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Connecting an old HP 4 Laserjet to Mac OS X

This is really easy now. You just need a cheap printer server (I bought the DP-101-P+ from D-Link) (cost me €90 shipping inclusive).

The DP-101-P+ offers a choice of Samba, Appletalk and LPR, it can even do DHCP. And you need the really neat HPIJS for Mac OS X packages. After installing HPIJS, and adding a route to the default IP address with sudo route add -net -interface eth0 I got my old Laserjet 4 as a selectable printer model. I chose it and I could print!

Well except that no paper came out!

The DP-101-P+ has a http interface where you can configure things like IP address and the like. You can look at the printer status and some factory settings, but everything seemed to be alright. On mere accident I telnetted into the printer server. This was an accident, because the extremely lacking manual, doesn't tell you that this option exist and I was just trying to telnet to the lpr port really :). To my surprise I was greeted with an ASCII interface and a whole lot more options. I could f.e. look at the printer queue. There were jobs but nothing was printed. Being a software guy I toggled a few options and tried and tried but to no avail.

Another accident brought the solution. When I touched the printer server, the lights on my printer suddenly lit up. As it turns out the ground of the parallel connector did not fit too snugly with the printers socket. I bend the ground inwards a bit, until the connector sat firmly.

Now everything appears to work great.

Did a little bit more research on the article, but really not much for lack of time And for bandwidth waste: playing now Terra Nola from the album "Have A Nice Trip" by Die Apokalyptischen Reiter
Actually I don't use sudo, as that's for wimps. I use root shells :)