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How to revert HP printer’s ban on 3rd-party ink cartridges (deldycke.com)
415 points by kdeldycke on Nov 10, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 255 comments



If all you need is black and white printing, there is no need to be buying HP inkjet printers anymore.

Get yourself a <$100 Brother laser printer and never look back. They work under Linux without any configuration and you can refill the toner for like $5 on eBay.

Mine has been going strong for like 10 years now.


There is a little window on the cartridges the printer shines a light through to detect the toner. When it can see the light you get out-of-toner errors. If you mark over it with a sharpie, it will print again. I'll be the judge of when it's out of toner based on how faded the print is. As infrequently as I print this trick can make a cartridge last months longer.


I used to use a common hole punch to make a little disc from black electrical or black gaffers tape and use that to cover the toner windows because I found that Sharpie just wasn't opaque enough in all cases, especially with my Brother color laser.

And then I discovered the paint pens my wife uses for rock painting. Now, those really work.


Thanks for the tip, I may have to try this next time mine gets low. Do you know if this applies to most toner cartridges?


Seems to be unique to Brother cartridges.


Only problem with Brother on Linux seems that they do bot distribute drivers in source code but a binary-only Debian package. So, while they seem to have a good reputation for Linux support, there is still lots of room for improvement.

Ah, and also on the newwer Brother printers one has to do a complicated configuration menu dance to get rid of "Toner cartridge empty" warnings, in order to do a "Toner Reset", which lets one continue to use a half-empty cartridge. Some kind of fools' tax, it seems.


Why do you need a driver? I thought basically every 2020 printer - and CUPS - supported AirPrint.


Thanks. This is useful info.

Brother's site says my printer does support AirPrint. And through the printer's internal web server, I can see under Network -> Protocol that AirPrint is there and enabled.

I have the binary blob driver installed, so I guess this explains why two entries appear for this printer under Printer settings in Ubuntu.

So, a minor mystery is solved, and I now see that I have the option of removing this driver.


I just last week got a new Brother printer and went through the process of installing the proprietary driver, which for some reason requires the 32 bit version of libc. I had ignored the "Airprint" option because I assumed it had something to do with wireless printing. Apparently it did originally, but now it has more to do with driverless printing. So yes, thank you.


I have a Brother MFC printer on my network and my Ubuntu has it popping up automatically after install. No drivers were needed. Installing on Windows takes more work.


Ah! Yay!


And basically every printer natively supports PostScript and PCL which are "almost generic" but can come with a ppd file that has your printers specific options and error codes.

And I'm seeing lots of printers come with native PDF/DVI support which is nice.


For features other than printing A4 business documents in Fast quality? Photos, CD-R, model making decals etc often require proprietary Windows drivers to do right.

For printing academic research papers in reverse page order to hand staple and read, indeed you don’t need drivers.


Is there Linux support for printing to AirPrint printers though?


Recent printers feature 'IPP Everywhere' which are 'driverless'.

Brother's proprietary garbage driver is not needed for their older printers; there's a reverse-engineered 'brlaser' driver that you can use instead.


I never had to install any drivers. It all just worked.

To be honest, I have no idea how. It just shows up as a network printer.


I have an older model brother, but it requires no drivers on Linux. You just set it up as a generic postscript compatible printer in CUPS.


I agree, the inexpensive laser printers are amazing.

But I do wonder whether this problem will continue to be specific to ink jet printers. It's easy enough to make a laser printer refuse to print with a third party cartridge.

Many refrigerators do the same thing to prevent you from using third party water filters. I think this is a more general pattern than inkjet printers.


There is definitely lots of DRM-type stuff happening in laser printers, mostly on the higher end. It goes beyond just 3rd party, too.

The best example I've heard from this was from {large-copier-manufacturer}. Someone (not an official dealer) in the middle east had purchased a truckload of copiers and cartridges in a fire sale from a business in the UK that was closing. They sold these copiers locally, of course undercutting regular local prices. Everything was fine until all the customers needed new toner, which they purchased locally, and suddenly got errors telling them the toner was incompatible.

What happened is while the copiers themselves are the same globally, the cartridges are region-encoded. The first time the copier powers on, it does a write-once setting to region-lock itself to whatever cartridge is installed. There's apparently no factory reset or software change to modify this setting (in the name of security), so the only fix was either to import cartridge from the UK (which the official dealers can't even do) or replace the mainboard to fully reset the thing back to how it comes from the factory.


If anyone knows of this mentioned by a credible source; I need to know whom to never support financially again.


The printer in the article is a laser printer. The only thing that matters is if the manufacturer thinks customers will accept this abuse.


For whatever it's worth:

I just switched from a Brother printer to Lexmark. Not sure if it's Brother itself or just the model, but my particular printer only could connect over WiFi (no ethernet option), and it kept getting confused about it's IP address and dropping from our network. I bought a different printer after losing several hours of needing to use my limited network engineering skills to diagnose so I could print out worksheets for my kids. I haven't had issues since.


When I did tech support for HP some 20 years ago, our advice to consumers was never to refill your toner as the photo reactive material on the drum would wear over time.

I always assumed this was true and the cartridge would last maybe 2-3x the initial amount of toner. I’m amazed that is 10 years! That’s awesome.


I have seen the photo reactive material wear. Seems to be rough particles come from somewhere and scratch it.


Even if you occasionally do need color I’d consider buying only a black-and-white printer.

The major office supply chains and UPS stores offer online print services, so for the occasional color print job I just send it to one of them and pick it up the next time I’m out for lunch.


Or go to the library!


This is the most annoying trope. Yes, I want color printing. Why wouldn’t I want color printing?

I feel like the “black and white brother laser” attitude is like buying a car with no air conditioning because you’ll save five hundred bucks off the sticker price.

The reason to choose inkjet:

1. Black and white sucks

2. Color lasers are huge and don’t really save money on toner vs. ink for typical home users.

My current printer is an HP OfficeJet 9015, which has been excellent. Zero software needed for Windows 10, iOS (AirPrint), macOS.

Another thing those cheap brother laser printers don’t give you is, you know, features. My inkjet printer has a scanner, auto document feeder with auto duplex, and auto duplex printing.

If you want all that with a color laser you end up with a monstrosity in your house.


> Color lasers are huge

Since all the praise here has been for Brother laser printers, I went looking for the cheapest B&W and color laser printers they offer. That would be the HLL2300D and HLL3210CW respectively. The first one is 14.0" W x 14.2" D x 7.2" H, while the second one is 16.1” W x 18.1” D x 9.9” H. So it's 2 inches wider, 4 inches longer, and 3 inches taller. Doesn't seem that much bigger to me:

https://comparesizes.com/saved/CompareSizes_HLL2300D_vs_HLL3...

> and don’t really save money on toner vs. ink for typical home users.

At the very least, toner cartridges drying out isn't really a thing.

>If you want all that with a color laser you end up with a monstrosity in your house.

Your HP OfficeJet 9015 has official dimensions of 17.3" x 20.46" x 10.94". The Brother MFC9340CDW also has a scanner with ADF with auto-duplex (and does it in one pass, actually), and auto-duplex printing. Its dimensions are 16.1" x 19.0" x 16.1". So it's true that the color laser is taller. However, it has a smaller footprint, which is what matters for most people when trying to situate a printer.

One feature that your OfficeJet does not have that I appreciate (and this Brother AIO has) is a manual feed slot, which lets me skip the rigamarole of emptying the paper tray, fiddling with the tray to fit the envelope or whatever custom paper I'm using, printing, and then reversing what I previously did. That likely contributes at least a little bit to the height.


For the things I print, color doesn't really matter.

Do I care about the color of the airline logo on my bording pass? Nope.

When I print driving directions, do I care about the colors? Maybe a little.

Does color matter for recipies? Not really.

I still got a color laser printer during lockdown to replace the inkjet that I can't print to with Chrome OS anymore (thanks to Google killing Cloud Print). It wasn't too much extra to support it for just in case, and color toner won't spoil by sitting like on the inkjet.


I think it's a trope because most people really don't need color printing, so that advice is appropriate for them.

I, for example, have only ever used my printer to print such things as tickets and documents which must be mailed for bureaucratic reasons. My hunch is that this describes many others too.


I think that “most people” really means “most programmer type computer nerds on hacker news.”

I think most people prefer having color. The top 8 printers on Best Buy’s website are all color and/or photo printers.


Brother also has a handy iOS app for printing and scanning.


It's available on Android too.


I wish the first thread I saw was this enthusiastic about Brother. I've got an HP delivering today because it sounded like the Linux driver support was more solid -- didn't see a mention of this proprietary cartridges nonsense. Mea culpa for not doing more research I guess.


The latest Brother lasers also have proprietary cartridges, but the chip that does the DRM just slides out of a slot in the cartridge and so as long as you don't discard it you can keep reusing that chip in unofficial cartridges.

With IPP (AirPrint) built into CUPS now, my Brother actually works better (has a bigger range of print options) without their drivers installed.


I've found cheap Chinese replacement cartridges on Amazon for my Brother color laser that come with the chip. Not that it's hard to move the chip over, but the price was the same as ones without the chip. Hopefully firmware updates won't break these working.


The brother drivers are junk. However there is no reason to use them - the printers are completely standard and don't need drivers. Though in some cases it is some effort to figure out how to configure the printer.


Works with airprint with no hassle either.


Mine doesn't have the allow downgrades option I think. But this worked for me:

> "Unplug printer’s power cord from the back of the printer

Press and HOLD the power button

Plug power cord back in (keep holding power button)

The HP logo will appear then the screen will go blank

Hold power button for 10 seconds and then release it

Press HOME BUTTON ONCE (top left)

Press RETURN/BACK ARROW ONCE (bottom left)

Press HOME BUTTON TWICE

That should bring up the control screen

NOTE: On my printer I couldn’t see the home or back buttons lit up but if you press to the left of the display area the buttons still work.

Press MFG (Top Left)

Press NEXT (Top Right)

The screen idled with some weird looking grid design and status bar so I pressed the Power button and it went to the main printer screen on the display."

Source: https://borncity.com/win/2018/09/19/blocks-hp-firmware-updat...

And for the love of God don't let your printer out to the Internet any more, they may push a malicious update and disable this workaround in the future (or might have done it already in newer firmware?).


Just throw it out already, sheesh.


And now there is plastic in our oceans and deep underground. Strange how that happened really.


I feel you, but that's an orthogonal problem (although with the same root cause: greed. "Love of money is the root of all evil.", eh?)

In some places (Germany IIRC) manufacturers have to take back and dispose of e.g. refrigerators and other appliances. No reason that kind of full-lifecycle management shouldn't also be applied to printers, eh?


How do I use a printer without an Internet connected computer either connected to or integrated into it?


My Laserprinter is connected via USB to my NAS. CUPS offers all the shenanigans, so it's autodetected by iDevices, Android, Windows and Mac on the network. Linux users usually figure it out within 30 minutes.


If you don't want to go the USB route, put the printer on its own separate VLAN and/or Wifi network and filter all outbound traffic from that network at the router unless (1) part of a connection initiated from the other side and (2) aimed at another local host. Filter traffic going the other way (opening those connection) to taste - perhaps allow access only to the IPP port and certainly don't allow any inbound traffic to hit it from the wider world.

It's far from perfect - most importantly it doesn't stop manufacturers from making printers which only work if they have an always-on internet connection, and also doesn't stop a scheme where the proprietary Windows/etc drivers send the firmware as part of a print payload, but it probably works "enough" for now.

One other problem with this approach is that it isn't easily open to anyone non-technical.


Another problem is if the update is packaged in a print job, which seems to be an option according to comments here. In that case, the Internet connected computer may still be hijacked by the manufacturer to bork the printer against the customers will, by sending a malicious print job to the printer.


There's internet connected - the printer can pull updates... and there's internet connected - the world can send you print jobs.

Why would your printer be set to allow print jobs from outside your network?


The driver & related crapware on your computer can push firmware update to the printer. From the perspective of your firewall, it goes the same route as a regular print job.


Usb. If you want, set up a raspberry pi as a cups print server.


You could configure your router to only allow traffic from the printer to devices on the LAN, but at this point I would throw it out and buy a new one.


Return it for a refund and buy a different one.

Otherwise, how will HP and the shops selling this crap learn?


If it’s outside your return period, you’re SOL usually. You may have a civil case over what could be argued as “crippling” the product, but it wouldn’t be as easy.


It's probably a small claims court matter, and those usually side with the customer.


There is a setting in the menu to disable updates.

I reckon that'll do the job. If you enable it, various features get disabled like the ability to email a pdf file to the printer for it to print.


If it's networked, just manually add an IP address and don't specify a gateway.


With hp instantink you are forced to connect to the internet if you want to receive ink refills


Of course, I don't want to stay in any business relationship with HP. But I ordered a bunch of 3rd party cartridges and want to use them up at least before getting rid of this junk.

The above hack was useful for me, so that the already bought 3rd party ink won't go to waste.


I thought this was illegal and why the third party cartridge market is so big. Anyway, I wouldn't recommend inkjet printers for normal home users: for plain text, I'd use a B&W laserjet printer and if I had to print in color (like broschures or food recipes with photos), I'd use a color laserjet. For quality photos, I'd send them in to a professional service: it's still pretty cheap compared to inkjet printing...

I've had it with inkjet cartridges drying or having to be wasted as the printer takes them through a "restoration procedure" if it was long enough since you last printed, and you have to second guess your printer whether it's really just spending your ink, or if it does indeed do only what is absolutely necessary to not have them dry up.


>I thought this was illegal and why the third party cartridge market is so big.

Are you talking about the Lexmark case? That was the Supreme Court ruling against Lexmark's claim of patent infringement by a 3rd-party ink refiller.[1]

That ruling doesn't apply to 1st-party manufacturers using electronics/software/DRM to make 3rd-party accessories incompatible. That's why it's currently legal for Apple's T2 chip to not validate 3rd-party repairs and Keurig coffee maker to check for approved K-Cups.

[1] https://www.google.com/search?q=impression+vs+lexmark


I use inkjet printers and I am very satisfied. I am using an Epson printer with what they call EcoTank. Just tanks with different color inks that you can refill yourself.


Two major problems with the Epson EcoTank printer:

1) The Epson EcoTank has a fixed printhead system where if the printhead gets damaged or clogged, then replacing it can become expensive. Over time or if you do not print continuously, the printhead can become damaged and/or clogged. HP/Canon keeps the printhead on the cartridge itself so the printheads are replaced continuously.

2) There is an infamous problem "Epson Ink pad is at the end of its service life error". The Ink pad absorbs excess ink during printing and needs to be replaced after a while. Unfortunately to reset the error you need to send it back to Epson for servicing (even if you replace the inkpad itself). Epson claims that this error is also tied to the service lifetime of other parts in the system and they would need to be replaced as well (AKA: planned obsolescence).

The cost of shipping + servicing + parts replacement is more than just replacing the printer all together.

Even though the EcoTank fixes the ink refill issue it forces you to buy a whole new printer after a certain amount of use.


Have to say this was a life saver during lockdown. 100s of full colour pages later and still not a dent in the ink levels. Really amazing


How’s the ink life? As in: does it “dry up”? Because inkjets have a tendency to do that over time.


my ink jets always dried up. I print once a month or so. by inkjets would clog, then I'd have to use my ink to unclog it. I switched back to a laser printer. so much more durable.


This is a LaserJet printer he's talking about FWIW.


Yeah, the headline should be "...ban[s] 3rd-party toner cartridges".


Good point. And sorry for the imprecision. Just fixed it: https://github.com/kdeldycke/kevin-deldycke-blog/commit/6306...


I bought an original HP cartridge for my Laserjet printer because I read that 3rd party cartridges may have issues with displaying the amount of ink left. Everything was all fine until the other day I did some cleaning on my desk and put my printer on the floor for 15 minutes. Since I put it back on my desk, it has been complaining that the cartridge is close to being empty, whereas it should be at about 70%. I removed the cartridge and put it back but nothing changed. In light of the post, it may be interesting if anyone else had a similar issue with either the original or the 3rd party cartridge.


There is no level sensor in cartridges. It simply counts pages and time. After a fixed number of pages, or a fixed number of days, it says "ink is low".


There absolutely is a level sensor in many toner cartridges these days. Are you still using a 90s model LaserJet?


We use an inkjet because we need color. My wife is a teacher and prints often enough that the ink never dries up.

What you need if you want to print ink often is an inkjet with CISS (continuous inkjet supply system). You used to have to hack these together with third party gear (which I've done), but now the companies sell their own models. Take a look at the Epson EcoTank products. We've have one for a couple years, and it works very well. Ink is cheap and lasts a long time. And no way the printer can tell if you're using third party ink or not :)


It's often the "all-in-one" nature that make these printers so attractive. Yes, master of none, but most consumer grade lasers tend not to have copiers/scanners or (shudder) fax capability. The (deceivingly) low entry price for "all that power!" seals the deal. It also avoids having multiple printers, which is tough in a small room. So most folks take the quality hit knowingly, even as they don't prepare for the companies to change the rules, on an already purchased product, midstream.


Yeah, but you can get a decent small-form factor scanner for ~$50 these days.

Tbh they're so cheap that often I'll buy one to use for a little while and give it away to some art student only to buy another later when I need one again. Just to save space.

It's still cheaper than using those horrid inkjet all in ones.


Agree with you on all points but have to comment on the high quality photos. I think there is a huge market for ability to print them at home due to how many people have families/share photos in hard copy form. The turnaround time for getting those printed even at a local shop is prohibitive and totally worth it having a top of the line inkjet printer. Color laser does not come close.


Most of printer drivers are BS. I also bought a printer after lockdown, and had to spent hours to do research on the printer model that's interested me: Mac & linux compatible. The result is Brother is the most reliable and less BS than the rest printers. In the end, I bought a wireless Brother printer, and you can throw whatever cartridge in to it.


I have run a paperless business (and life, mostly) for the past 10 years. For some old-fashoned customers I always carried a Brother DS-mobile 600 portable document scanner in my bag.

The scanner was expensive, but really nice. And it worked perfectly with MacOS 'capture' application that existed on Snowleapard (10.6).

However, Apple removed TWAIN support in MacOs Lion (10.7), and Brother refused to release updated drivers. The only way to use the scanner was using the horribly bloated third party scanning software, that was basically useless for document scanning (but it did allow you to draw a hat on the photo of your dog!). Up to this day they still market the scanner as 'MacOS compatible'.

Ironically, my scanner is now an expensive paperweight. Which makes it double useless, since I have no paper.


A solution (if you still need the scanner) is to use VueScan: https://www.hamrick.com

It's an application that has its own (reverse-engineered) drivers for many USB scanners that doesn't depend on the system having support for it. I've used it and it works perfectly, though the UI is quite complex at first glance due to the amount of various configuration options it offers.


I did end up using VueScan, but not being impressed with it. My use case was scanning 1 or more pages into a PDF document. This was really easy to do with Apple's 'Capture' software. None of the alternatives (like VueScan) came close to the effectiveness of Capture.

I remember also being quite annoyed that I had to spend more money on a VueScan license, just because Brother refused to release a compatible driver for a scanner that was then still sold as new and 'MacOS compatible'. This was not a cheap scanner, the least they could have done was to compensate the license cost of the piece of software that made their product usable.


VueScan it's good but doesn't helps if there isn't scanner drivers.

I've have old ScanJet 3600C and it's still works flawless. But no drivers for new macOS versions.

And short research found this: http://www.sane-project.org


I've tried endlessly to get SANE running on OS-X back then (in the SnowLeopard days) and could never get it running.

I guess I kind of lost my sanity with SANE ;-)

Anyway, it wasn't a solution, extremely hacky at most. Not something what you want to spend your time on if you buy a scanner that is supposed to work with your OS.


The point of VueScan is that it acts as its own driver; it accesses the scanner directly via USB without relying on an OS-level driver so it should work (they have a free trial version to test with).


I've trying trial version and doesn't works for me.


Haven’t used VueScan for ages, but it was essential in the early days of MacOS X.

Most scanner makers wouldn’t release new drivers, so VueScan was the only way to get often quite expensive hardware working again.


It seems like Apple takes the walled garden principle to its extremes. What harm TWAIN support was doing? Maybe they want the ability to see the documents users are scanning? Sometimes it could be a valuable source of IP.


Try https://exactcode.com, has buildin scanner drivers.


Install Linux?


I’ve had a little Brother laser printer for 10 years. Works with macOS (and every prior version of OS X), Linux, and is now operating as a remote CUPS printer connected to an RPi. I’ve only has to replace the toner once. Thing is a tank and I loathe thinking about having to replace it someday.


Even if you do, Brother still make great printers that work with aftermarket toners.

Build quality has gone down a little but so have all brands.


My brother printer is actually 20 years old and still works. Have had to replace the roller once and the ink a few times, and it's not wireless but for how rarely I print I've definitely got my money's worth.


Linux support for HP requires some HP daemon running at all times and in my experience fails in edge cases where a standard Linux integration would not. I also don't like their logo on my Linux task bar, no one else requires that to make a printer 'go'.

Recently got a Xerox, it's better.


It does not require that; just some users install it for some reason.

I do have a LaserJet at home; all I did was to connect it to the network and it popped up in the printer dialogs on Linux and Mac machines. On Linux, standard cups+hplip that's in the default package set in most distributions does the job.


HP's out-of-the-box instructions are terrible and assume your printer might not be on your network. Any JetDirect-enabled HP printer requires no local process/service on your workstations or other devices. You just throw PS/PCL at port 9100, or maybe IPP at 631, and install a reasonably-recent PPD for your printer's model line (this is the point of installing hplip from your distro). There isn't a driver per-se as the OS is responsible for creating the postscript and/or PCL from your document, just as it would for making a PDF. If you can't install a PPD you can just manually set the capabilities (duplex, highest PS version, resolution, tray sizes) in the native print UI, like for a mobile device


HP laserjets have pretty good Linux support, it's usually plugnplay on Ubuntu.


Confirmed, although it should be noted that some may require a blob ("Binary plugin") in order to print and/or scanning (mosts frequently scanning). See table here: https://developers.hp.com/hp-linux-imaging-and-printing/bina....

  > Most Linux distributions include HPLIP with their software, but most do not include the plug-in
This is not exactly pleasing for open source enthusiasts (me included).


That proprietary plugin for scanning provides WSD and eSCL (AirScan) support. However, your distro might use recent enough sane and sane-airscan, that does support these protocols.

Due to recommendation here on HN, I've been checking Brother laser printers. They also require installing a proprietary package from the manufacturer, and a proprietary tool for the print queue setup.


Is that a more recent thing for Brother? I have one (probably c5 years old) and although there are proprietary drivers if you want them, it will happily accept PCL or even PostScript (PostScript is slower though) over IPP and it has a basic interface on its http port (toner levels, page counts, etc).

It wasn't the lowest-end model but it wasn't super-expensive either. I think the next model down was the same but wouldn't take PostScript.


I was checking Brother MFC-L2712DW and found this: https://support.brother.com/g/b/downloadlist.aspx?c=eu_ot&la...

Can anyone confirm, that this is not necessary and it works OOB with software shipped with distributions? (I need it to work with Ubuntu 20.04 and future LTS releases, preferably without anything that would bite me two years down the line).


I don't have this model but it's likely to work fine for printing - the specs say it accepts PCL and there are decent profiles shipped now with the normal Linux distros for Brother printers. You might need to select a different model which is "close" to get optimal output and/or experiment a bit.

Scanning is more difficult to tell but it may well work using SANE's AirScan driver, called eSCL as it looks like this model supports AirScan/AirPrint scanning. This shouldn't need the proprietary drivers as I understand it. The next models up (MFC-273x and higher) look like they support scanning and saving directly to an FTP server or CIFS/SMB share on your network which wouldn't need a driver so that might be a more surefire option.


Thanks.


I've tested two HP laser all-in-one models (MFP series), and the scanner did not work at all without the plugin. But I have no experience with other models.


HP Color LaserJet MFP M181fw here.

Year ago, the plugin was needed for the scanning. Today, it works out of the box with Fedora 33, no plugin (I'm using eSCL mode).

Fedora 33 ships with sane 1.0.31, sane-airscan 0.99.18 and hplip 3.20.9.


I prefer the list at https://developers.hp.com/hp-linux-imaging-and-printing/supp... which shows which models do not need the blob.


I have had nothing but problems with HP LaserJet CP1025nw color on Ubuntu in the last five years or so (and on Arch I could not make it print anything). Bought it based on similar comments, so buyer beware.

The only thing that has worked (at all) has been the instructions and software from http://foo2zjs.rkkda.com/, even if the site looks way too sketchy to my liking. Recently, though, even those drivers have started misbehaving and do not print the last centimeter or two on the page---the solution is to select upside down printing in the print settings.


The zjs printers on Linux are a PITA. I have a LaserJet 1020. And I have had times where it worked flawlessly, then a change in a kernel module or anything else and stoped working but not always only sometimes, sometimes the distribution drivers worked, others only the ones in the ffo2zjs page ones, so I had to change from one to the other . Now it looks like they are more stable and only had problems once when someone made a mistake in an update of the driver it was solved in less than a week once located.


Unless it is a printer+scanner combo, which requires some proprietary part that is downloaded by hplip package from HP web, and causes random breakage during upgrades.


I've gone for an OKI office machine (MC532) for around 220€. Its a color laser printer and also exists with a scanner version. I have some issues with Linux printing via USB but via network all works great. When i, a humble mortal consumer, had issues with the driver I shot them an email and within 2 days had a call with tier 2 support which tpol > 1h with me on the phone to try different scenarios. Really impressed by that service quality.

My lesson: avoid consumer companies.


Besides all the obvious stuff, what also bugs me about this tactic is that it makes people weary of performing (or allowing automatic) firmware upgrades for printers, historically one of the least secure devices on a network.


My Epson has been bugging about a firmware update for ages. Not a chance I’m going to upgrade as it kicks up enough of a fuss about third-party ink as it is.


The most infuriating thing about Epson inkjets is that they refuse to function if any color ink is low. I can't print black and white right now because I'm waiting on a yellow cartridge to arrive. Most bizarre is that I never actually print color, except for running calibration, so I don't know where all the ink went.


Every time you turn an inkjet printer on and regularly if it stays on, it will squirt some ink on a sort of pad or in a padded reservoir. This is to avoid the cartridge to clog (and maybe also forcing people to buy new ink, but it is probably hard to prove what is the right amount for just unclogging).


And if you have your inkjet too long, that reservoir will overflow and leave sticky ink sludge all over your desk and floor... If you wipe it up with a cloth, that cloth will be forever black. If you use hands to do it, your hands will be black for months.


The yellow ink is used to print a faint serial number on every page, meant to track back to you if you use the printer to counterfeit money.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_Identification_Code


> meant to track back to you if you use the printer to counterfeit money...

Lol, because a $100 printer from Amazon can just pop out sheets of cash, even though they don't have any color shifting ink, no way to do the lithograph printing.

I think these were developed before authorities realized how much power online (dis)information would have--it was all about trying to lock down speech and publication freedom, turning household printers into government minders.


it's also used to prove exfiltration of documents and catch leakers. reality winner was captured this way https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reality_Winner


I was going to mention that although I didn't remember if it was conclusively proven to be that. I think the bigger issue is that she printed it on an agency printer so they were easily able to get the list of everyone who had printed it (not many) and work from there.

Certainly, the NSA could put firmware on its own printers (as could any organization that needed it) so that is no justification for putting it in all printers with no notice to the user.


Oh there is that too... That would be interesting to have an estimationn of how much that makes.


Yellow is also printed underneath black to make the black blacker


That really sounds like you should be buying a new printer, not new cartridges for this printer. (I'm going to mirror the suggestions from everywhere else in this thread and tell you to get a laser, especially since you don't ever print color.)


Some inkjet printers have an extremely scuzzy behavior where they use all the colors to make "black" -- not because it's what you want, but to sell more ink



What happens if you give them local WIFI but block them from reaching outbound?


They can still be used by malware to gain persistence on a network, or to escalate their privileges.


How is this not something akin to an anti-trust issue?

Fun story. I had a printer for a while, and then I just didn't after university. I don't print anything anymore. To no loss at all. It's either on my phone or I write things with a pen.


> I don't print anything anymore.

I wish =/ Most of the documents I have to print are documents to be printed, signed, and scanned again (or sent by mail - not email).

Some (including my employer) still don't accept anything else than signature on real paper somehow.. Luckily I have a "re-purpose device" at home (a young child with a huge appetite for drawings), but I'd still like to avoid this waste.


Fun fact: on the receiving end they usually have complex systems in place to scan and process those documents back into digital format. And the people working with it pay good money to OCR those scanned documents to make the whole system usable.

This is sometimes referred to as the 'five monkeys with a ladder' paradigm [0] (not to be confused with the '5 monkey experiment'). It basically comes down to: we must use paper format, because we have always done it that way, though nobody knows why we still do it.

Having worked on a paperless accounting startup, I though that paper was still used for legal reasons. It turns out that (for most countries) this is mostly a misunderstanding. Digital documents are just as valid (if not higher level of assurance) as its paper counterparts. Many businesses still insist on the 'signature with a blue ink pen' thing, but again that is due to the 5 monkeys with a ladder problem.

[0] https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/6828/was-the-ex...


We do almost all of our internal legal documents paperless (or at least accept scans as equivalent).

Some of our legal documents in the Czech Republic have had to be wet ink on paper originals only, no scans or copies allowed. I’m not sure how much of that is superstition on the parts of lawyers/bankers and how much is genuine, but it’s the only jurisdiction where I frequently have to send originals.


There's also the whole issue that entities (usually governments) have no unified and standardised way of encrypting mails yet, thus to not be open for data protection law lawsuits, they just use paper and mail, which is considered a safe transfer of documents.


it might be easier to bring a whole bunch of papers to the taxman when they call you to explain yourself.


Last time I was asked to do this, I imported the PDF in Gimp, rotated the picture slightly, pasted my signature and converted to 1 bit. Looked enough like a scan.


Some PDF viewers (e.g., Preview, Okular) let you place images of your signature on a document and then export the "signed" version. I haven't had issues with getting these documents accepted.


I've got a tablet so can actually sign PDFs with a proper signature.

None the less, a company the other day insisted that I print out a form, sign it, take a picture of the signed form and send them that. It was almost enough to bin them off, but unfortunately I was deep enough in the bureaucracy by that point that sucking it up was less hassle.


I just use this oneliner to "scan" it:

convert -density 130 input.pdf -rotate 0.33 -attenuate 0.15 +noise Multiplicative -colorspace Gray output.pdf


> How is this not something akin to an anti-trust issue?

It probably (if not certainly) is .. but with authorities systematically failing their duties on that subject, and for a long time too, don't expect much (if anything) to come from that.

The sad (and in my personal opinion: criminal) reality is that the (official) meaning/interpretation of anti-trust has been systemically eroded over the years. No doubt as a consequence of relentless lobbying (corruption?), to the point it has become pretty much a total farce.

One does not have to look far to find more examples of companies getting away with what should be punished as anti-trust behavior. HP is hardly an exception and don't expect anything to change. If anything, it might just get worse. By now, pretty much the whole system is designed to resist any change that isn't in favor of those who "invest" (lobby) into it.

Pragmatically speaking, the only mitigation here is to avoid printing as much as possible. It won't do much, and certainly won't change a thing .. but at least this criminal enterprise will not get a penny of mine.


> It probably (if not certainly) is .. but with authorities systematically failing their duties on that subject, and for a long time too, don't expect much (if anything) to come from that.

It's likely not an anti-trust issue. No single manufacturer has anything close to a monopoly and there's no legal duty to make it the printers compatible with third party modules. At best, some consumer might argue a case that there was an expectation of third party compatibility when they purchased their printers. Even that would be difficult to prove though.

Vote with your wallet and buy something that will work with third party ink. Go a step further and avoid all HP products. That's the only way this will be solved.


> It's likely not an anti-trust issue. No single manufacturer has anything close to a monopoly ..

Funny .. It's exactly this kind of response that illustrates what I meant with the erosion of the meaning of anti-trust.

You appear to hold a rather narrow definition of what anti-trust means. One that is not surprisingly rather convenient for a lot of companies these days, and as mentioned a result of systemic lobbying efforts (for decades). Feel free to know little about history, and go make those same mistakes all over again. Just don't even dare complain, when you end up regretting it.

> ... and there's no legal duty to make it the printers compatible with third party modules.

I never argued there is such a thing. There is a legal duty to prosecute anti-trust violations though.

> Vote with your wallet and buy something that will work with third party ink. Go a step further and avoid all HP products. That's the only way this will be solved.

Sadly, that won't solve it either (history has a way of proving that point). But it is indeed the only thing you can really do. Still, as an argument it is about as valid as saying: "don't go out on the street after dark, if you do not want to get killed".

Might be equally true, pragmatically speaking. But totally side-steps that your country has a legal duty to at least try keep you from being murdered for no reason. You know .. because it signed and ratified that pesky little document called the Universal Declaration of Human Right ;-)


I'm sure some clever executive figured out they'd increase revenue enough before they were hit by a regulator or lawsuit to more than cover the subsequent apologies and announcement of their new firmware that loves free markets and customers SO MUCH that it accepts other cartridges again (but HP can't guarantee quality! So sad!).

I generally print things on the order of single digit pages per year, but some people do things like print PDFs to read them or still live in fax land, etc. E-ink is making some inroads, but a fair portion of the population does like text on something physical and highlightable and pen-markable.


> I'm sure some clever executive figured out they'd increase revenue enough before they were hit by a regulator or lawsuit

It's a pretty easy calculation, because they're not going to be forced to change anything. The race is against publicity and a loss of customer goodwill, not regulation. Who regulates businesses anymore for anything other than being owned by a Chinese person?


Try distance learning with your kids... Thanks to corona my printing has gone from 5pages/month to >30/day ;)


Since this is not an agreement in restraint of trade, just a unilateral action, then antitrust law would only have something to say if HP had a monopoly on printers, which no one can seriously argue.


I can understand HP wanting to prevent their customers from being conned into buying false cartridges, or wanting to ensure the best possible experience for customers. But. Is it not enough to bring up a dialogue or warning telling the user it's false and they are breaking warranty, rather than outright disabling the cartridge?

This seems like HP is acting anti-competitively, such that a third party would struggle to feasibly make a part for the printer. Reasons that a third party may make a non-official part:

* It's cheaper

* It improves on HP design (flaws)

* It offers some additional functionality not provided by standard parts

* They offer support past HPs official support, preventing contribution of e-waste


> But. Is it not enough to bring up a dialogue or warning telling the user it's false and they are breaking warranty, rather than outright disabling the cartridge?

Nope; their business model is cartridges and ink, not so much printers. 3rd party cartridges impacts their bottom line. There's a few companies who have consumables as their business model, Keurig is another that added "DRM"-like features to their stuff. Juicero tried it with an extremely overbuilt, but ultimately stupid device with overpriced bags of fruit as the consumables.


Your willingness to entertain the thought that HP may be acting on behalf of their customer's best interests is certainly commendable, but I don't think HP deserves it.

It's common knowledge that ink cartridges are a racket and the real money maker for printer manufacturers. I have absolutely zero doubt that this move was only done in order to coerce their users into buying ridiculously overpriced first-party cartridges.


I don't want to give them any tips but they could allow 3rd party ink but then intentionally make the printer spew the ink around in smudges and with color streaks etc when it think the ink is 3rd party. This would ruin the reputation of 3rd party ink and make people "learn" that they have to buy branded ink to get acceptable prints.


> This seems like HP is acting anti-competitively

I believe that they are and that it's not just a feeling. Some of their printers also used to tell your cartridges were empty before they were.

Printer breaks very fast and support don't really help you: https://sebsauvage.net/streisand.me/matronix/index.php?20200... (french).

Their policy on recurring payment is also pretty damning: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/11/ink-stained-wretches-b...


> I can understand HP wanting to prevent their customers from being conned into buying false cartridges, or wanting to ensure the best possible experience for customers.

Nah, that's just the marketing PR blurb they attach to this stuff.

The real reason is $$$, nothing else.


Sometimes I think "but won't this hurt them in the long term? After dealing with HP printers I get nautious when looking at an HP logo, I get this bracing defensive adversarial feeling, this can't be good for a brand".

But then I realize I'm not a typical consumer, and most of us aren't, here on HN.

Do typical consumers even have the vocabulary and mental concepts in place (the basics you learn in e.g. free software philosophy, right to repair movement, etc).

I think most people don't. They just see that "Hm, the machine says this ink is bad. Damn those guys who sold it to me! I guess I can only trust genuine HP products." I don't think normal people's reaction is to suspect malevolent marketing and updates. I think when people don't have a good mental model of what is going on they will just take it at face value and therefore the HP brand won't suffer much damage even in the long term.


Another possibility is they're trapped by other agreements that prevent them from voting with their wallet.

The obvious example is predatory MSPs where they talk their customers into certain printers and sell them ink. A 10% commission on a $600 set of toners is easy money compared to a $150 set of toners where a 10% ($15) commission isn't even possible.

The other less obvious one is franchises. Part of the franchise agreement will include having corporate be the supplier for all the lease hold improvements, all the furnishing, office supplies, etc., plus all of the ongoing consumables. It's sold as consistency to protect the brand, but a lot of it is about increasing profits for the corporate side at the expense of their franchisees. I've seen it first hand.

In the case I saw, I knew someone who bought into a franchise and asked me about some of the tech stuff. The franchise sold them cheap products with too much markup, but the most egregious was the printer. They were sold a cheap inkjet printer and they were buying 2-3 sets of cartridges per month. That's $3000-4000 per year (CAD) for printing. It may not sound like much, but this was a small business where they were hoping for $30k-$60k of (owner absent) annual profit.

The reason behind that is twofold. First, the franchises are easier to sell because the upfront costs are lower and the purchaser usually doesn't realize the trade-off is higher ongoing and total (lifetime) operating costs. The second is because the franchise supplier is making money off of those higher ongoing costs. It's awful for the franchisees and many of them don't realize what's happening until they're all-in.

TLDR; It's predators all the way down :-(


I really doubt that... In my environment (from helping people with their computers) I regularly hear things like "Damn HP, wanting €80 for a set of tiny ink cartridges".

And most people know very well how to find their aftermarket ink, either in the shop or online. None of them think what they're buying is official. Sometimes (but rarely) really cheap ink does cause printer problems, but even then it's worth the risk. An Inkjet is pretty much "total loss" after the first ink change anyway (a full cartridge set costs close to what the printer is worth).

I always advise Epson EcoTank ones for inkjet use (though these are pretty pricey) and Brother for laser (which besides not being bound to expensive toners are actually some of the cheapest printers around too). For most people a simple B/W laser is sufficient anyway (and just to order photos online).

But they often end up falling for Canon, Lexmark or HP again because they're just cheap and fall for their marketing even though they were bitten by extremely overpriced cartridges before... <facepalm>


I think most people are perfectly capable of understanding the idea of low upfront costs and high maintenance costs. But if you're not expecting to print a lot, the payback time for a more expensive printer with cheaper ink/toner could easily be several years. People are used to replacing consumer electronics every few years anyway, and the 1 or 2 year guarantees reinforce that.


In the US, I believe the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prevents HP from voiding your warranty for using third party cartridges.


A VP at HP once told me they make 3/4 of their profits from selling inks (I am sure he exaggerated but still).

You can buy original laserjet cartridges for $150 or third party cartridges for $40-60 (or $25 if you are happy with noname Chinese cartridges). So there is big money involved.


That number could make sense if 'toner' counts as ink. And TBF, a lot of the nice multifunction printers of the 2000s were sold at a pretty decent loss.

> (or $25 if you are happy with noname Chinese cartridges).

Okay so I'm not one of those '3rd party evil' people. But speaking as someone who has had to repair multiple large format Inkjet and Laser printers, I would have at least a few concerns about Hazmat; even first party toner is pretty nasty stuff.


When a set of 4 toner cartridges is $800 from HP for a $600 printer and the high-quality, I’ve used before, 3rd party toners are $120 for the set, let’s just say that HP won’t be getting that purchase.


What's weird to me is big enough offices tend to switch to a subscription paid by the page, where the maker is engaged in doing reasonably whatever it takes (ink replacement, parts replacement etc.) to keep the machine printing.

I heard of such arrangements with Canon, I heard for Xerox, and it seemed to be pretty standard. As long as there was no manipulation errors the company had no need to care about durability, maintenance etc.


Greed should be the downfall of their printer business. Using technical measures to artificially limit consumer choice should be illegal.

In Canada we have 123ink.ca. For my Brother printer a set of genuine high yield cartridges is $520. A completely generic set is $105. However, they also have their own (Moustache) branded set that's $130.

I suspect their branded version is just a different sticker on the generic, but I buy the branded version. If they're willing to stamp their name on it and stand behind it that's worth $25 (+24%) to me. A brand name isn't worth $415 (+495%) though.

These companies have ignored the risk of cheating their customers for a long time and now that customers are getting more informed the same companies think they should be able to force customers keep buying their garbage. No thanks. Their downfall should be swift and spectacular (in my dreams -lol).


That is funny we heard the same thing from a high up at HP


Oh, HP and their black magic "prints". Back when I had to restore a Z2100 plotter for my employer, I found out that all the "clean printhead", "print test plots" and other commands - including when you launch them from the printer buttons instead from the web interface - are just ordinary print jobs under the hood.

If you ask me, this is one huge security hole waiting to be exploited.

And if anyone ever wants to play around with the Z2100 or the formatter (HP50XI/SCR or HP50XISCR)... they're x86 Linux based!

Reboot the printer in Service mode, navigate to "Service Utility", then "Enable/Disable Firewall" and upon a reboot you get a SSH root shell. Kill all processes, sync the disk, and dd it out to your computer, as the laptop PATA disk on the formatter is encrypted. If you're afraid of the PATA disk ever failing, take a CF card, a CF to 2.5in mini IDE adapter, dd the image from the previos step and replace the old disk.


Samsung did similar thing with their S9 and probably other phones. You had perfectly working call recording functionality until it was blocked by software update that you cannot turn off - you can only postpone every day or so.


They also removed the photosphere feature from their phone's camera app when they released the Gear 360.

I'm not saying they're not allowed to do that, but it did make me want to never buy a Samsung phone again.


I have the same feeling about Samsung. I am shopping for a new phone, unfortunately I cannot find any review that would say whether call recording works on a particular phone.


Disgusting HP, I've actually liked them for their nice Linux support..

Does not matter though, I got a Ricoh MP C2500 for "picking" it up, the 4 toners ( CMYK ) cost around $320, then here's toner for the rest of my life, and I get to print and scan a4 and a3 in duplex. Really nice machine, has network support and trays for multiple paper sizes.. amazing what people throw out these days. I'd never go back, this machine is even well enough built that spare parts can be bought for it and it's well documented how to service it.


Brother has good Linux support from my experience. The drivers installed easily on my fedora machines and printed perfectly. When I installed the printer in windows it spit out 20 sheets of gibberish. Never thought I'd see the day when a printer worked better on Linux.


The first color laser printer I bought was a brother, the drivers were all but impossible to adjust, it'd put way too much toner on (but only when printing from linux), and the printer would seize up, jam paper and just flat out refuse to work most of the time, it had a service agreement on it, and I had a technician come to our house 3 times and he never managed to solve the problem either, so while I had a lot of respect for brother, that incident made me change my mind.


Interesting. I have the exact same printer (HP Color LaserJet M254dw) and was curious to see if it automatically updated itself. The firmware datecode on my printer, 20190807, is even older than what the author downgraded to.

I'm not sure if I turned auto updates off when I set the printer up. I did go through most of the configuration UI via a web browser and know that I switched it to "IT-managed" mode - maybe that turned off auto updates. The printer is on a VLAN that connects to the internet, but I've turned off every option that sounds like it reaches out to a cloud service.

Overall, this is a decent printer for me. It seems to meet all of my requirements - I can leave it unused for long periods and it will still wake up and print as soon as I tell it to. It's a laser printer, so no worries about clogged nozzles/dried up ink. There are four individual toner cartridges, so no need to a set of three colours because one ran out. Windows and MacOS both discovered the printer on the network and automatically figured out the drivers.

Printers generally suck, but this one doesn't seem to suck too badly.


HP printers do in-band firmware updates via print jobs?


Actually, yeah. It's actually a really great solution, because it means you don't have to write a complicated firmware update protocol for every platform; you just "print" the firmware upgrade, and it gets the job done for you.

Of course, it opens up the printer to some pretty serious security problems, but let's just ignore that...


An old Actiontec router I had actually used FTP to recover its firmware. I recall having to use a QUOTE FLASH command.


Instead of disabling auto-updates you can also clear the default gateway on the printer. No gateway = no Internet access, but it's still LAN addressable.


I have a Brother printer with wifi. The day it upgrades and block me from using reasonably priced toner, I'll set up to a Raspberry Pi as a print server and hook it up via USB.

I'm wondering how much of a market there's going to be for this and if cheaper devices could be used.


Assuming you can downgrade the firmware. The engineers probably thought of consumers trying to get rid of their malware, and design ways to make this difficult.

I know some products blow physical fuses when updating the firmware and if you go back to the old firmware it won't run when it detects the blown fuse.

You'd need significant electrical skills to restore/replace the fuse to the original state.


> The day it upgrades and block me from using reasonably priced toner, I'll set up to a Raspberry Pi as a print server and hook it up via USB.

By then it would be too late. Alas it seems Brother doesn't do these things. It's HP. People should stop buying their products.


Brother makes remarkably well-designed and BS-free products. From hardware to software. It's like a breath of fresh air, really.

E.g. - Had a paper jam at some point. The on-device screen said "Paper jam. Open the front panel." Opened it, the message changed to "Remove the toner cartridge." Removed it, and it kept on going to tell where to look, what to pull, etc. Ditto with the driver installation - downloaded, run, clicked OK, done. No junk to "manage my printing experience", just what's needed to control all printing options, all laid out clearly, and exactly where Microsoft says it should be. Beautiful. Almost shed a tear.


I still have no idea why people don't buy printers by first looking at what refills cost. It is simply baffling. The only way to penalize manufacturers that practice this type of anti-consumerism is to stop buying their products, not coming up with work-arounds. The average toner cartridge replacement from HP is $150. My Ricoh C261SFWn's replacement cartridge from Ricoh is $50. The quality is just as good and the Ricoh machine itself was cheaper than an HP. No brainer.


Most people don't print much. For typical home use, a printer might last 5 years printing 10 pages a month.

That's 600 pages in the lifetime of the printer, which is less than a single cartridge.

The real mistake people make is they don't realise they'll have to buy a new cartridge every 6 months because the old one has dried out.


I was in that category once then I got kids. A cheap color laser serves me well, even if the colors are off key enough to change any photo to some halloweenish nightmare. Kids dont care. Neither do I.

Now the printer before that basically never printed. I used it to scan my (postal) mail. One day it decided to upgrade its firmware, then refused to scan without ink. What a waste.


If you're printing a lot, this kind of calculation makes sense. If you only print a couple of times a month, it gets swamped by uncertainty: will the ink dry up before I use it? will they still sell those cartridges in 5 years time? will it have broken anyway? Under these conditions, it's not that illogical to spend less on the printer.

It's also not always easy to compare. Maybe I can see that a HP cartridge holds more ink than the Epson one - but do they use ink at the same rate? How much do they use for cleaning the nozzles when you're not printing? Will I be able to get unofficial cartridges, and will they affect print quality?

It's getting easier to compare, because they're getting on the subscription bandwagon, based on pages per month. But the smallest plan I see is HP's 15 pages/month, which is probably at least 3x what I actually print.


it's a very old business model, the same way people don't buy 4/5 blade razor by first looking at what the ongoing blade purchases cost.


Don’t buy HP. Problem solved. Brother printers are great.


Don't print so damn much. Problem solved.

The printer companies are milking the vestigial cohort of people that just can't not use masses of paper for everything. I struggle to find a lot of sympathy for their self inflicted plight, and I'd really like to quit hearing about it.


I remember coming across forums long ago (at least 15+ years) where some friendly hackers had figured out how to patch out checks like these and posted modified firmware for various printers with features like "cartridge always full" and "automatic waste ink reset" (mostly applicable to inkjets with CIS instead of lasers), and this was at a time when it wasn't that easy to change the firmware of a printer (which is frankly quite scary). I have long lost the link, and I'm not sure how much of such communities exist anymore, but that was an interesting discovery that, for a few days, I spent many hours reading.


Are there any online resources on what is the most reliable and cheap printer to use long term? I'm thinking a BW or Color laser printer where the parts last a long time and accept cheap third party toner cartridges?


Common wisdom has been any Brother printer (for the past 20 years maybe). I have one and love it compared to my previous HPs.


I have an OKI C301dn.

What I like:

- Build quality and the low price, the thing is huge and weighs 22kg and I paid only 100 EUR for a new one

- Availability of cheap third party toner cartridges

What I do not like:

- Every toner cartridge must include a circuit board that needs to be replaced together with the cartridge. This increases toner cart replacement price by ~4 EUR

- Third party toner quality varies a lot even from the same seller it's hard to find a cheap supplier with constantly good quality

- After 7 years and about 3k pages printed, a white vertical line / streak started to show up on the printed pages

Based on recommendations here I guess my next printer will be from Brother.


I’ve had very good service from my HP3600N color laser. Economical, reliable, decent paper handling.

It was caught up in the HP driver security cert error of late last month (which makes me suspicious that it wasn’t an accident, but a reinstall of Apple drivers fixed it).

Economics here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24985405


I just ordered an HP laser printer since Wirecutter recommended it. Not used it yet. On HN I see people recommending Brother all the time though, so now I hope my HP is still ok :-)


FWIW, I've been using HP lasers for the last 12 years. The first one started getting a bit wonky after 9 years and I replaced it; the new one has been fine. We do a middling amount of printing (~10,000 pages over those 9 years, iirc).

I haven't tried non-first party toner; the B/W high-capacity HP toner cartridges for my current printer, for example, are ~$200 and last for ~10,000 pages, which works fine for me; my total cost of ownership ends up at $45/year or so, and there's zero hassle involved, which is worth a lot to me personally.


Good to know, thanks!


I made the mistake of buying an HP printer years ago. But I found a 'neat trick'. You can subscribe to the free Instant Ink program using a test credit card, i.e. a number from https://developer.paypal.com/docs/payflow/payflow-pro/payflo.... And ~2 days later you have ink sent to your door. Fuck you HP.


Isn't that credit card fraud?


New printers often come with a trial of the manufacturer's subscription plan, which will automatically order ink when it's running low. I guess if you activate the subscription when it runs low, it will send a new cartridge straight away. This probably also works with a real card number if you just cancel the subscription before it starts charging.

I'd assume that only works once per printer - or at least it's enough of a pain to repeat it that most people would rather pay. The smallest subscription plans are pretty cheap.


That’s got to be it. No way would a test card number actually work. Live payment processor environments decline them. They only work in payment processor test environments.

If the merchant’s backend doesn’t special case them and sends them through, they will be declined.


In HP's case, the cartridges will not work if the subscription has been cancelled.


That cartridge will stop working when the place is cancelled, though...


I said in another thread... we have 3d printers! Lets make an open source laser printer around a cheap, commonly-available printer cartridge!


Joke’s on them, my new but cheap POS HP printer won’t even recognise and connect to the wifi, so it can’t ever download updates.


That was very funny. Thanks for the laugh


You can't even find aftermarket cartridges for HP's new printers like the Officejet 9020, and a set of OEM replacement ink costs $100.

They're also paranoid devices which re-enable auto updates by themselves, which is probably against EU law but hey :|

Guess the only option is keeping it off the internet completely.


This should be ilegal.


And I think it is illegal in EU.


In the US of the 21st century, it's far more likely that rolling back the firmware update would be the illegal thing.


Ink tank if you have to go non laser mode. I own like 2 HP 5820 ink tank printers and had to change a part inside once. Other than that can do other than counting pages but 3 years they havent done that. Not that I update my printers


How far back is HP going with these firmware updates? Or are they only updating models that they are currently selling?

They've been doing this since at least 2016, but whether they've gone back farther than that is of interest.


I'm just going to say it....Inkjet printers are one of those technologies that just has to die (for general printing usage). Same with HP Consumer. I don't mind HPE.


Is it ink cartridge or toner cartridge? The post is about LaserJet


Does someone know how other vendors behave? I have heard good things about Brother printers lately, but I'm not sure if this tactic is also used by them and others


I think I might have managed to prevent mine from updating so far. Does anyone have an easy to follow guide to blocking it from internet access?


Slightly off-topic: Any recommendation on a good wifi printer + scanner combo for home office? Works for macOS, Linux and Windows too.


christ... is this the HP idea of Trilogy? Not upgraded to Laser?

I think my age is affecting my memory. Didn't HP did this before... at least twice?


This is exactly why I did assign a static IP to my HP printer, and firewalled to block it from getting internet access.


It's for security. Your printer might catch fire and burn your house down. /s


Technically that's not an upgrade, it's a downgrade.


Why hasn't there been a class action lawsuit yet?


Home printers are dead anyway. The one thing I did still need them for (printing labels for packages) is being taken over by QR codes


Thermal label printers (printing directly onto adhesive labels) are a good replacement for this use-case, with none of the downsides of ink or cartridges.

Furthermore their usage in businesses means there's an endless supply of labels in various sizes so you don't depend on the manufacturer for anything.


> with none of the downsides of ink or cartridges

But with a whole new set of fresh and exciting downsides like expensive paper and fading in sunlight.


don't the thermal labels fade (or turn black) over time?

Or do you mean toner i.e. heated plastic ink


Here that's one of the few things I still use mine for, printing QR labels for my outgoing parcels :P

UPS, DHL and others still require us to print our own labels here. And QR codes are hard to write by hand ;)


>UPS, DHL and others

That's rather odd. Haven't tried many but Hermes and RoyalMail were both cellphone screen QRs

I would have imagined bigger companies like UPS would be a step ahead


Maybe it's a Spain thing. But when I schedule parcels for pick up, I have to print the label myself. They don't bring one with them, so they would have no way to identify the parcel.

If I bring it to the post office I can preregister and show a code and they will put a label on, but I never do that anymore due to the covid measures. There's a massive queue outside now.


That's what I bought a Rollo thermal printer for years ago for around $150.

Never spend on ink for shipping things again.


Why would you buy an HP printer and try 3rd party ink, when you know the whole business model is subsidizing the printer and selling you expensive ink, and you also know that the whole printer cartrige space is full of DRM roadblock?

Do this: look at what a printer + as many 1st party refills as you'll need for several years will cost you. Compare that number across multiple manufacturers. If the number seems high - yes, you discovered why inkjets are impopular. If the number seems OK: buy that one and use 1st party ink. Alternatively: buy a printer from a manufacturer that says they accept, and always will accept, 3rd party ink. Expect to pay more for that printer, or not find one.


> Why would you buy an HP printer and try 3rd party ink, when you know the whole business model is subsidizing the printer and selling you expensive ink, and you also know that the whole printer cartrige space is full of DRM roadblock?

The vast majority of people don't know this because HP spends tons of money on marketing to distract consumers from the fact that they do this.

Stuff like this is why consumer protection laws are so important: not everybody has the time, energy or mental capability to absorb the nuances of the business models behind the consumer products they buy. And billions are spent marketing to obscure these practices. Buying a consumer-grade printer shouldn't be such an effing minefield , but it is because they market heavily and lobby against consumer protections.


> but it is because they market heavily and lobby against consumer protections.

Yes.

> not everybody has the time, energy or mental capability to absorb the nuances of the business models behind the consumer products they buy

Exactly. And while it could change (let's hope) - I think most people simply shouldn't.


consumer protection is just a workaround / band-aid on proper advertising laws. Corps can take massive liberties on promotion, then CP needs to negotiate where "too far" wrt misrepresentation is.

How about product categories have mandated upfront declarations, e.g. DRM / no-3rd-party printers need to state as such, in an unambiguous way on the box in some mandated-minimum font size.


That sort of stuff falls directly under the "consumer protection law" umbrella.


It’s been a while, but last time I shopped for a printer, hp had the cost per page of each of their printers right there in the specs


I don't want to be an apologist for HP or any other printer manufacturer, but there is at least one point that seems to be missed in this debate. If I design a printer, whether inkjet or any other type, I probably design it to some pretty tight tolerances in terms of the ink or toner. So I probably don't want people to drop in cartridges where the manufacturing tolerances might be way off the mark as they might well cause issues with the performance. That I as the manufacturer might be asked to fix, also possibly gaining a reputation for poor quality in the process. Yes, you might reasonably point out that OEM cartridges are expensive, but it's far from a monopoly out there, isn't it? In some ways, the expense of printing could be considered to be a good thing. Because it's a disincentive to the production of waste paper. Just my 2 cents worth :)


Then void the warranty if the device is used with unsupported cartridges.


I'm not sure that approach would be sustainable. Printer manufacturers are in the business of loss leading as far as I can see. They probably don't make any significant profit on the printer itself, judging by what I've paid for printers in the last few years. The price of the printer is subsidised by the projected profits from the ink/toner. And they are not insignificant, I agree. But in the current market, selling printers at an unsubsidised price probably won't work commercially. We've gotten used to cheap printers and expensive ink/toner I guess and it's difficult to come off them. There'[s no such thing as a free lunch etc..


A Color Laserjet can be bought for roughly $450. A high-capacity replacement for all 4 toner cartridges will cost just over $700. That makes my Laserjet disposable - once the toners are nearly empty, I will sell it on eBay and replace mine with a new one.


Be aware most printers come with "starter cartridges" which are much smaller.


If the printhead is part of the cartridge, what problems could there be? When HP test the machine with a HP cartridge, there will be no fault found.


A good point. However, if, for example, the quality of the output is poor, I think that most people would not be sufficiently technically informed enough to be able to point to the printer head as the source the problem. Even if they do, there may well not be a brand sticker on the printer head. To most observers, then, it would be the printer that was faulty. Most printer manufacturers are protective of their brand images and don't want negative associations with that brand. Reasonable enough, as far as I can see. Let's face it, most branded ink or toner is expensive irrespective of brand. The best way of reducing printings costs? Probably just print less.


The way around this could be to have the printer validate new cartridges through a test print, with eventually internal sensors to raise errors as needed. That would be to me the cleanest way for HP to handle third party ink.




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