I recently acquired a Samsung CLX-3185FN colour laser MFC. Although the device claims to work with Linux, it is a bit of a mixed bag. Below are my views and outcomes of lessons learned thus far.
Background and Review
FWIW I use Ubuntu 12.04 64-bit, and am only interested in connecting the device across a network. I am blown away by the speed and quality of the printer for black-and white laser printing relative to my Brother Fax2820 [laser printer] and multi-page scanning relative to my HP Officejet 6500 [ scanner, theoretical occasional color printing which never worked because cartridges dried up ].
For black-and-white scanning to email this device outperforms the OKI MB470 I use at work, and leaves the HP Officejet 6500 for dust. Using the defaults it produces very clear pdfs of small size. I find the scanning interface unnecessarily clunky, for example defaulting to USB scanning when no USB device is connected, with no apparent way to change the default behaviour or set up a “speed scan” button – at least with the firmware installed.
Colour scanning (using the flat bed) is very slow relative to the HP Officejet, but produces (subjectively) impressive images.
I don’t like the exorbitant prices of replacement toners and the “DRM” implemented in the printer and cartridges to extort this – a set of cartridges (let alone drum) will set me back more then the printer. I am aware of ways to hack this device to use much cheaper toner – something I will be experimenting with soon.
Unsolved Issue – Printing Graphics
Even using the latest driver from Samsung, printing images in draft mode worked fine, however printing normal or high quality images did not work for the most part (but regular documents worked OK).
I did manage to get a couple of pictures to work, and thought I had solved the problem, but have been unable to reproduce the feat, and Samsung offered exactly no help (see below). I have, however come up with a work-around – Despite what the manual says, it is possible to print colour jpg files from a USB key plugged into the front of the device. Its not fast or particularly convenient, but it works.
For reference, the presenting problem is/was that the image was duplicated twice on the page, stretched to full length, with white gaps. The higher the quality of the image sent to the printer, the bigger the gaps.
Both GIMP and GTHUMB exhibited the same problem.
I have not had a chance to pursue it (I have a great HL5340D black and white printer, and am using the Samsung for scanning – and the very occasional picture for my son), but it looks like there may be an unofficial forum which can help – http://www.bchemnet.com/suldr/forum/
Initially I could not get the printer to work with XSANE, no matter what drivers I tried to use from Samsung or what I configured, however the solution turned out to be trivial to fix – The solution was simply a matter of adding the line “tcp 10.0.3.247” to /etc/sane.d/xerox_mfp.conf – This works a charm – pity the manual is devoid of any hint of this solution. It almost goes without saying that you would replace 10.0.3.247 with the IP address of your scanner.
I installed other Samsung Linux software – Smartpanel and PSU. Neither of these pieces of software provided any meaningful functionality and I would not bother with them again.
Also of note was Samsungs complete cop-out when it comes to supporting Linux. In response to a reasonably detailed email asking for help with the issues I was having with colour printing, their response (grammatical errors and all) was:
“Thank you for your email, Unfortunately we can’t suppor Linux as it’s all open source
WE provide the drivers for the unit you have but can’t provide any further support on the operating system
All I can suggest is that you try and install the unit on a PC and see if you’re stull getting the same problem IF you are then return the unit back to the store as there may be a fault with it“