Ubuntu Linux, Cups and a HP DeskJet 722C

I reinstalled my system from scratch with Dapper last weekend. Why from scratch you might ask? My previous setup was the AMD64 version of 5.10, and just like Kristof, I found a 64 bit system too much a hassle to cope with.

Anyway, this remembered me of the trouble I had to make my old HP DeskJet 722C work on Linux. It took me a while to discover the problem which isn’t too good documented. Hopefully this post will help my fellow googler.

It appears the 722 is – in analogy to winmodems – some kind of “winprinter” relying heavily on the driver for a bunch of stuff, that makes the printer a lot cheaper when it doesn’t have to cope with it.
Cups can handle this printer, thanks to the pnm2ppa driver.

Using pnm2ppa it’s possible to run HP-GDI printers on Linux. These printers are normally “Windows-only” and use the PPA protocol which is proprietary. pnm2ppa supports color and is supposed to work faster than pbm2ppa. pnm2ppa supports the following printers: HP Deskjet 7XX Series, HP Deskjet 820 Series and HP Deskjet 1000 Series.

This driver has a separate config file, /etc/pnm2ppa.conf, in which, at least in Ubuntu, the Deskjet 722C support is not enabled by default. Just enable it by uncommenting the right line:

#version 710
version 720 # 710, 712, 722 also acceptable
#version 820
#version 1000

It seems simple now, when you know of it, but not so when starting debugging verbose Cups logs…