How well do USB -> parallel adapters work for printers?

Bart Silverstrim bsilver at
Tue Oct 18 06:31:35 PDT 2005

On Oct 18, 2005, at 9:19 AM, Bill Moran wrote:

> This will be FreeBSD 5.4 machine.
> I need to hook a printer to a server (actually, it's a "plotter", an HP
> inkjet plotter).  The server doesn't have a parallel port, and the 
> printer
> doesn't have a USB port.
> The guy who provides our hardware recommended a USB -> parallel 
> adapter,
> but I've got no experience with these.  I've been warned about USB ->
> serial adapaters and how the translation isn't always 100%, so I'm
> trying to gather some information before I go forward with this plan.
> Anyone use one of these?  How well do they work in general?  How well
> do they work under FreeBSD?

I don't know about the answer to your question, but one alternative 
that may work better for you is to purchase an HP print server 
(JetDirect) that can take the parallel interface from the printer and 
then serve it as an IP printer.

You may even be able to help mask that by putting it on the network as 
an IP printer, then use the FreeBSD printer to share it out as a Samba 
printer to Windows systems (if this is the type of setup you're aiming 
at) so users can connect still to your FBSD printer server system 
without knowing that the printer is accessible also as an IP printer.

May also save some hair pulling in getting the USB<->Parallel interface 
working under FreeBSD.


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