Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Cloudprint for linux ...

Last year, I upgraded my old EEEpc701SD to Crunchbang linux to make a distraction free writing machine – something that's worked out pretty well, especially since I started using Focuswriter as a basic writing application.

In the meantime my venerable HP PSC1200 inkjet upped and died – the scanner still works and it still sort of prints but quality is variable and sometimes print is intermittent – I suspect that the contacts between the cartridges and print mechanism are dirty or damaged. However, without going into the ins and outs our local big box office equipment supplier had an end of financial year special on Epson wifi workgroup inkjets so I bought one to replace the PSC1200.

Apart from being discounted, one of the inducements for going Epson was that it supported Google cloud print natively, allowing easy printing from Chromebooks and tablets, which is something that's becoming increasingly important to us.

At the same time as setting up cloudprint, I of course added the drivers to our windows machines as well as our increasingly venerable imac to allow them to print to it as if it were a normal local network printer.

 Adding the drivers to my Linux netbook to achieve to achieve the same turned out to be a bit more complex than I thought it would – Epson don't distribute a PPD file as such, you need to install their print management utility, something that meant spending some time with
dpkg -i and apt get -f install.

After that little detour, installing the Epson drivers on the Eee seemed to be asking a little to much against the minimalist spirit of what I was trying to achieve here.

So I went googling to see if anyone had written a linux Google Cloudprint client.

And they have

One of the advantages is that once installed,  all your Google Cloudprint printers, become available meaning that you can save stuff as a pdf to Google drive, which is quite neat as an alternative to emailing stuff to Dropbox which is what I've been doing up to now.

Installation onto Crunchbang wasn't quite as easy as it should be but the following script works (for me anyway, your mileage may vary):

wget https://niftyrepo.niftiestsoftware.com/cups-cloud-print/packages/cupscloudprint_20140814.2-1_all.deb
dpkg -i cupscloudprint_20140814.2-1_all.deb
apt-get -f install

Obviously you need to run it with sudo rather than straight from the command line.

You also need to have a web browser installed on your machine. The install script will prompt you for the google account name you want to use and generate a magic url you need to paste into the browser url bar.

Google will prompt you to login and then generate a keycode you need then to copy and paste back into your terminal window to complete the authentication key.

And it works. For a writing machine it of course also means that you can work on something on the bus, and using the wifi, queue something for printing and proof reading at home ...

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