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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Mon, 10 Jun 2013

Configuring Fedora 18 to print to HP LaserJet 1020 is a pain in the ass

It didn't take me days to figure it out, but getting this Fedora 18 system to recognize and actually print on my el-cheapo HP LaserJet 1020 should have been a whole lot easier than it turned out to be.

The system "recognized" the printer as soon as I plugged it in. I already had the hplip package installed, which I thought would help. Drivers were installed for me.

But as soon as I tried to print, nothing happened.

I did what I usually do in such situations: Forget about the system's printing GUIs and go directly to the CUPS printing system in the web browser via http://localhost:631.

That yielded this useful bit of information:

HP LaserJet 1020, hpcups 3.13.3, requires proprietary plugin

Hmm. The words "proprietary plugin" and "Fedora" don't usually go so well together.

Where would I find this plugin?

Luckily that was a question for the ages.

I tried to run the hp-setup utility as root. It told me I needed hplip-gui. So hplip-gui I installed.

I could run hplip-gui from the menu (Administration -- HP Device Manager in the Xfce menu, to be exact).

That took me through the steps of actually getting the required driver for the HP LaserJet 1020, which included agreeing to a EULA. I was printing within minutes.

That's a win, but not having an HP printer work out of the box in a distro -- Even if it is the non-newbie-friendly Fedora -- is no win at all.

What's funny about this is that I was able to install other HP printers over the network without all of this fuss.

The takeaway: Just because your device is from HP, don't think it'll be configured seamlessly in Fedora. Install and use hplip-gui for best results.