheaper, generic ink, and at first, we still continued to find high quality in the prints. Then we switched to Linux. Whether that is the only reason or not, quality suffered. Even printing from a MacBook Pro produced poor quality prints, and we stopped using the Epson, especially after purchasing the Brother laser (which works WONDERFULLY with Ubuntu!).
Recently, when we discovered we no longer send many photos to Snapfish, Wal*Mart, or other printers, we decided we needed to begin printing at home again. It really is convenient when we can print a photo right away for a card, letter, or some other purpose. My wife and I decided that a new photo printer would be our Christmas present to each other. All that remained was finding one that would work under Linux. I heard that HP supported printing under Linux, so I decided to start there.
Well, how surprised and happy to find the logo to the left on HPs website. Ok, granted, this was not HP’s main website, but even the fact they had a subpage devoted to open source and Linux printing excited me. From here, I could choose laser, printers, and photo printers. Clicking photo printer took me to HP’s HPLIP (HP Linux Imaging and Printing) page. This download supports over 1,000 printers for HP. Wow! Even better, most distros ship with HPLIP installed. Yes, even my Ubuntu 9.10, Karmic. Next step, I needed to find a supported printer. I used the drop down menus, found some of the models I found on Amazon, and each page gave me information on what features were supported. I finally chose the Photosmart C4780 all in one printer. Except for the wireless printing, everything else was supported. Because I only used one computer, the desktop, for photo organization, wireless was unnecessary for me. What amazed me though, was the high quality of photos I could print from F-Spot. We began printing a large number of photos, all at the high quality levels we received from the old Epson. Plus, we could use XSane for scanning. Yes, we can scan under Ubuntu! And we can also copy! All in all, we were quite impressed with HP and their Linux support. When needing another printer in the future, I know we’ll go back to HP!