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Switch an Epson USB printer to CUPS System

After fighting for most of the day with Epson drivers (on two separate printers) I finally decided to switch them over to a CUPS/GIMP-Print driver. So here is a quick walk-through that should help other people out with a few of the hurdles. This hint will work in either MacOS 10.2 or 10.3, but in 10.2 you have to install the Gimp-Print drivers. I believe that they are part of the default install on 10.3, but if you don't have them installed you will have to go get them.

The first thing you have to do is to figure out what the device name will be. If you already have the printer installed, this is simple: type lpinfo -v at the command line and find the line for your printer. Since I am using an Epson 740i mine looks like this:

usb://EPSON/Stylus%20COLOR%20740?serial=0

A couple of notes on this address, you will need the %20's intact for latter, and you can forget the word direct in front of the line from lpinfo.

Now to add the printer. Go into the Printer Setup Utility and click on "Add Printer" while holding down the Option key. This should bring up a sheet to add the printer, and from the drop-down menu choose "Advanced" (without holding the Option key when you clicked, you would not get this option).

In the device field choose USB (for this example...) and then in the device name put whatever you would like to have the printer called (if you are going to share this printer with non-mac systems it is probably a good idea to use underscores in place of spaces, and otherwise keep to alpha-numeric characters). And in the Device URI field put the location you got from lpinfo. In my case this was usb://EPSON/Stylus%20COLOR%20740?serial=0

Then from the Printer Model drop-down choose the brand of your printer (Epson in my case), and then choose the appropriate model from the list that appears. In my case it was "EPSON Stylus COlor 740, CUPS+Gimp-Print v4.2.5" (I happen to know that there is no difference in this between the 740 and 740i). ANd then click Add.

You should now be able to print to your printer without any Epson software at all. Just a couple of more notes:

Epson has their own take on USB, and thus whenever their software talks to one of their printers there is a chance that it will leave it in a state that it will not talk to anything else. The solution for this is to unplug the printer (power), wait 30 seconds, and then plug it back in. Annoying...

There are typically a lot of settings you can tweak in the Print dialog box. I would recommend that you create a few different pre-sets for your printer. I have one for color documents, and one for black and white ones.

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