Printrer compatibility

I have been using Ubuntu for a few months now but always have problems with printer compatibilities. Is there a list of Ubuntu recommended printers, preferably HP. I was told my Canon MX420 is compatible. I downloaded the driver but but I always have to call in an engineer to connect it. I need a printer without this hassle which Ubuntu will find automatically.

Hi goldtopia, and welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

You could take a look through this:
but that’s a pretty sparse list, and probabky not up to date.

But you’ve hit the nail on the head, go for HP … pretty much all HP printers will be supported out of the box but you may find configuration easier by simply installing hplip-gui

to be 100% sure about a particular HP model, check your hplip version by running this in a terminal:

dpkg -l | grep hplip

Then go here:
look up the printer model. and check the “Minimum HPLIP version”

What is hplip-gui and what do you do with it ?

Hi goldtopia

hplip-gui is a configuration tool/control panel for HP printers

click on the link for a screenshot

Good luck


As Emegra (and its name) suggest it’s a GUI (graphical user interface) tool for configuring the hplip printer drivers :slight_smile:

Not 100% necessary, but it can make setting up HP printers easier.

At the moment I have a Canon MX420 is there a similar hplip for Canon ?. At the moment I have to use up the ink cartridges on Windows which is on a caddy before I can buy a HP.

If you’re having problems installing the driver for your Canon printer, here’s a easy to follow step by step.

Good luck


The PPA in that link only goes up to Ubuntu 11.10 … if you’re using a more recent version don’t add it.


If you’re using Ubuntu 12.04 or later, the drivers for the MX 420 are already present … gimme half an hour and I’ll type up instructions how to add the printer through the CUPS interface.

First can we get a handle on which version of Ubuntu you’re running … Can you open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run this command:

cat /etc/*-release

then post the output back here.

Then run:

uname -a

and post the output back here.

Version Ubuntu 12:04 LTS (I dont know what the LTS means)

OK, plug your Canon MX420 into a USB port and turn on the printer.

Now in your web browser, go to this address:

That is NOT the internet, it is the local CUPS interface for setting up your printer.
(if at any time you are asked for a username and password, it’s your Linux username and password it wants)

Click the “Administration” tab.

Click the “Find New Printers” button.

When it finds the printer … select these as the drivers:-

Make: Canon
Model: Canon PIXMA MX420 - CUPS+Gutenprint v5.2.8-pre1 (en)

Version Ubuntu 12:04 LTS (I dont know what the LTS means)

LTS = Long Term Support, I’m sure 12.04 is supported for 5 years untill 2017, but Mark or some other more knowledgable could explain it better


Yes, LTS = Long Term Support

Ubuntu is released every 6 months, and every 4th release is an LTS

NON-LTS releases are supported for 18 months and LTS releases are now supported for 5 years.

So you can decide whether you’d prefer the latest and (sometimes) greatest, but have to upgrade every 6 months (with the risks that carries) … or the generally more stable LTS that you can stick with as long as you like, but some of the software might start to become a little dated after a while (eg. it’s not going to get a new version of hplip for more recent printers in the default repositories)

Obviously businesses tend to like the stabiity of LTS releases (and so do I) … but home users may like the new features in the latest release.

Does that cover it ?

You can see the support cycles (when releases will reach end of life) here:

Don’t Emegra look like Data from Startrek !!

Don't Emegra look like Data from Startrek !!

Yeah now you mention it I suppose in a certain light there is a slight resemblance :slight_smile:


At this CUPS thing (whatever that is) for finding the printer. It asks for user name and password. I only know one which is for authenticate. how do I find the other one ?.

When CUPS asks for a username and password … it expects your LINUX username and password.

How do I find that ?



will give you your username

Your password is what you set when you installed Linux … the one you need to do any admin tasks

Where do I type in whoami