Me and my Lexmark printer

I recently brought a new laser printer with double-side feature.

I was really happy, because friends just tell me “It work out-of-the-box with FreeBSD”.

I fact, it don’t. I had to make some hacks to make it working.

The printer

The Printer is a MB2236 (MB2200 series), double-sided and scanner.

It’s connected to my local network, with a fixed IPv4 address.

The drivers

Which Driver?

As excepted there is no FreeBSD drivers, only windows and Linux .deb and .rpm based distribution and a curious file Drivers files for CUPS-base systems. Let’s take it from this page.

I downloaded a Lexmark-AEY-PPD-Files.tar.Z.

Uncompress the file

Using the old school uncompress Unix utility, I obtain a .tar file which it’s easy to untar. The result is a folder named ppd_files.

Inside ppd_files folder

As you can guess, there is a lot of ppd files and a shell script This script won’t run on FreeBSD without modifications. I need to change some path to be conform to the FreeBSD hierarchy.

Modifying the script

In fact it was easy, just add /local on most path. In order to change /usr/share/footmatic into /usr/local/share/footmatic. And so on.

Run the script.

Once modified, the script run well \o/. That’s a first victory.

Modify some path

The file /usr/local/libexec/cups/filter/rerouteprintoption is a perl script with a Linux way shebang. Once again changing /usr/bin/perl by /usr/local/bin/perl solve a big trouble.

The PPD file

The script make a big part, but not all.

In /usr/local/share/ppd create a Lexmark folder and copy, from ppd_files/GlobalPPD_1.4/Lexmark_MB2200_Series.ppd into it.

Launch cupsd

Before launching cupsd we need to install the linux-c7 emulation packages:

 sudo pkg install linux-c7

And make something really bad on FreeBSD, make a change in the system filesystem by creating a symlink into /usr/lib:

 sudo ln -s /usr/local/libexec/cups /usr/lib

Make cups launch at boot time

 sysrc cupsd_enable="YES"

Start cupsd

 service cupsd start

Create the printer

With your browser go to http://localhost:631 in order to create your printer.

  Create and admin the printer is not the goal of this blog post. You can find help directly on the cups page.


  This method does not use the system lpr print-system. I really try to find how to make it work but I can’t. All my files seems ok (/etc/printcap), I can ping the printer and send via netcat a file on it, but the lpr system does not allow me to print.

The “old school " LPD daemon

There is another (brick in the wall) way to use this printer. The “good old school” lpd daemon.

Enable and launch the daemon

The most easy part, enabling and start the daemon:

 sudo sysrc lpd_enable="YES"
 sudo service ldp start

Declare the printer in the /etc/printcap

  Not all the option of this file could be explain on the post. Remember to read the man page for more option or more detailed explanation.


The default printer is call lp:

  • :lp=9100@ipaddres: is the ip address of my printer and the listen port;
  • :sh=false:\ no banner;
  • :mx#0: max file size;
  • :sd=/var/spool/output/lpd: spool directory;
  • if=/usr/local/libexec/psif: text filter;
  • lf=/var/log/lpd-errs: error login file path and name

  Be really careful of difference between if and lf

You can check the syntax of your file with chkprintcap

Create the spool dir

The spool directory (sd line of printcap file) must be exist.

 sudo mkdir /var/spool/output/ldp

and must belong to :daemon:daemon:

 sudo chown -R daemon:daemon /var/spool/output/ldp

Then your can restart the ldp daemon.

The filter script

The page said exactly the same things as this post and give you the source of the psif filter.

Paper size default

You surely need to install the ASCII to Postscript filter depending of your default paper size:

 pkg search enscript
 enscript-a4-1.6.6_3            ASCII to PostScript filter
 enscript-letter-1.6.6_3        ASCII to PostScript filter
 enscript-letterdj-1.6.6_3      ASCII to PostScript filter
 nenscript-1.13.3               Clone of the proprietary enscript program from Adobe Systems
 p5-Tk-Enscript-1.10_4          Text-to-PostScript converter using Tk::Canvas
 zh-enscript-a4-1.6.6_3         ASCII to PostScript filter


Next? You should print from the command line:


Or from differents softwares, choosing Print to LPR.

To conclude

It take me a long long time to find a way to make this printer print… Hope this can be help you. I must admit that I prefer use the “old school way” :-)


Thanks to the FreeBSD-Questions mailing list members, who help me to find a solution.

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