Update Thu May 22 01:31:26 UTC 2008: (NOTICE! I’m not sure what I got but it apparently was not the printer on my LAN with embedded Mandriva. Any incorrect URL typed with 10.10.10.25 on my lan still returns that error shown below. Now to track down what system is returning that … Please see the comments at the bottom.)
Recently our networked Lexmark T520 printer ran out of toner in the original cartridge after light use for three years. We do not print much here as the printer is for those times that a PDF document in e-mail or a faxed document from OpenOffice.org Writer is not enough to satisfy whoever is receiving the document. So I was in the market for a new toner cartridge. I got a bit of sticker shock when I saw the best price I could get for the replacement toner was about $100.00/US. If I was going to have to spend $100.00/US I decided to get a new network laser printer that would have less expensive replacement toner cartridges.
I had looked for an inexpensive network laser printer last Fall (2007) for one of our local Linux server clients (they are running Mandriva Linux for their business desktop and to serve as a VM host for XP Professional to run Quickbooks Professional). During my printer research I ran across the Samsung ML-2571N printer for around $170.00/US including shipping. Which meant for the ~$100.00/US I would pay for Lexmark toner and an additional $70.00/US I could have a new printer. For that price I could pretty much buy a new laser printer every time it ran out of toner and sell the old one on eBay. This printer also has a ~3000 page toner and drum replacement cartridge I can get online for around $48.95/US plus shipping.
I ordered a ML-2571N from our distributor and it came in last week. I unpacked it today, put the pieces together, attached it to our LAN and went to my Linux box to set up the ML-2571N using its’ built-in web interface. I changed the IP address settings from DHCP to static and then changed the hostname. After changing the hostname I lost access to the web interface. I saw this result when I typed in anything other than the base IP address of 10.10.10.25 (caveat, obviously this part is incorrect but I am leaving it in as an object lesson for myself):
Object not found!
The requested URL was not found on this server. If you entered the URL manually please check your spelling and try again.
If you think this is a server error, please contact the webmaster.
Apache/2.2.4 (Mandriva Linux/PREFORK-6.4mdv2007.1)
Notice, it is running embedded Mandriva Linux and Apache! I began reading the troubleshooting and FAQ pages at www.samsung.com but could not find out how to fix what I figured was user error (mine). After about an hour of fruitless searching I called the Samsung USA service center. The first level technician tried his best to help me but my problem did not show up on any of his “standard answer” screens. He ended up sending me to level 2 technical support where I got a nice young lady named Sarah. After explaining what I had done (changing the hostname) Sarah informed me “you should not do that”. I am happy to say she did not laugh at me and damage my frail ego. Sarah also did not know the answer but she had more freedom to research it than the poor level one technical guy I had stymied. After waiting on hold for about five minutes Sarah came back and said I could fix it by running their “Set IP” tool. I asked if they had tools for Linux and was told essentially “we do not support Linux as there are too many versions to support”. Ok, fine. I know and you know that is a non-issue but apparently Samsung still does not know that. Maybe we should write them and call them about it … http://www.samsung.com/us/info/contactus.html. (Yes, I have already written them an e-mail using one of the web forms on that page)
The Problem with Sarah’s answer is we do not use Microsoft operating systems here. All I have is an old Windows 98 CD and license that had never been installed. I asked Sarah if the tool would work on Windows 98 and was told “it should”. VMware to the rescue. I have had VMware installed here for a while to play with other operating systems. This time I broke open that Windows 98 set and installed it on VMware. After installing the Samsung “Set IP” tool I was able to access the printer, reset the IP address and get into the web interface again:
After I had access I finished checking out the printer and setting it up for our SOHO business LAN. Samsung has “drivers” for these printers that can be downloaded and installed from the CLI. However, I know that all I really need is CUPS running and a .ppd file for CUPS. I downloaded the Linux *.tar.gz “driver” for the printer and accessed the file with mc to get at the .ppd files. I found the ML-2570ps.ppd file, extracted it to our file server NFS shared directory and told CUPS to use it when I set up the printer (BTW, CUPS “saw” the printer as soon as I fired up the CUPS web interface, pretty cool). I printed a test page, saw it was good and was done.
So, if you are a Linux user with a parallel port, USB port or LAN and need an inexpensive laser printer these Samsung laser printers work with Linux and work well with Linux. The only thing I could ask of Samsung is that they create their tools for Linux.