Reporting printer ink levels?

John Hupp lubuntu at
Thu Jul 24 14:37:17 UTC 2014

Thanks, Eric, for the well-developed documentation for this case.

For the Epson C120 that I was working with, I didn't need to download a 
PPD from Epson -- nor did they have a DEB file available to download for 
it -- but I'm glad to know that they provide this support for some models.

Though I mentioned the Epson in my original post and I still have that, 
I really am interested in knowing about the availability of solutions 
across all the major manufacturers.  My currently daily-use printer is 
an HP Laserjet P2015d, but I own several brands here, and I have 
supported all brands.

So far what we've rounded up regarding ink level reporting:
- HP inkjets have general support via HPLIP
- Epson has no support, unless some models report this via hardware on a 
control panel (as Aere reports RE an HP)
- A general workaround concept: Install Windows in a partition or 
virtual machine and use the Windows printer software for an occasional 
level checkup
- (No word yet on printing heavyweights Brother and Canon, or others)

On 7/23/2014 9:21 PM, Eric Bradshaw wrote:
> John Hupp,
> I agree with Israel that the ink level reporting from HP is, in my 
> experience, consistently provided with their drivers. I also find HP 
> printers to be built better than Epson's; better quality hardware that 
> typically lasts longer. But, despite all that, I've only set up HP 
> printers for others.
> For printing in my own home, I, like you, choose Epson. The two 
> biggest drawbacks I've found are, as you said, the lack of ink level 
> reporting and the sometimes painful-to-configure scanning and faxing 
> (when I've actually had to fax). I've learned to live with all that 
> because the Epson all-in-one printers I buy are typically under $100, 
> the color is absolutely brilliant, networking (including wifi) is a 
> breeze and they work and work and work - right up I until they don't. 
> Typically about 2 years.
> Unfortunately I've never solved the ink level reporting issue. I've 
> just made sure I have ink in reserve for when my latest Epson 
> literally stops printing because a particular color is out. If you get 
> the ink level reporting issue solved, please share the steps. 
> Otherwise, I'm okay. It's a minor annoyance. I hope you'll be okay 
> with it too if you don't get the issue solved.
> The drivers for Epson for Linux are available for every one I've owned 
> so far. The following is a link to a page on our website that uses an 
> Epson WorkForce 645 in an example for downloading PPD files (that 
> reminds me, this page might need updating, but you'll get the idea);
> Eric
> --
> Thank You,
> God Bless You,
> Computers4Christians
> On 07/23/2014 11:35 AM, John Hupp wrote:
> > A while back (under 13.04) I was working with an Epson Stylus C120 and
> > got it installed for printing purposes after getting past
> > 
> > I used CUPS and a Gutenprint driver.
> >
> > But unlike most Windows inkjet printer installations, I found no
> > provision for reporting ink levels.  I found Mtink, but it did not 
> work.
> >
> > In the meantime I stumbled onto the
> > project, which is a library for reporting ink levels. And at
> > there is reference to
> > packages that use this library.
> >
> > But on the library's home page there is no news since 2009, and the
> > mailing list archives seem to no longer exist.
> >
> > Epson offers this link:
> > But I
> > don't find anything there for Debian or Ubuntu.
> >
> > Perhaps another manufacturer has their own package that includes
> > provision for this function.
> >
> > Is anyone successfully reporting ink levels (one way or another) for
> > any major brand of printer?

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