HP Deskjet all-in-one printers are selling for silly prices at the moment. I recently saw a Deskjet 2050 j510 printer/scanner in PCWorld for £40 and was tempted. Then I saw the same printer in Asda for £35 and was even more tempted. Then I saw a HP Deskjet 3050 j610 wireless printer/scanner in PCWorld for £34 and almost couldn't resist- I just thought I should check compatibility with Linux.
The 2050 j510 will print with the version of HPLIP (Hewlett-Packard's Linux Imaging and Printing software) that comes with squeeze, but it won't scan (without a hack), whist the 3050 j610 will print and scan but requires the manual installation of the latest version of HPLIP from HP.
I ummed and arred for a bit. Then I checked the PCWorld web site and all the 3050 j610's had gone- Comet still had some at the same price. The next morning I needed to do a scan, so that clinched it- I went back to the Comet web site, reserved the printer, and was given a further discount, bringing the price down to £30.90.
That's a silly price because a basic HP printer is £40- no scanner, no wireless. (And also because I remember the first printer I bought- a nine pin dot matrix printer back in 1989, which coast me £220. I could seven 3050 j610's for that!)
Now the hairy part- could I get it to work?
I ran the installation wizard from the HP website, which has easy-to-follow instructions. I encountered a couple of dependency issues (well, this is a beta version of squeeze) which I thought for a while might be a nightmare to solve, but were in fact relatively simple to get around.
The first unmet dependency was for cupsys-bsd, which is not in the Squeeze repositories, but is in the Lenny repositories. The solution was to add the Lenny repositories to /ect/apt/sourses.list (just copy the Squeeze dependencies and change Squeeze to Lenny), reload Synaptic, install cupsys-bsd, and then remove the Lenny entries.
The second unmet dependency was for cups-image, which isn't in either repository. I was at a loss until I found this post, which solved the issue.
My new printer now prints and scans on Squeeze.
I haven't tried a wireless connection yet- I don't think laptop>printer is going to be supported, but a network connection via my router might be. Not really an issue as the printer with wireless was cheaper than the one without.
These HP all-in-one printers are certainly good value, and them come with full ink cartridges and a USB cable. The only problem for Linux users is that they are only supported by the most recent version of HPLIP, if at all. HP has a page to check if a particular printer is supported here. HP have made installing the latest version of HPLIP on Linux as easy as possible- I am running a beta version of Squeeze, so maybe that explains the issues I experienced. More up-to-date versions of HPLIP should find their way into Debian backports eventually, but if you're after a bargain printer now, a manual install might be the only option.
Update: Couldn't get wireless working. Had the same problem as this person.
Update 2: The printer is now connected over the network. Yipee! See link above for solution.
Update 3: I've just installed Debian Squeeze 6.03 on my laptop, and didn't have any of the dependency issues mentioned in this post- which was for Squeeze Beta after all.
Update 4 (Feb 2012): HPLIP 3.11.12 does not currently work with Debian 6.0.4, meaning that printing won't work, with a Filter "usr/lib/cups/filter/foomatic-rip-hplip" for printer "*" not available error. If you are trying to install HPLIP via the installation wizard and automatic install mentioned in this post, check to see if the latest version of HPLP supports the latest version of Debian, or use the manual build and install for Debian. More here.