Deskjet color/black printing problem “solved”

There’s an (apparently known) problem with printing to some HP deskjets on ubuntu. I’ve got an f2100. It has one black cartridge and one cyan/yellow/magenta color cartridge. When printing regular pages, it should of course use both. Black for the text, color if there’s a picture or some colored text.

By default, somehow, mostly/only the color cartridge is used! So you get not-quite-black text that’s composed of all three colors. So you burn through your color cartridge in no time...

After trying several things for a couple of hours I finally hit upon a solution. In /etc/cups/ppd/yourprinter.ppd, almost at the end of the file, you’ll see a couple of lines starting with *Quality. At the end of those lines, change every CMY to CMYK.

So a single line like the following (broken up over two lines for readability):

*Quality 300ColorCMY/300 dpi, Color, Color Cartr.:
"%% FoomaticRIPOptionSetting: Quality=300ColorCMY"

should become:

*Quality 300ColorCMY/300 dpi, Color, Color Cartr.:
"%% FoomaticRIPOptionSetting: Quality=300ColorCMYK"

The only diffence is that K at the end. Restart cups:

$> /etc/init.d/cups restart

and your printer OUGHT to actually use the black cartridge.

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My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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