Monday, April 11, 2011

Quest for the Home Office Essentials: The Adventure with Ubuntu 10.04LTS and Canon Pixma MP140

My youngest sister handed down to me her Canon Pixma MP140 printer from UK, one of those multi-function device, it can print, scan and copy printed documents and pictures. Checking with OpenPrinting indicated possible disappointment since it's not listed as supported there.

Previously, GNU/Linux's reputation as a desktop computer platform was spotty, but this has not deterred me from settling for it as our desktop of choice at home with Ubuntu 10.04LTS. I document here the experience I had setting up the Canon Pixma MP140 printer with Ubuntu 10.04LTS, what pleasant surprises I encountered and drawbacks that almost made me look for something else.

On the desktop, click on System->Administration->Printing, and the window illustrated below should appear

Click on the Add button located on the upper left of the window, to generate the window below:
Note that Canon Pixma MP140 is detected

Click on the printed model displayed (for this article, it's Canon MP140) then click Forward and you should see this:
Select Canon then click Forward

Select Pixma MP150, choose the first option then click the Forward button
We can't find Pixma MP140 but there's Pixma MP150 and they're driver compatible

The system will search for appropriate drivers. In my experience, I performed this setup without internet connection, the printer driver is built-in within the distribution (better make sure your Ubuntu installation is up-to-date just to be on the safe side).
This is the window after printer driver has been installed and configured. You'll be asked if you want to print some test pages

Now that handles the printing aspect of the device. How about the scanning feature? I turned to Simple Scan for this. On Ubuntu 10.04LTS, it's accessed from Application->Graphics->Simple Scan and you should see this window onscreen:
Just one button to scan: Scan

But to be sure, we check Simple Scan's preferences by clicking on Document->Preferences, it should display similar to below:
Note the Scan Souce, there's Canon Pixma MP140

If you have XSane installed on your setup, you'd see it's also detected and working from there. The good thing about Simple Scan is that it can save scanned images as graphics images like JPEG, GIF and PNG or any supported format (I leave that as exploration task for you to handle), or PDF, so we can scan photocopied documents and compile them into a book.

Earlier I said almost, because we may have not explicitly found MP140 in the supported models list but using MP150 driver was found just as good. I also performed the same procedure on my Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.04-hosting Compaq 110c netbook, making it work with the Pixma MP140 as my home office printing and scanning tandem.

Another major, and possibly more serious, drawback that almost made me give up using this device on Ubuntu 10.04LTS is that for any device coming from abroad, especially for my case living in the so-called third world country, equipment support like ink cartidges in the case of this printer, may not yet or will never be available for your current location or country.

I verified the ink cartridge models from the inside of the printer and shopped around for availability. Luckily for me, those particular ink cartridges are available locally, otherwise, I'd have a paperweight soon enough at home. Now time to shop for quality paper to print documents on.

1 comment:

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