Just updated the Lenovo ThinkPad T61 to Fedora 19, and it went pretty smoothly. I alternate between two distros on separate partitions, so one can act as the recovery partition for the other, and as a general fall-back. I can pretty much bulk-copy most of my home partition from one to the other and the fresh install will update what’s changed, while I can still retain much of the customization I’ve done.
In this case, I was updating from Linux Mint 12, which had gotten too old to keep up to date. I was replacing an even older Fedora 16 install. The initial versions of Fedora with GNOME3 had just proven too unstable to rely on as my primary development workstation. This new Fedora 19 install put most of the daily tools on the machine, and I’ve been installing utilities —— vim, vim-X11, GIMP, ack —— as I found the need for them.
One of the things that’s better to just redo from scratch is the printing configurations, as the Ubuntu-based Mint and RedHat-related Fedora part ways in this and several other aspects of running an OS. Both are running CUPS, but that’s about as far as it goes.
My laser is an old Lexmark E312L which has its own interesting story: the ‘L’ model was supposed to be Lightweight or Lame or something, sold cheaply in office supply stores, a weaker sibling of the 312 model, with a half-filled toner cartridge and limited to HP-PCL with no PostScript, but it seems that Lenovo had some issues and just slip-streamed the full 312 engine, PostScript and all, into the L models. The only clue are the internal diagnostics you can run by holding down the reset button on startup. Finding the PPD to run that was a bit tricky, but here’s the one that worked for me: PPD page at OpenPrinting.Org. Lesson learned: don’t judge a printer by its cover.
The print server is another thing. The Lexmark only came with parallel and USB ports, so to host it on a network, I bought a IOGear GPSU01 print server over a decade ago. That wild $60 extravagance doesn’t seem so crazy now, after a decade of nearly flawless printing. It serves up nearly every protocol under the sun from Apple File Sharing to Novell (remember them?) to its own HTTP and CUPS servers. The trick with this one was to remember which of the myriad protocols and settings to choose. I found a blog post that set me on the right track, and learned that the optimal settings for my use was to address the printer using the Internet Printing Protocol and the CUPS port as ipp://laser.in.tedroche.com:631/lp1 With those clues in hand, a couple of tweaks to my localhost:631 (my local CUPS server admin interface) and I was printing flawlessly.