I am Linux in a Microsoft world.
January 21, 2011 1:03 PM   Subscribe

I am an Ubuntu newbie in a mixed environment. I need to print from Ubuntu 10.10 to a Dell 1700 printer attached to an XP Pro PC. I've read reams of tips, tricks, forums, Google searches & past AskMes. I consider myself of above average user intelligence. Am I educated stupid?

I run a Neighborhood Networks computer lab with mostly old PCs--2.2GHz, 512Mb Ram, 30 to 80 Gb HDD, XP PRO SP3 is a typical set up. I've got two desktops running Ubuntu, which I just upgraded (no compelling reason) to Ubuntu 10.10. (Btw, the following problem preceded the Ubuntu upgrade.)

If it were up to me, I'd run the whole lab Linux and take my lumps on the learning curve. But it's not up to me, and the folks making the decision are scared of anything newer than XP. We have a Dell 1700 USB printer and several HP 5400 inkjets available.

The network could be set up as a domain (it isn't now), and all machines are connected through a network switch to a Linksys router that shares the downstream of the overall company's T1 line.

I love the ease & speed & stability of the Ubuntus. The only issue that dogs me is printing--whether the printer is attached locally or through the Windows network. I am generally familiar with Samba. Printing has always worked on the XPs and never on the Ubuntus. And the Ubuntu won't talk to the XP (for printing) and vice-versa.

I have tried everything suggested to me by googling & heavy Linux lifting. I MUST be missing something. Can it be done? Can mixed marriages really work?
posted by beelzbubba to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have a HP Printer having off an Ubuntu box in my house, and both a Win 7 machine and a Vista machine can print to it. Before I upgraded last year, XP could print to it to. Actually, I always found getting XP to play nice with Linux was easier - less built in security to screw up printer sharing.

The HPs you should absolutely be able to print to from anything. The Dell could be a driver issue, they are less Linux friendly than HP (generally speaking).

I assume everything is in the same Workgroup? That has screwed me up in the past when playing in a mixed environment. Also, are you 100% sure there isn't a software firewall on the printer machines blocking access? I assume you have pinged around the network to confirm that the machines are indeed connected to each other?
posted by COD at 1:29 PM on January 21, 2011

Perhaps attach the printer to the Ubuntu box and make it be the print server? It seems a wiser solution than to have XP Pro try and do it.
posted by dougrayrankin at 1:29 PM on January 21, 2011

+1 on serving the printer from Ubuntu - this has IIRC always worked. Serving the printer to macs, Windows XP, Windows 7 has worked.
posted by krilli at 2:05 PM on January 21, 2011

Best answer: When troubleshooting issues like this, start simply.

1. Does Ping work ? Backwards and forwards ?
2. Does file sharing work
3. Are firewalls on - disable them and try
4. Can you use a generic print driver ?

That sort of thing. What will help you find a solution is identify what the problem is and what it is not.

As a generality, there is no reason Ubuntu should have a problem with printing to that printer, so it should be a solvable problem if you keep at it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:30 PM on January 21, 2011

Response by poster: quick note just to say that I won't be able to test any of the proposed helps until Monday. So far though,

1 Every computer is in the same workgroup.
2 Physical layout of the lab makes it hard but not impossible to put Dell printer on Ubuntu box (some jackass thought that built-in cabinets would somehow be a benefit)
3 HP Printer that is now on one of the Ubuntus won't even print from that computer, but the printer itself will print if attached to another windows box.
4 I have some book learnin' to do this weekend before I can answer the ping question. I know how to ping an external IP, not so sure how to do it on a dynamic DHCP network. I do know how to make them all static if I need to.

I'll be working on this on Monday and Tuesday next week. Thanks so far for all suggestions.
posted by beelzbubba at 2:39 PM on January 21, 2011

I know how to ping an external IP, not so sure how to do it on a dynamic DHCP network.

Your Linksys router should be able to give you a DHCP table from a webpage at Then you just ping the local IP addresses.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:27 AM on January 22, 2011

here is a discussion thread for getting the dell 1700 to work with ubuntu.

i've had good luck sharing printers using samba, nthing hooking the printer up to your ubuntu box.
posted by ennui.bz at 7:56 AM on January 22, 2011

Response by poster: Pogo_Fuzzybutt"s answer started me on the path to redemption. I eventually found what I needed at—of all places—Microsoft knowledge base (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/324078).
Together, they provided what I needed.

I follwed the instructions on the MS kb article, adding the Unix print services and installing the printer on the host as an LPD PCL6 generic printer. This did not fully complete the process. After trying the variables one-by-one, I found that I had to also turn off the local Windows firewall--even though the echo (ping) services were enabled and permitted through the firewall.

Once I did that, the flood of test pages I had queued came flying through.
posted by beelzbubba at 12:34 PM on January 24, 2011

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