back to article OpenPrinting keeps old printers working – even on Windows

The OpenPrinting project – together with Windows Subsystem for Linux – enables printers that Windows no longer supports to work on Windows 11. We know that some Reg readers still actually prefer Windows. Maybe it's like those hardcore users of Vi and Emacs in the 21st century: some sort of software-induced Stockholm Syndrome. …

  1. H in The Hague


    Useful info, might help me use my elderly HP A1 printer in future (currently only works with Windows 7).

    Mind you, around the time I got that (confession time: it may have had a certain 'my printer is bigger than yours' element to it) most of my customers decided to limit their technical drawings to A3 - so it hasn't had much use.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Thanks!

      Interestingly, a few months back had cause to locate an A0 flatbed scanner and discovered a local "print shop" that had behind the counter a set of large format scanners/printers/plotters (along with one of the more fancy A3/A4 MFP's). Their basic premise was that many smaller local architecture and technical drawing businesses (ie. operating out of spare rooms or small shop style offices) couldn't justify the space and expense of these devices... They were obviously doing nicely, maintaining 3 full-time staff.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Thanks!

      Sure about that?

      I recently got my 1991 HP LaserJet 4MP working with Windows 10. I had to download the driver from Microsoft's driver archives, which aren't easy to stumble across accidentally but can be located with suitable search terms. With that installed, it worked just fine in both PCL and PS mode, using a Centronics-to-USB cable I got off Amazon.

      "Not Supported" with Windows often just means the driver won't be found and downloaded automatically. But it's likely in the archives, if there ever was one for modern (XP and later) Windows.

      That said, I wouldn't discourage someone from using Liam's approach, which will likely be viable as long as the printer is still working, and may involve learning some new things in the process.

  2. b0llchit Silver badge


    It can help and can aid Windows 11 users, in particular.

    If we were really to "help and aid" those poor windows (11 or any other) users, we'd be doing it differently.

    We'd be investing heavily in therapy to reduce the unhealthy habit of windows.

    At the same time, we'd be investing in harsh therapy for the emacs users to convert them to the religion of vi.


      Re: Therapy

      Long live Nano! :)

      1. b0llchit Silver badge

        Re: Therapy

        We have Hell (emacs), Heaven (vi) and the big empty nothingness (nano).

        Choose your poison carefully.

        1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

          Re: Therapy


          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Therapy

            Honestly, while I've been using some form of vi as my programming (and HTML) editor of choice since the mid-80s, and use vim on both work and personal machines today, I wouldn't try to convince anyone to switch to it. I don't believe it's objectively better than other choices; it's just what I'm used to and matches my personal preferences. (I strongly prefer modal interfaces, and in find the anti-modal UI zealots obnoxious, since they refuse to believe everyone doesn't share their inclinations.)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Therapy

          nano. That way I don't have to deal with the Demons and Angels.

      2. jason_derp

        Re: Therapy

        Nothing wrong with nano. It's my poison of choice when I forget the name of "Tilde".

    2. BobChip

      Re: Therapy

      When I discovered, decades ago, that Win (8?) was dropping support for a Minolta film scanner AND a canon roll feed A0 printer, BUT that these still worked perfectly under Ubuntu, (don't recall which version), the drawing office "went Linux". My only real contribution to the cause. That particular therapy however has proved to be extremely (cost) effective because, even though I have been retired some 20 years or so, the drawing office is still on Linux, even though the scanners and printers have been upgraded many times.

      Interestingly, like ink in the bathtub, Linux has slowly "leaked" into a number of other departments as well.. Could be something to do with the fact that it just works, and that the bean-counters have become vaguely "cost-aware" of it. Obviously they have not the faintest clue about what it is or what it does, because they are far too busy counting beans.... using banking systems which have also been on Linux for many years, but no one has told them yet.....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

    ... and they tend to be on the expensive side - i.e. high-end photo printers.

    Maybe Windows user have a Stockholm Syndrome - or maybe just want to have work done with much tinkering - but Linux fans have always that Taliban approach ("Linux or die!!!") that irritates many users.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

      I think that depends a lot on the printer and whether the manufacturers package the drivers for high resolution nicely. As long as the printer does PCL or PS then you should be okay. But an awful lot of cheaper printers rely on things like GDI. Ghostscript and CUPS do a fine job in monochrome but are generally shit in colour, and they're a real resource hog. You can blame the manufacturers to a certain degree, but virtualising the GDI shit would get better results.

      I've currently got a Samsung MFP (HP inside) connected to my Mac that I'd like to put on a network with a spare RPi. Now, there is a Linux project for this kind of thing. Unfortunately, it's fairly x86_64 specific with support for ARMv7 missing the last time I looked and installation was the usual kind of mess on Linux. Fortunately, however, there is also a BSD package that's supposed to do the same thing and I'm going to give this a try when I have few spare hours. Even more fortunately, I only want to do this to reduce clutter.

      1. ITMA Silver badge

        Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

        "As long as the printer does PCL or PS then you should be okay."

        PS maybe, PCL definitely NOT so.

        Using (say) a PCL5 printer with any current version of Windows should be easy - but it isn't. For some reason Microsoft, who let's be honest bully hardware manufacturers to "toe the line", don't want anything lower than PCL6 to work.

        FFS WHY????

        1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

          Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

          Because Microsoft are highly tied to hardware sales. The more cynical part of me wonders whether there is a backroom deal that Windows won't support anything lower than PCL6 and in return printer manufacturers will try to lock out Linux. But another part of me says that Micros~1 would never do anything shady for which they could get into legal trouble so why am I even considering the possibility?

          1. ITMA Silver badge

            Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

            The same bullshit that means it is very hard to buy new PCs with Windows 10 or even drivers for Windows 10.

            Meanwhille the ridiculous hardware requirements for 11 are all about selling more new tin boxes and throwing out perfectly good ones for no reason other than Microsoft's shite.

        2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

          Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

          I have a Laserjet 5. It supports PCL5, but the generic HP driver for PCL5 on Windows 10 doesn't support it. It's an HP thing -- they first mcuked up the driver so it printed garbage on the old Laserjets. When people figured a way around that, they released a new version of the driver that didn't list the old Laserjets as supported. My current Win10 laptop from work won't even let me install a printer driver (corporate lockdown)

          HP doesn't want you using those old Laserjets, for whatever reason. They work fine on Linux and they work fine on Win 7. I suspect HP want to drive everyone to the new printers, which do things like reject third party refills, and "expire" cartridges that don't get enough use. The revenue stream from expendables must be enlarged at all costs!

          1. Jr4162

            Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

            Windows 10 saw my HP laserjet 2200d. Was a Microsoft labelled driver, prints perfectly even with the duplexer. Plugged it into the laptop via USB.. Was impressed.

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

            1. Because the printers still work, and there's no good reason to stop using them. My LaserJet 4M was purchased in 1991, which you may note came before 1995.

            2. Because it does still work. Get the driver from Microsoft's official driver archive site, and you're good to go.

          2. ITMA Silver badge

            Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

            So you would rather people throw out perfectly good, working printers and add to the mountain of WEE waste choking the planet. Plus further pilliage the resources of the planet for raw materials to build and sell new ones instead?

            That's the sort of attitude destroying this planet.

            PCL5 works perfectly well for the job of printing,

            Please do enlighten us as to what earth shattering developments PCL6 and beyond bring to putting marks on paper that PCL5 doesn't that the world simply cannot live without.

          3. JulieM Silver badge

            Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

            Because it always used to work, and something going from "working" to "not working" is usually considered a fault.

        4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

          Just posted this above, but you can get printer drivers for older PCL-version printers from Microsoft's driver archive site.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

        It's not only cheap printers. High-end photo printers - i..e. Canon Pixma Pro and imagePrograf PRO - rely on their drivers for a lot of specific features, and usually are not standard PCL o PS printers. For example my printer driver has controls for managing "clear coating" and to select specific inks settings for a given paper. Or perform B/W printing. And specific maintenance operations. These are essential to exploit the printer capabilities, without them you have an expensive printer that behaves like a far cheaper one.

        Many of them never bothered to make Linux drivers available, since most users are macOS or Windows ones - for obvious reasons. There are some not free third party drivers - but what features they actually support varies, and may not support everything.

        These are printers that may cost from some hundreds to some thousands (or some ten thousands...) - I'm not going to switch OS without being able to use them fully - nor I wish to spent a lot of time and money (these inks and papers are expensive too...) to try to get results I can get without much effort using macOS or Windows.

        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

          Also adding "specific color calibration / correction" to that mess as well; I spent upwards of a week trying to figure out why a specific shop's printouts were not coming out with the correct colors, and it ended up being that user A was printing direct to the printer using the 32 bit driver, and user B was going through the shared printer on the print server using the 64 bit driver, and the color profiles were just different enough to make the poor tech (me) pull their hair out.

        2. Bebu Silver badge

          Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

          Strikes me for these driver dependent feature specific printers that never had and never will have a Linux driver the reverse recipe is equally workable (LSW? :)

          viz on your Linux box install under a VM a the Windows poison of your choice that does support your printer's driver. Share the printer under Windows and install the now shared Windows printer under Linux.

          Personally I never had any need for more than black text on white A4 paper. After having to ditch a decent brother printer for the lack of a centronics port on my PC have subsequently only purchased network capable printers - currently (~5yrs)

          FujiXerox Docuprint P265dw which doesn't have a Linux driver but is actually a rebadged Brother which does have a driver. The driver is 32 bit but can be made to work on the latest Ubuntu LTS.

      3. david 12 Silver badge

        Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

        As long as the printer does PCL or PS then you should be okay.

        There seems to be a problem with PS or PS printers that representation of fine lines is poor. Even our native PS printers have problems with circuit diagrams, and the older printers that do fine with PCL have the same problem (as well as being very slow) when forced to PS mode by the lack of availability of modern PCL drivers.

      4. Timo

        Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

        I have the same issue. Brother printer, that is on my home network and old enough that it doesn't support mobile device printing. Simple enough, I thought, just get a Rpi and run CUPS. Only to figure out that the driver only exists for x86 and not ARM.

        1. JulieM Silver badge

          Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

          Can't you just rebuild the driver from Source Code on the Raspberry Pi?

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

      If I am honest I'm to lazy to be arsed, I know everything on my personal computer would probably work on Linux with little issue.

      My biggest problem is as someone who started computing on Windows 3.1, everything after Windows 2000/Red Hat Linux 3 has been a complete bore (Or I am getting to old).

    3. georgezilla Silver badge

      Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

      " ... ("Linux or die!!!") that irritates many users. ... "

      Now there you go. Trying to spoil all our fun.


  4. Luiz Abdala


    VUEscan is a neat little program where the guy collected over 6000 models of scanners, found out they run on half a dozen chips, and wrote a program that talks directly to all those pieces of hardware, just throwing a "ignore rogue driver" disclaimer when you install it on Windows.

    The fact a single program gives support to myriad of unsupported scanners in W10 is amazing.

    This looks like exactly like that program, but for printers, not just scanners.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: VUEscan

      You beat me to a reference to VueScan - I have it on my MacBook, allowing me to continue using my 10+ yo Canon scanner under Ventura. It also comes in useful when visiting somewhere and I need to use their scanner. More to the point, it's an app I can recommend to less tech-savvy users who want to use their existing scanner with a new system (albeit fewer folk nowadays have a separate scanner). Personally, I keep printer and scanner separate.

      The printer solution in the article is inventive but likely to put off most users - we need a "VuePrint" app that we can recommend to the myriad of family and friends who turn to us for support.

  5. Sandtitz Silver badge

    Slight nitpicking

    Author used old HP Laserjet's as examples of not having drivers in Windows 11 ...not exactly correct.

    LJ 4000 is PCL6/PostScript printer so you can just use the Generic PCL6 (or PS) driver that comes with Windows. HP offers their Universal PCL6/PS drivers and they contain extra HP specific settings for their printer accessories.

    LJ 5Si is a PCL5 printer so you'd need the HP Universal PCL5 driver then. Unless you had the extra deluxe PostScript SIMM kit, then you're ready to go with the generic PS driver.

    Carry on.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Slight nitpicking

      [Author here]

      I didn't use them as examples of printers that didn't have drivers. (That was the all-in-one reference, in fact.)

      I used them as examples of very old printers (circa 20-25 years old) that still work fine and which someone may wish to continue using today. The fact that the couple of stories I picked happened to be HP LaserJets is almost incidental.

      Hope that clarifies things.

      1. david 12 Silver badge

        Re: Slight nitpicking

        Author can tell Readers what was intended meaning. Readers can tell Author meaning of what was written.

        1. georgezilla Silver badge

          Re: Slight nitpicking

          " ... Readers can tell Author meaning of what was written. ... "

          That assumes that "readers" actually CAN read and comprehend what they read.

          Some times I have my doubts that they can do neither.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Slight nitpicking

            Although, to be fair, the odds are much better on this site than on many others :-)

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Re: Slight nitpicking

      Proble is that the current Windows PCL5 driver does not support the old Laserjets.

      This one, if you can get it to install, does:

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge

    In brief, how it works is this: you install WSL from the Microsoft Store, then install Ubuntu in it. [...] The new app works because WSL2 supports systemd, and Snap requires systemd.

    The aim of working round planned obsolescence is worthy, but if there is a critical mass of everything that's wrong with modern IT, then this is has probably reached it.

    Closest thing to the old man yells at cloud icon on the right.

  7. Muscleguy

    CUPS has been very useful to me keeping an old Laserwriter going. This sort of tech is very good not least because it keeps still working old tech from landfill.

  8. nematoad Silver badge

    A presumtous little offering.

    Which means that even some of the most hardcore Windows users might benefit from a taste of Ubuntu.

    How cruel!

    What have Windows users ever done to you?

    Snap and systemd, a marriage born in hell.

    1. JassMan

      Re: A presumtous little offering.

      "The OpenPrinting developers have converted all the project's old drivers into new-style Printing Applications and packaged them for the Snap store, in preparation for Canonical's planned modernization of Ubuntu's printing subsystem."

      Yep, it sounded like OpenPrinting was a great idea and a boon to all OSes, until I read the bit about Snap and its reliance on systemd.

      Hopefully someone will make a LibrePrint project to take the above drivers and make them work on all the non-Ubuntu Linuxes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SNAP

        Remember folks, SNAP is a four-letter word.

        canonical has been very good at making certain things only available as a SNAP package. I didn't like Canonical before this but this has made me really dislike them.

        To all those package maintainers out there... SNAP is not the answer to anything especially when the real answer is 42.

        I'm going to try removing SNAP from my RHEL WordPress Server once I've setup the LetsEncrypt keys. Then at least the contamination will be temporary.

  9. karlkarl Silver badge

    This solution is effectively, boot up a Linux VM (which WSL*2* effectively is) and take advantage of open-source drivers that are maintained regardless of vendor monetization potential.

    This solution has been used for decades to keep old kit ticking.

  10. fidodogbreath

    A whole fricken OS just to print

    In brief, how it works is this: you install WSL from the Microsoft Store, then install Ubuntu in it.

    And people complain about HP's huge-ass printer drivers...

    1. Luiz Abdala

      Re: A whole fricken OS just to print

      NVIDIA WHQL driver for graphics cards is clocking 800 + megabytes.

      But yeah, bloatware.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: A whole fricken OS just to print

      Came here to say the same thing. This "solution" is to install an enormously large amount of code and data, probably in the range of GB, just to make a printer work. A bit like current HP Windows drivers. Oh, you were folks! :-)

    3. crayon

      Re: A whole fricken OS just to print

      If there is enough demand, some enterprising soul could put together the minimum OS needed to operate the printer and package it into an easy to deploy "one-click" format. Yes it is still a whole fricken OS, but most probably going to be a lot smaller than an HP printer driver for Windows - last time I had to install one was back in 200X and it weighed in at not much under 500MB.

      As for security concerns about running a whole fricken OS - this is running under Windows! With appropriate settings you could have the guest OS only allow connections from the host OS (and have host share the printer - so other systems on the network need not have access to the guest), and once setup do not allow the guest access to the internet (once it's working there is no imperative to update the guest).

    4. JulieM Silver badge

      Re: A whole fricken OS just to print

      Yes, but at least in this case the bloat demonstrably includes an entire operating system as well as several Turing-complete interpretators, and all fully usable .....

  11. BPontius

    A whole O/S and a sub-system in a O/S for a legacy printer driver? Quite the opposite of secure! Security isn't the place to cut costs, by a new printer and uninstall all that!

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      But if the old printer is still working just fine or has a specific feature that the OS dropped support for? I can think of a number of specialized printers that fall under that category. (mostly plotters and other niche devices, but there's a number of old MFPs that have been reduced to print only status because their scan software isn't supported anymore...)

      And running an VM just to act as a print server isn't all that bad in the long run...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A whole O/S

      "A whole O/S..."

      No, a whole "OS" (no slash).

      It's "Operating System", not "Operating/System".

  12. Chris Evans

    For the ignorant like me: WSL = Windows Subsystem for Linux

  13. ITMA Silver badge

    "We know that some Reg readers still actually prefer Windows"

    That's rather condescending...

    I take it the author is a Luinux fanboy...

    Is it horses for courses Liam. And for many business situations Linux just doesn't cut it because of a lack of applications in very particular area which Windows does have available.

    Why do some people in IT forget that the OS is a tool to run application software. In business it is the applications that matter. If a particular OS (Linux or Windows) doesn't have the ones your business needs, then that OS is crap for your business.

    1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      Re: "We know that some Reg readers still actually prefer Windows"

      I'd assumed that the condescension was quite intentional and somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

    2. Snake Silver badge

      Re: in business it is the applications that matter.

      I'm tired of saying this, for YEARS, on this forum.

      LINUX! LINUX! LINUX! is all that's said around here. So you're sitting on a beautiful, stable desktop...with nothing else to do because that business app you needed to run...doesn't exist on Linux. So we then hear, "Run is in WINE!", because *of course* it makes sense to wipe your drive to install an unsupported OS, in order to re-install your app on said unsupported OS to run the app in a compatibility mode, and then deal with any INcompatibilities.

      Of COURSE this makes sense o_O

      Rabid. It is the only possible way to describe even the *hint* of advising such an operation.

      1. ITMA Silver badge

        Re: in business it is the applications that matter.

        Here here....

      2. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: in business it is the applications that matter.

        .. or the vendor of the application going "That is not a supported configuration" and refusing to touch it with a ten metre pole AND voiding the stupidly expensive support contract over it.

        Or the regulatory agency refusing to certify said install of application because the vendor won't touch that configuration with a 10 metre pole.

        Windows can be stable. (I hear you laughing, shut up for a minute and let me finish.)

        IF it's running on solid hardware with solid drivers, and the application is written so that it's not trying to do stupid tricks around the OS (or make the OS do stupid tricks), then... yes. I've seen multi-year uptimes on a machine running.... Windows. (We only needed to reboot it because of a very slow, very well known memory leak and the only fix for it is... rebooting the machine.)

        I've yet to see an application for the specific line of business [RedactedCo] is in written in anything other than windows for a desktop client. Server side? An older iteration of this LOB application from this vendor ran on a PowerPC server running AIX... and it was coded in BASIC.(1) And it was frankly pretty shite. Not saying the windows version of the app we migrated to was any better, but the OS really didn't contribute to the product's stability or usability- none of the problems we've had with the windows flavor of the server side app was directly attributed to the OS, the underlying hypervisor(2), or the underlying hardware.(3)

        From what I understand, another vendor in this industry use an app that runs on an AS/400 for the server side, and... windows for the client. SO... Yeah. Some of us are unfortunately stuck with windows because changing the underlying OS requires a galactic shift in how the industry writes their software, and that's not going to happen even in a couple years of dedicated, sustained effort.

        Come talk to me when all I have to do to make a windows app play nice on linux is to point the WINE configurator at the installer for it, walk away for a cup of coffee, and come back down and start the app up flawlessly without having to nursemaid it, figure out what tiny tiny library WINE forgot to install, didn't install properly, or doesn't work at all because ONE of the dependencies decided to shift it's paradigm without a clutch and no one's gotten around to fixing it after a year or two.

        1. Yeah. NOT C, or any of the other more traditional complied or scripted languages you'd find on a POSIX-compliant OS. Friggin BASIC.

        2. We had a small amount of discussion with that vendor about running the database servers in a VM for production, but when we pointed out that we were running it in the lab on a VM and it was solid, they shut up, more or less.

        3. Same with us using a storage appliance using this radical new technology called iSCSI (well, new for them, but by 2012 it was pretty well understood...) from a vendor not on their 'approved' list... And yet despite their kvetching about performance, we proved conclusively that the performance issues their product had was shite database indexing and query design, NOT the hardware.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we get the same idea in a non-systemd flavor of unix?

    And I weep for Ubuntu, as the systemd sprawl has gone metastatic, Canonical is now adding dependencies that the Systemd team did not cause themselves.

    Ubuntu is sadly the preferred 'NIX at my current gig. It was fine till we had to move off the LTS we were on.

    Between the Snap nonsense and having to hack together YAML files to manage network settings I really feel the distro is in a rudderless spin. They seem unable or afraid to make the bolder moves they used to.

    This printer thing is actually really cool work, but as implemented it's a classic hacked together mess. While that is a celebrated part of the UNIX legacy(no, not actually sarcasm there) it could have been done smaller, more portably, and probably more efficiently. The portability part is the real miss for me. A wrapper that exposed the CUPS system on any distro and under the users choice of virtualization would have probably taken a socket and a shim driver. Bonus as the CUPS service could be running of an rPi as a network socket could reach the windows box via ethernet/wifi.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Canonical is now adding dependencies that the Systemd team did not cause themselves.

      That seems to be the SOP for Canonical. They seem to have taken the old MS Extend mem to heart and are making life harder for everyone.

      I do not wish them a long and happy life.

  15. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    Resource use?

    So, eh, how much memory and disk space does this Frankenstein use? I mean, I could see using it on a network print server if a company has numerous still-functional printers with no drivers under Win10/11, but for individual desktops it seems a tad much IMVHO, other than as a novelty. The thought of having to troubleshoot this from 500 miles away to get the Father-in-Law's Brother HL720 going again is scary.

    1. ITMA Silver badge

      Re: Resource use?

      Oh no! Not the HL-720!

      Not the worst GDI printer I've ever came across (I used to own one until I could afford a PROPER printer) but still a God awful GDI printer.

      1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

        Re: Resource use?

        I bought one in the mid '90s and got decent service out of it. But it was an "upgrade" from a 24-pin Epson, so maybe my expectations were sort of low to begin with. I think the fuser finally died, and at the time, I didn't know enough about printers (or where to get component parts) to resurrect it. A friend gave me an HP 6L in ~2003 and I used that until about 5 years ago.

        The part about my FiL using it was a joke. I'd have never, ever let him near it. He's far too impatient and doesn't mind buying a new cheap laser printer every 2-3 years.

  16. Lordrobot

    My God break down and buy a new printer...

    Remember George Washington's Teeth? They were made of wood and sat in a metal-hinged spring device. Imagine trying to go through security at an airport with that in your mouth! The preoccupancy with legacy hardware, obsolete hardware, is pathologic. It is a form of crazy cat collecting. How can 34 cats be pathological? Get dental implants. Imagine sitting across from George Washington as his teeth chomp into a well-buttered ear of corn, and talking at the same time. Hope you brought a raincoat and umbrella.

    Breakdown and buy a new printer. They are not that expensive.

    1. ghp

      Re: My God break down and buy a new printer...

      They're quite expensive when compared to the price of a printer you have.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: My God break down and buy a new printer...

        The prices of printers has certainly gone up lately. But, before Covid and invasion and sanctions and inflation, anything below heavy-duty business-level printers could be gotten as cheap as dirt. When we moved offices 4 years ago we needed to reduce our office footprint so my boss suggested going from 4 printers to 2, throwing out the oldest and replacing them. I was, of course, worried about costs but he was right, printers were so well priced, why bother with dealing with an old printer? Been at that new point ever since, happily. The new printers are smaller, easier to use, smartphone printing compatible on the network without having to share through a desktop, and supplies are easy to come by.

    2. Sam Liddicott

      Re: My God break down and buy a new printer...

      we found the shareholder, with golden curly-haired children

    3. Glen 1

      Re: My God break down and buy a new printer...

      There is a cost-benefit analysis to do.

      The time it takes for your tech to get an ancient printer working with a new machine vs the cost of a new printer + consumables (+ time)

      Bog standard old mono laser? If it doesn't work after pugging it in, and it takes you longer than 10 mins to find drivers, buy a new (different) printer.

      Fancier printer with colour profiles, but standard sizes? *Maybe* buy the new printer - might be worth a few hours/days of fettling.

      Specialist monster bulk/large format printer that would cost > 2 month's salary to replace (probably a *lot* more)? You spend the time.

      If its your own time, and you view that time as free, then go ahead and knock yourself out.

      The thresholds I used above are ones I just made up, so they may be different for your circumstances.

      This development moves the thresholds for such decisions -- arguably not by much if you already do Linux printing.

  17. stungebag

    Better at supporting old stuff?

    My old Canon printer lacks drivers for every Linux distro I've tried. It won't work on my old iMac, either. There are no Windows 11 drivers. But the Windows 8 driver installs and runs just fine under Windows 11. Never solved it for Linux.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Better at supporting old stuff?

      A GDI printer perchance?

  18. matjaggard

    What a load of rubbish

    I used CUPS to get my printer working with a Raspberry PI but nothing "just worked" at all - getting QEMU to work and run the x86 printer driver on ARM was pretty easy but getting my print to go from Windows or Android to CUPS was next to impossible. Cue messages about encryption being required or the printer being offline, or just no errors at all but no print output. Only MacOS could reliably print to my CUPS server and I had to give up.

    1. JulieM Silver badge

      Re: What a load of rubbish

      Why were you trying to emulate an x86 processor on ARM instead of just, you know, re-compiling the driver?

  19. Christopher Reeve's Horse

    Never have any problems printing ever again!

    You want one simple platform agnostic ubiquitous transferrable solution that works for practically every version of every OS that has ever existed?

    Simply screenshot with a polaroid camera!

    1. Glen 1

      Re: Never have any problems printing ever again!

      ...until the film for your model of camera becomes progressively more expensive due to lack of supply...

  20. Blackjack Silver badge

    This is very useful, thank you.

  21. Sparkus

    not unlike how VueScan

    is a critical piece of software for anyone with a scanner.

    A significant side benny of VueScan is that they support just about every scanner made in the past 25 years on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Intel CPUs for everyone, add ARM for Windows and Mac.

    VueScan often delivers better support and image quality than the OEMs original software.

    No reason OpenPrinting can't take on the same 'burden' of support.

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