Friday, May 29, 2009

OS X Printer driver problems with 10.5 (Leopard) - the HP 1012

I'm having just so much fun upgrading my mother's vanilla Mac Mini to 10.5. First it was the buggy update, now I find her Apple's 10.5.7 (Leopard) HP 1012 printer driver doesn't work. The printer worked perfectly with 10.4 (Tiger) - of course.

Print jobs pause for a time, then there's a printer response, then they hang, then they just ... stop.

Of course I have lots of company:
I've tried a few fixes, such as resetting the print system (right click on printer in print and fax preference display, choose reset). I also found that the printer was shared by default but that there was a "Printer Sharing is turned off" message; I turned off sharing.

I seem to have fixed the problem for the Administrator account, but not for a regular user account. I may try promoting the user to Administrator, seeing if I can fix it, then trying them again as a regular user.

Power cycling the printer, or clicking on hold/resume a few times, will restart printing. Neither is a good option for my mother of course.
This 10.5 update has helped me think differently about 10.6. I'll take a look at that one in 2011. Of course that means I'll need to buy my new machine while they're still shipping with 10.5 ...
I'll update this post if I'm able to fix the problem ...

Update 5/29/09: At the moment things are working. It is a weird situation, however.

To recap, I was able to print successfully from my admin account using the installed printer drivers, perhaps because (from my Software Update Preference Pane Installed Update history) Apple released an HP Printer driver update in September 2008. I couldn't, however, print from my primary non-admin account.

Here's where it gets tricky. In order to print from my admin account I'd had to reset the printing system.

Even after I did that though, I couldn't print from my mother's non-admin account on the same machine. My hunch is that with the 1.1.1 update if I'd also reset the printing system from my mother's account it might have worked.

Yes, reset from the separate accounts.

Why do I think that might have worked?

Because, instead of doing that I installed the Gutenprint drivers (per Apple). Hint: Don't waste time trying to figure out the install directions, reading the manual, etc. The current version has an installer that does all the work for you, and, for you Gimp veterans, there's no longer any need for Ghostscript, web configuration, etc. All the directions and tips you need are in the installer documentation folder (DO read the readme file).

After installing the Admin account worked fine -- but the user account still didn't. I reset the admin account (again), but still only the Admin account worked.

That's when I did a reset from the user account as well as the admin account. Then I could print from the user account and the admin account. (Interestingly other accounts I created on the machine were also able to print, without a reset).

I'll update this post again after I've had some more experience -- and to see if it still works post reboot.

To recap -- before you try the Gutenprint be sure you have the September 2008 Apple update and try resetting the printer on EVERY account that has trouble -- which means adding back the printer definitions multiple times.

If you still can't get the Gutenprint drivers to work, this post may help though it didn't apply to me.

My hunch is gunk in the queue -- like maybe permissions gunk.

PS. Early in this process I even "repaired permissions". As usual it did nothing but suck time. I think the OS X "repair permissions" utility is some sort of sick Apple joke.

Update 5/30/09: It's not really fixed, after a day or so I got only the infamous "PCL: Unsupported Personality" atop all printed pages. This time adding and removing printer while using Gutenprint had no effect. So I tried it with the Sept 2008 Apple HP drivers and they worked. I also turned on printer sharing, just for kicks.

Clearly we need a new printer. This won't work for long.

I'll probably buy the Brother HL 2140 for my mother. Neither Canon nor HP can produce OS X device drivers to save their shriveled little souls.

Update 9/3/09: Unsurprisingly, it stopped printing a week or so after I left my mothers. I replaced it with the Brother. Weirdly, this printer is showing as supported in 10.6 (CUPS)! I don't believe it, but if you have 10.6 and test it out please let me know in comments. I ended up buying the Brother HL-2170W for my mother -- the 2140 Amazon comments weren't that encouraging.

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