Lexmark printers are notorious for being crapper than a crap thing on St Craps day, whilst playing Craps in a pile of crap on the planet “Crap” within the solar-system “Crap”, especially under Linux.

Nevertheless, I bought one. Because it was cheap.

(It does, I should warn potential followers in my footsteps, come with a half-filled colour cartridge and no black. Factor in another 15 (The same cost as the printer, fact fans) for a full black cartridge. Cheap printers are a false economy. Lesson ends)

Much of the work of getting this all working under Debian has already been done, and much of this article cribs liberally from the Gentoo Wiki article for the same thing.

These instructions are for Debian Sarge (That’s ‘Testing’) and so should also work with Ubuntu.

This is what you do:

Preparation:

apt-get install gs gs-esp cupsys printconf alien

(I love Debian)

Grab the Real Linux Drivers from Lexmark:

http://downloads.lexmark.com/cgi-perl/downloads.cgi?ccs=229:1:0:389:0:0&emeaframe=&fileID=1151

Installation:

Create a new directory, and put the file you downloaded above inside it. Lexmark’s drivers all extract to the current directory.

Be inside that directory

Bypass their horrible “auto install” script by running:

tail -n +143 z600cups-1.0-1.gz.sh > install.tar.gz

and then extract install.tar.gz (which also goes to the current directory)

You should now have a whole host of useless files and a couple of RPMs (Because we all know that everyone uses deadrat, don’t we? sigh) so we turn them into Debian packages using Alien:

alien *.rpm

And then “dpkg -i” on both of them to install. Make sure the printer is plugged in and turned on, and then run:

ldconfig

followed by:

/usr/lib/cups/backend/z600

Which should say something like:

direct z600:/dev/usb/lp0 "Lexmark Lexmark 510 Series" "Lexmark Printer"

Cups

Setting up cups is somewhat beyond the scope of this article, but what the hell.

Default install of cups doesn’t let anyone outside the local machine access the interface. If this is cool, great, otherwise edit the /etc/cupsd.conf file to let in anyone in 192.168.* or whatever your network’s on.

Cups interface is on http://localhost:631 (It’d be useful if the package mentioned that while it was installing, or something) the admin password is your root password (the username is ‘root’) so don’t, whatever you do, ever access CUPS admin over an Internet connection until you change that behaviour. It’s a stupid bloody default anyway.

So. Click “Administration”, “Add Printer”, Fill in stuff, “Lexmark” (Use the top one, rather than “USB #1 Lexmark” or whatever), Make is – duh – Lexmark, Model is the only one it gives you, Print a test page to make sure it’s working, if it isn’t, then “tail -f /var/log/cups/*log” to see why.

Have A Lot Of Fun.