How to Add a Printer to Linux HP JetDirect

Linux can be a terrifically stable, secure operating system to run. It runs smoothly, it's hard to hack into, and it's free. However, unlike its commercial competitors, setting up external gadgets to run on this system can often prove frustrating, as the familiar "plug-and-play" commercial option isn't always available with Linux. Here's how to set up a printer, via an HP JetDirect print server, in Linux's popular Ubuntu operating system.

Decide if you want your machine to be a "server," or just a "client."

A serve" machine is the computer that the JetDirect and network printers are connected to. A client machine is a computer that uses existing printing networks. If you want to make your Ubuntu computer your server, follow the instructions in this section.

Open up your Synaptic Package Manager and search for "hplip." Select all hplip packages in Synaptic, and press "apply."

Restart the CUPS (Linux printing) interface. To do this, open a terminal and type:

sudo /etc/init.d/cupsys restart

Open Synaptic again, and search for "python-qt4." Select all python-qt4 packages, and hit "apply."

Connect the JetDirect to your computer, open up a terminal, and type the following:

sudo hp-set-up

Follow the instructions provided in the terminal, and your JetDirect should be recognised by Ubuntu without a problem.

Go to the top of your screen and click on "System," and then choose "Administration" from the drop-down list to share printers on your new JetDirect network, Click "Printing," and then select "Server Settings." Now check the box that says "Share published printers connected to this system."

Connect each printer you'd like to share to your server machine one at a time, and add each printer to your network individually.

Select "Printing" from the System Administration menu while the printer is connected to your server machine. Then click on "Printer Configurations," and follow the instructions on adding a printer. Repeat this procedure for each printer you'd like added to the network.

Go to the top of your screen, click on "System," and select "Administration" from the drop-down list to connect an Ubuntu computer that's a "client" machine to a shared JetDirect network printer, click on "Printer," and then on "Server," and then on "Settings," and then select the option to "show printers shared by other systems."

Click "OK" to confirm; you should see the names of the network printers immediately pop up.

Test-print a document. When you hit the print command, the network should allow you to select any printer you'd like.


If the above instructions fail, make sure that CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) is installed on your machine. Open Synaptic Package Manager and search for "cups". Select all CUPS packages and hit "apply." Restart the CUPS interface by opening up a terminal and typing the following: sudo /etc/init.d/cupsys restart Once you've reset the CUPS interface after installing the relevant packages, try installing the JetDirect (or detecting the printer, if you're using a client machine,) again.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer w/Ubuntu Linux
  • HP JetDirect print server
  • USB cable
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