Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Colour network laser printing with the HP CP1025nw in Fedora 15

First, just a quick announcement. I will be expanding the focus of this blog to include personal reflections from my daily life and interactions with others. I think it would be healthier for my personal development to have a chance to organize thoughts and to have a conversation with others about it. Don't worry, I'll still keep linking to pictures of food.

Recently, I purchased two laser printers for my family to replace the costly (and ever-thirsty) inkjet printers we were using. The particular model I purchased was the HP CP1025nw, a colour laser printer with a 1000 page yield and network printing. 

For those of my friends still using inkjet printers, I highly recommend switching to laser. Colour laser printers can be had for as little as $130 these days. While they are more expensive than inkjet printers at first, the laser will print about 10 times as many pages between refills, and the toner will not dry out over time. High quality refills can also be found for very little.

When I first installed the printer in Fedora 15, the printer configuration wizard could not find the driver for this specific printer. I searched and there were two solutions which I came across.
  • hp-setup from the hplip package from the updates repo
  • the foo2zjs package from source
The foo2zjs solution, while requiring a out-of-repo compile and install, turned out to give a better print quality than the hplip solution. Here are the results of each:

You can see that the hplip print uses so much toner that the images shine. The texture of the prints noticeably change, and the words seem to have shadows behind them. It's using too much toner for everyday printing and, frankly, it looks a bit ridiculous. Luckily, the foo2zjs solution is much more reasonable with regards to toner use. There was some funny business with the letters, but only on that one line for unknown reason. The problem hasn't show up in regular printing.

I'm going to write about the instructions for installing foo2zjs on Fedora 15 today. These instructions are modified from the foo2zjs project site.

First, you need to download the foo2zjs package. Although the package is available in the rpmfusion repos, the firmware for the CP1025nw is not included. It does not appear that the firmware can be installed after compile time.
$ wget -O foo2zjs.tar.gz http://foo2zjs.rkkda.com/foo2zjs.tar.gz
Next, unpack it.
$ tar xvf foo2zjs.tar.gz; cd foo2zjs
 Afterwards, compile and then install the printer-specific firmware.
$ make
$ ./getweb 1025    #get firmware for the CP1025nw

Now, install the driver and restart cups.
$ sudo make install; sudo make cups
Now, you can start the regular printer install wizard and the CP1025nw should appear in your printer list.