As a part of this summer’s transition to a new home server environment, I upgraded my printer to a colour laser one. The print quality of Canon i-SENSYS LBP5050n was the ṕrimary reason for choosing that one. I was originally going to buy an USB model and use my home server as the print server, but it soon appeared that Windows Server 2008 as the Web Server edition does not allow printer sharing. MS strikes againg – they have actually disabled all printer sharing functionalities so that they can sell more expensive versions of Server 2008 for those who need more than only the web server stuff. In this (as probably in many other accounts) it makes much more sense to use Ubuntu Server Edition or something similar rather than MS products if you want to have a cheap, yet efficient general purpose server of your own.
Persisting against the odds, I went ahead and picked the 5050n model instead, since it includes its own ethernet connector and print server built in, so that you can print to it from anywhere in your home. Except for the printer driver. Rather than a regular Postscript printer, this Canon printer is a CAPT printer, meaning that it uses Canon’s own proprietary printer language. They have tried to develop driver versions for many operating systems, but according to my experiences, the development of 5050n drivers is still not yet finished. I at least hope they will release better versions in the future.
Luckily, two of my most important OSes are supported and working fine: Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. Funny thing is, that neither have a dedicated driver version — you can install a Vista version and it works. But as I tried to install the driver to my two Vista systems, the driver did not produce test prints, and the status window actually completely stalled the computer/UI. I had to remove the driver. Also, trying to install the Mac version of driver to my Mac Mini (a OS X Tiger system) did not produce any working results.
Since I am also using Ubuntu with my workstation and Acer Aspire One netbooks, I was interested to see whether I could finally print anything from there. No success. A Linux package of CAPT printer drivers also exists:
But I tried to follow the instructions and tweak my systems, but it appears that there is not yet a printer profile file for 5050 models. I tried install using LPB5000 profile file, but it did not work out.
Thus: out of the five tested OSes that we are using, only two managed to print to this new, home/small office network printer. Not a very good result to my estimation (even while I am happy with the printer itself). Hopefully Canon will produce more and updated printer software for this printer in the future.