In my CUPS

This is going to be one of those postings that my mother wouldn’t have understood. But I thought I should save what I’ve learned today about setting up printers on Mac OSX 10.4 so I’ll have them next time around.

I was trying to solve two problems when printing from the Mac:

  • When I printed to my Samsung ML-2151N, it would take minutes per page
  • I couldn’t reliably print to my Brother MFC-7820 at all

I could, of course, print just fine from my Windows XP systems.

For the Samsung, I suspected I had a bad driver. The system showed three different drivers which claimed to be for the ML-2150 family, two of which had the same name. So I went to linuxprinting.org, which pointed me to the new Gutenprint drivers. I tried installing them, but trying to print failed. I suspect the problem was that I didn’t have a proper level of Ghostscript, but while reading the site, I eventually found a claim that there was a good Mac OSX driver on Samsung’s German site. After some searching, I found this page, which contained an archive of new PPD drivers.

I uncompressed it and tried to install the English-language file. It didn’t ask for permission to run as root, so the install failed; I tried again, this time just “installing” to my desktop. Then I dug into the file to find the actual PPD file at

~/Desktop/Library/Printers/PPDs/Contents/Resources/en.lproj/Samsung ML-2150 Series.gz

I needed to copy it somewhere the system could find it, and I also wanted to get rid of the bad drivers, so I went hunting, and discovered I had Samsung printer drivers in two different locations on the system:

  • /Library/Printers/PPDs/Contents/Resources/en.lproj
  • /usr/share/cups/model

I deleted the ML21xx drivers in both locations, then copied my new driver to the first location, since that’s where the installer wanted to put it.

And it worked — I can now print to the printer at something approaching full speed.

The MFC-7820N turned out to be much easier; Brother had posted a driver on this page. The page shows a PPD file and a CUPS driver, but they both link to the same package, which expands into a self-installer, which worked just fine (although it required a system restart, which probably shouldn’t have been necessary). I also found a firmware update, but I haven’t gotten around to trying it yet.

And in the meantime, I’ve also installed a new version of Ghostscript, just in case.

I remember when I thought I was going to treat the Mac as an appliance. *sigh*

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