Xerox printers on Debian - an update

2018-02-15 - Louis-Philippe Véronneau

This blog post is 90% rant and 10% update on how I made our new Xerox Altalink printer work on Debian. Skip the rant by clicking here.

I think the lamest part of my current job is that we heavily rely on multifunction printers. We need to print a high volume of complicated documents on demand. You know, 1500 copies of a color booklet printed on 11x17 paper folded in 3 stapled in the middle kind of stuff.

Pardon my French, but printers suck big time. The printer market is an oligopoly clusterfuck and it seems it keeps getting worse (looking at you, Fuji-Xerox merger). None of the drivers support Linux properly, all the printers are big piles of proprietary code and somehow the corporations selling them keep adding features no one needs.

My reaction when I learnt we needed to replace our current printer

Good job XeroxFuji Xerox, the new shiny printer you forced us to rent1 comes with an app that lets you print directly from Dropbox. I guess they expect people:

  • not to use a password manager
  • not to use long randomly generated passwords
  • not to use 2FA
  • to use proprietary services like Dropbox

Oh wait, I guess that's what people actually do. My bad.

As for fixing their stupid bugs, try again.

Xerox Altalink C8045

Rant aside, here's a short follow-up on the blog post I wrote two years ago on how to install Xerox printers on Debian.

As far as I can see, the Xerox Altalink C8045 seems to be working properly with the x86_64-5.20.606.3946 version of the Xerox driver for Debian. Make sure that you use the bi-directional setup or else you might have trouble. Sadly, all the gimmicks I wrote about two years ago still stand.

If you find that interesting, I also rewrote our Puppet module that manages all of this for you to be compatible with Puppet 4. Yay?

1 - Long story short, we used to have a Xerox ColorQube printer that used wax instead of toner to print, but Xerox doesn't support them anymore and bought back our support contract. E-waste FTW.