Or little computing tricks and hacks
For the first time we have a printer at home in our local wifi network. Well at first, it was connected with a cable directly to one computer, and everything else was done using USB keys. So passé.
So to use this printer/scanner to its full extend and what seems seamlessly when there is good infrastructure in place, a few steps were needed.
The first priority was to print from the Ubuntu laptops. JP was printing directly so I wanted to install a network printer. I tried the good old method of the network printer using CUPS and it worked but couldn’t not find the right driver, just close enough.
Then while reading the various forums, it was advised to install the HPLIP package, which is straightforward in ubuntu. It is available in your Ubuntu Software Center or Synaptic Package Manager. Also, given that our network is a wifi network, the printer needed its own IP address as to be seen by the computers. Using the printer’s screen, that was easy: just follow the options for wireless. With my HP LarserJet 200 colorMFP M276nw, that was straight-forward. Having done all that, “adding the printer” using the standard method, found the printer in the network and because HPLIP is installed, found the exact driver.
Also with HPLIP, I was also able to use scanning software, which would detect the printer and scan either by commanding from the printer or from the computer. Neat! I installed “Simple Scan” and “Xsane”. The first is quite simple to use, the second has more options. I have not decided which one I prefer.
But there is an option in the printer, to scan to a shared folder and this is the one which took me a while to use, despite the help I got from the internet searches.
First you invoke a browser with the printer’s IP: https://ip.address.
This will show you the status of the printer. Press on the Scan tab and there you will be able to add a new shared folder. As the note says, the folder must already exists, and be a shared folder.
For this, you need to have Samba installed, otherwise, you cannot share the folder. Again I used synaptic to install the package called “samba”. Remember that in synaptic (and I guess Ubuntu software center too) any other needed dependencies are installed as well. I also “smbclient” but I don’t think it is needed for this. Then using the nautilus file manager, I clicked on properties for the desired folder (I used ~/Scans, very original!) which gave me three tabs: basic, permission, share. Clicking on share, presents an option for sharing. If you have not install samba, the file manager asks you if you want to install the sharing software to be able to share. You can do that too.
Once you have this shared folder, you can add the folder in the Scan tab of the printer page. You have to give it a name, which is the name seen, and displayed in the printer when you choose “Scan to file”. The network path is literally as follows: \\ip.address.of.computer\name_shared_folder. There are some more options but all of them and other can be manipulated directly from the printer.
I read people had trouble with this path. My trouble was the folder was not shared with samba. Once I set it up, it was found by HPLIP software. I did not use a path for the folder, just a name.
As a curious note, I also install the equivalent of HPLIP is my android phone and I can print PDF’s and images directly from my phone! I don’t think I tried the fedora in my daughter’s eeepc. They are getting old and slow.