Lexmark's Linux Secret

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 2 April 2010. Page 2 of 5. 43 Comments

Once opening the box, we found all of the components to be well protected and organized. Included with the printer were a total of eight ink cartridges (two sets), a US power cable, a telephone cable, and a USB cable. In addition, a Lexmark Professional Series folder contained a lot of documentation for this printer. There were business cards with the telephone number for priority phone support, a driver CD, a quick reference guide, network setup guide, fax setup guide, and documentation in Spanish too. With Tux being shown off on the box, we decided to flip through the documentation to see if they acknowledged their Linux support within the manuals and to what extent. Sure enough, they did!

Within the Pro900 Series User's Guide they list the supported operating systems: Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Vista SP1, Microsoft Windows XP SP3, Microsoft Windows 2000 SP4, Macintosh PowerPC OS X 10.3.9+, Macintosh Intel OS X 10.4.4+, Linux Ubuntu 8.04 LTS and 8.10, Linux OpenSUSE 11.0 and 11.1, and Linux Fedora 10. There is a disclaimer though that the printer drivers for Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, and Fedora are not included on the driver CD but rather at support.lexmark.com (http://support.lexmark.com/). However, this is not to degrade the Linux support at all, as the Microsoft Windows 7 support is also web-only. We in fact would much rather see Lexmark do away with a driver CD all together and have their users go to their web-site to begin with so they can be sure they are installing the most recent and up-to-date driver that's available along with the printer firmware.

The rest of the printed guide does not go into detail about setting up the Linux driver, but there is more information to be found on the Lexmark support web-site. The Lexmark Platinum Pro905 technical support web-site makes available not only the printer drivers for Linux, but the firmware updates too. Their web-site offers the Platinum Pro905 driver as a Red Hat RPM and as an Ubuntu/Debian package. When navigating to other areas of Lexmark's technical support they do provide some Linux instructions, such as how to update the printer firmware by launching a terminal window and changing the directory, chmod-ing the file, and then executing it.

Before diving deeper into Linux with this printer, we first checked out the hardware. This thermal inkjet printer is based on a four-cartridge design (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) and it offers a black print resolution of 2400 x 1200 DPI, or when in color it is up to 4800 x 1200 DPI. In draft mode the Platinum Pro905 is rated to push out 33 pages per minute in black and white or 30 pages per minute when in color. Its rated duty cycle is 10,000 pages per month, which should certainly be sufficient for most small to medium sized businesses. On the scanner side, the scan surface comes in at 216 by 356 mm and supports a scan resolution of 1200 x 4800 DPI, but there is an ADF (Automatic Document Feeder) for scanning up to 50 papers. The scanning bed flips up to gain access to the print head and four cartridges.

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