How to install and configure a Dell Printer using the Ubuntu Operating System

How to install and configure a Dell Printer using the Ubuntu Operating System

This article provides general information on how you prepare, install and configure a Dell Printer, using the Ubuntu Operating System.

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Preparing the Drivers
  3. Installing the Drivers
  4. Configuring the Printer


Note: Dell has only limited Linux support for the printers they ship, driver availability will vary from printer to printer. You may be directed to contact Canonical for further Software support. If you're looking for a specific driver or utility that isn't commonly available, then you may be directed to contact the Ubuntu community forums with the information about your specific printer for further support. I will give some general steps in the section below, but this information is used at your own risk.

This article is looking to give general steps that will enable you to use some Dell Printers with the Ubuntu Operating System.

While there is limited support for Linux, Dell does not specifically support the Ubuntu operating system with it's printers.

That means that work needs to be done to prepare the drivers supplied by Dell for other Linux Operating Systems to work on the Ubuntu Operating System.

I will go over the install and configuration steps available in Ubuntu for these devices.

If this article doesn't resolve your issue, we would advise you take your issue to the Ubuntu Community Forums for further information.

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Preparing the Drivers

The Linux drivers that Dell supplies on the Support site are binary drivers that are packaged in the RPM Format. The following steps take you through changing and preparing these binary drivers to work on the Ubuntu Operating System.

  1. Go to the Dell Support Site and enter the service tag of your printer or select your printer type from the list supplied on the page:

    1. Go to the Drivers and Downloads option

    2. Change the operating system shown to Linux.

    3. Download the RPM package ZIPPED file if one is listed. (If there is no package available then go to the next section and checkout the guide for Generic Drivers.)

  2. Find the particular RPM file you need to proceed:

    1. UNZIP / Unpack the file into it's several component items.

    2. Locate the file you need. It will be in the format Linux/Dell-your printer type-version number.i686.rpm

    3. Install the packages you'll need to run this file:

      sudo apt-get install lib32z1 lib32ncurses5 lib32bz2-1.0 rpm2cpio libcups2:i386 libcupsimage2:i386 libc6:i386 libncurses5:i386 libstdc++6:i386 libstdc++6:i386

The next section will take you through installing the driver and making sure it has the right permissions.

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Installing the Drivers

Using the Dell RPM package

Having extracted the file in the section above, its now time to install the driver on your system:

  1. Unpack the RPM package using the following command:

    rpm2cpio your filename.rpm | cpio --extract --make-directories
  2. Ensure the files have the correct permissions:

    sudo chown -R root:root usr
  3. Copy them to the right partition:

    sudo cp -r usr /
  4. Restart cups, the print service:

    sudo service cups restart
  5. Go to the next section to configure your printer.

Using the Ubuntu PCL6 Generic Driver

If there isn't a RPM package available for your particular printer, then you will need to use one of the Generic open source drivers available through Ubuntu.

The PCL generic driver has a number of different versions available on Ubuntu. The different versions refer to the printing command language that each of the printers use. (i.e. how the system talks to the printer.)

The most common are:


This is Postscript and is often the preferred option if compatible.


This is PCL-XL or PCL 6(Enhanced)


This is the latest of several revisions. (Going from PCL 1 through PCL 5c to PCL 6.)

If you can't find this information in your Printers User Guide, you may want to use the Ubuntu community forum to find out which is best for your particular printer. (Remember they will need the Printer type and specification along with which revision of Ubuntu you're using.)

The installation and configuration of the printer using the GUI (Graphical User Interface) are pretty much identical at this point.

If you know the name of the generic package you want to install, you can go ahead an install it using Terminal commands. However I'd recommend just following the steps in the next section.

Note: Please be aware that AIO (All in One) Printers will also require you to install scanner support as well as the printer driver.

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Configuring the Printer

Configuring a Physically connected Printer

There is an existing guide to configuring a physically connected printer using the Ubuntu GUI. (The article deals specifically for a Laser Printer, however the steps are the same for many others including inkjets.)

Configuring a Network connected Printer
Note: These guides only deal with printers and systems on the same network. If you want to allow printing on other networks, then you would need to modify the cupsd.conf file on the server. We will NOT be going into that here.

There are a number of ways you can configure a network printer on Ubuntu. I'll go over the most common below :

  1. Using the Desktop GUI:

    1. Click on the Printer Icon in System Settings.

    2. Click Add in the configuration window that opens.

    3. The New Printer window opens and searches for a connected printer.

    4. Select Network Printer from the Select Device box and make your choice from those onscreen :

      1. If the printer is hosted on a Windows Network, choose the option Windows Printer via SAMBA and follow the onscreen directions.

      2. If the printer is hosted on a Linux Network or is physically connected to another Ubuntu system serving as a Print Server, then you would be looking to select the CUPS(Common UNIX Printing System) ipp:// (Internet Printing Protocol) option and follow the onscreen directions.

      3. If the printer is a WiFi Printer, then look for the Printer Name under the drop down menu Network Printer. If you don't see the printer name listed, then select Find Network Printer and enter the IP address of the printer and follow the onscreen directions.

  2. Using the Terminal (CTRL + ALT + T):

    1. There are a couple of methods to finding the Printer Name / IP address:

      1. You can log onto the print server and run the lpstat command.

      2. You can browse to the servers printers page. (i.e. https://server ip address:631/Printers)

    2. Start up the configuration using the command :

      sudo system-config-printer

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Additional Information :


Software support is provided by Canonical through the following methods:

Technical Support is provided by Dell:

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Article ID: SLN79181

Last Date Modified: 10/16/2018 02:34 AM

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