Printing experience in Manjaro vs other distros

While Manjaro generally excels in many aspects, after about one year of use, one item in which it could certainly improve is with respect to printing.

Manjaro apparently uses the very same print stack as other distros and, if anything, in a more up to date version, so it would be expected to do better than other distros wrt printing. Unfortunately, this is not the case, particularly with respect to Qt applications.

Hence, I wonder if it could be possible to try collecting workaround or patches for the following issues:

  1. printer configuration does not work with hplip drivers.

    • HP printers are generally supported via hplip. While it seems possible to set the usual printer configuration options (high quality vs draft, color printing vs monochrome), these are no ops in Manjaro. Even if you ask to print in monochrome, you still get the printer to print in color. This is not only bad because the system does something different from what the user is asking, but also causes higher printing costs and is bad for the environment.
    • Ubuntu does this right on the very same printers
  2. It is impossible to print on autodiscovered and driverless printers from Qt applications (including all KDE applications).

    • Because these printers do not appear in the print dialog
    • Ubuntu, Suse, Redhat do this right

Any idea, clue on how to get a printing experience on par with other distros?

I have investigated the matter a bit.

  1. For the first point, it looks like there is an issue with hplip from upstream, where the hpps print filter that should be in charge of preparing a finalized PS stream including the commands for the printer e.g. to switch from color mode to grayscale is not doing so. I have found a related issue upstream (Bug #1500972 “HP x576dw and other printers: options to print wit...” : Bugs : HPLIP) and provided more information in it.

  2. For the second point it looks like other distros patch Qt to get it to deal with autodiscovered printers correctly. Opened a bug with Qt ([QTBUG-105167] Autodiscovered printers are not shown in the Qt print dialog in linux - Qt Bug Tracker) to see if upstream can adopt something similar.

+1 as recent user of Manjaro distribution ! I have an Oki printer (usdb model) plugged on a PI running CUPS so my OKI is now a network printer. In ubuntu and Pop OS, and also Mint, no issue, printer shows up by itself and ready to use.
In manjaro i had to install extra packages and still not even able to print on it :frowning: I have some: Can’t detect file type most of time but nothing happens on printer :sleepy:

After recent updates, the autodiscovered printers finally show up in qt applications.

Other issues remain:

  • on the HP Color Laserjet Pro MFP M281fdw set up as a locally installed printer it is impossible to print in monochrome: even if you select monochrome printing, the printer still prints in color. I think that this is a bug in hplip, either in the hpps finalizing filter or in the way parameters are passed to it. Other distros and notably ubuntu work around this issue by using different .ppd files.

  • on the HP Color Laserjet Pro MFP M281fdw used as an autodiscovered printer, if you assing defaults (e.g., monochrome printing), then it is impossible to override them from the print dialog (the print dialog settings are ignored and the defaults are still used).

While Manjaro gives you an easy way to get your system up and running, it is an impossible task to cater for any and all kinds of use and configurations.

Because of that Manjaro is what you could call a self-service distribution as you have to apply your own fingerprint to the system.

One of those fingerprints is printing which can be a challenging task for some.

While several components may have been added to any ISO - this does not necessarily mean that all components has been added. Some components may have been pulled as dependency for other packages e.g. avahi which as a dependency of Network Manager but the services and sockets is not enabled.

CUPS is a method of sending jobs to a printer developed by Apple - believe or not - but that in itself does not guarantee you can print. The service and socket needs to be enabled by the user.

HP has their own toolbox for discovering printers and in the Arch package eco-system - packages which are not strictly required for another package to function is denoted as optional. If one wants to use the HP Toolbox UI - which is not required for the HP Library to function - one has to add the optional python-qt5 package before the Toolbox UI is functional.

The sheer amount of avaialble packages makes it impossible to create a one-size-solution.

This is were the self-service concept kicks in and that is what the forum is about.

We rarely rant (and it is discouraged) - instead we ask a polite question e.g.

  • How can I make my driverless printer discoverable?
  • How can I activate the HP Toolbox UI?
  • Where can I find driver for printer make and model?

Such questions will get answers while a rant on experience as critisism is likely to be ignored or removed (the forum rules gives moderators the right to close and remove such topics)

@linux-aarhus I don’t know if your last post was directed at me, being that there is another poster too in the thread, but in case I would like to reassure you that my posts were by no means meant as rants.

As the first post clarifies, the purpose of the post was trying to “try collecting [pointers] to workaround or patches for a few issues”. The comparison to other distros was only noticed to observe that workaround and patches do likely exist since the mileage across different distros vary and some distros appear to have downstream fixes for a few printing issues.

I think that having a thread with a few things to try to fix printing issues would be in line with the concept of a self-service distribution.

In case the thread title is misleading, maybe that can be changed.I don’t know how to do that, though. Otherwise, feel free to remove the topic, so I can split it up in more focused questions.

I apologize for my phrasing - my comment was not specifically targeted any participants in the topic.

The forum is visited by search engines very, very frequently and as such the topic was meant as a clarification on the topic at hand - printing support - and why user intervention may be needed to have the necessary printing support.

It was also meant to encourage asking the right questions :slight_smile: and a discrete hint to avoid creating topics which could be interpreted as rant or critisism. Topics we have seen quite a few of in the past - demaind-like topics claiming their usecase requires a change to Manjaro philosphy :slight_smile: not specifically an issue with this topic.

It is easy to install a printer, which has a Linux driver (ppd file).
When the printer driver is installed, then it is running.

In the printer dialogue, you can select color or monochrome printing.

@Keruskerfuerst unfortunately, it is not so easy.

The default PPD for many HP printers has empty strings for the color/monochrome options:

*HPPJLColorAsGray True/On: "%%"
*HPPJLColorAsGray False/Off: "%%"

This is because the option is not managed by the direct introduction of a configuration string from the PPD file into the stream sent to the printer. Conversely, there is a filter called the hp postscript finalizer or hpps for short in charge of delivering to the printer the right configuration data for monochrome or color printer. Unfortunately hpps does not work as intented.

Furthermore, ppd files are going to be eventually phased out (FUTURE: Remove printer driver and raw queue support. · Issue #5271 · apple/cups · GitHub), with the future being autodiscovered driverless printers that are already supported, but currently with many issues.