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Monday, August 23, 2010

HP Printer Support in LINUX

Last week I got around to fixing my printer issues on my Fedora box. As mentioned in a recent post, I had problems getting the HP printing software installed and working. As I also mentioned in a recent post, before trying to install applications or plugins, one should first apply ALL available and relevant system updates. Waiting until later to do this cost me much time and aggravation. There were updates to the CUPS printing software and other parts that were needed for the Laserjet printer or Open Office to install successfully. Once those updates were in place, I was able to quickly install the HP printing software and Open Office and get on with life.

Herein I will detail how I got printing enabled on my LINUX system, including hard-to-find but critical information on getting it to work on Fedora SE LINUX.

For those of us who own HP printers, there is a third party application called "HPLIP". This stands for "HP LINUX Imaging and Printing" and allows support for both printing and scanning. The following link will take you to the page where you may download HPLIP and also verify that your printer is supported:

The download link will take you to another page where you will select your LINUX distribution and version, the printer type and model. Once you do this you will be given the correct version for your setup.

The following link tells you in excellent detail through words and screenshots how to run the HPLIP installer and what you will see on your screen at each step.

BEFORE Installation:
BEFORE installing HPLIP, make sure your printer is DISCONNECTED from the computer!! The installer will prompt you when to connect the printer.
You need to be connected to the Internet during the entire installation, as your system will likely need to download other stuff to resolve dependencies. You will run the installer from the command line as detailed in the installation instructions.

Since the install instructions page shows a Ubuntu installation, things should proceed as in the pictures.

Installing on SE LINUX:
Fedora is quite similar to a Ubuntu installation EXCEPT you FIRST must disable the "SE" or "security enhanced" functionality in order to carry out the installation. [Your system will give you a message on the command line to this effect - this is NOT detailed in the step-by-step procedure shown in the above link]

Do the following:
1) Select the "SYSTEM" menu at the upper left-hand corner of your screen.
2) Select "Administration" ,
3) Choose "SE LINUX Management" from the drop-down menu that appears. You will be prompted for the root, or superuser password.
4) A window entitled "SE LINUX Administration" will appear within a few seconds.
Under "Status", you will see "system Default Enforcing mode", "Current Enforcing mode", and "system Default Policy type". Under "Current Enforcing Mode", select "Permissive".
5) Under "File" menu, select "quit" to log out of "SE LINUX Administration".

Once this is done, follow the instructions at the link above. The installer should do its thing.

Completing the Installation:
You should notice a blue "HP" logo in the upper right-hand portion of your screen.

You MAY be prompted to reboot or log out, then log back in.
If that is the case, you will need to run a "hp-setup" command from the command line to finish the installation. If you are running Fedora, you may need to disable SE functionality again as you did above. At this point, a dialog window will appear. This is the configuration window for setting up your printer. You will see a form to enter the printer name, description, and location [office, lab, ...]. Your system will search for a driver and should automatically download what it needs.

Select the "Print Test Page" button - if all has gone right you should be rewarded with a printout of the HPLIP test page.

IMPORTANT Fedora SE LINUX settings for Printing
After installing HPLIP, you should go back into the "SE LINUX Administration" menu and reset the "Current Enforcing Mode" to "Enforcing". Failure to do this will leave your system vulnerable to attacks!

In order to keep SE LINUX's "Current Enforcing Mode" set to "Enforcing" and STILL BE ABLE TO PRINT, do the following:
1) In the "SE LINUX Administration" menu, select "Process Domain"
2) Find "cupsd", cupsd_lpd", and "cups_pdf" - mark those "permissive" by clicking on each one and selecting the yellow "permissive" triangle symbol right above the list.
3) Click on the "file" menu, slect "close" so that the settings are saved and you are logged out of the "SE LINUX Management" menu.
4) Open a text file on your system and try printing it - it should print now even with "Current Enforcing Mode" set to "Enforcing".

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