I have an old Lexmark 1100 printer (parallel port LPT1) that is currently working fine on Windows 98. I've tried to make it work on several current distros of Linux but, so far, none worked. Basically, I've followed the OpenPrinting installation steps:

  1. apt install lsb
  2. search for the OpenPrinting Lexmark 1100 driver
  3. download x86 32bit driver for Debian
  4. dpkg -i openprinting-lm1100_1.0.2a-6lsb3.2_i386.deb
  5. add printer on CUPS

Unfortunately, the printer never showed any sign of life.

The lm1100 driver is very old and might not work with the current kernel.
My guess is the driver needs to be refactored to support the current kernel.

To check that, I installed the printer on Debian Woody and, voilà, it finally showed some sign of life.


  1. Based on the aforementioned information, is it reasonable to conclude that this driver is incompatible with the current Linux kernel?
  2. If so, how to refactor such a driver for the current kernel?


Additional Notes

Parallel Port LPT1
I'm not sure how to verify whether the Debian installation includes a parallel port driver. However, I surmise that it does:

  1. CUPS only allows installing the printer after plugging it on LPT1. After that it correctly shows there is something on LPT1 although it cannot recognize which printer, (probably it predates the plug and play era).
  2. I've already installed another device on LPT1 and it worked nice (Epson Stylus Color 480SX).

Therefore, considering that Debian is seeing a printer on the port, and especially that another printer worked on LPT1, it seems safe to assume that it's got a parallel port driver.


Debian Stretch

According to the documentation available at /opt/OpenPrinting-lm1100/doc/:

To move out the print head, simply type (logged in as 'root')


Therefore, I've tried the following:

root@debian:/opt/OpenPrinting-lm1100/bin# ./lm1100change
0+1 records in
0+1 records out
24 bytes copied, 0.00137361 s, 17.5 kB/s

However, still no sign of life from the printer.


I've also tried to print a raw image file (PBM format):

root@debian:/opt/OpenPrinting-lm1100/bin# cat sample.pbm 
# This is an example bitmap of the letter "J"
6 10
0 0 0 0 1 0
0 0 0 0 1 0
0 0 0 0 1 0
0 0 0 0 1 0
0 0 0 0 1 0
0 0 0 0 1 0
1 0 0 0 1 0
0 1 1 1 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0

root@debian:/opt/OpenPrinting-lm1100/bin# ./lm1100 sample.pbm
Bad magic number in image file, got P1


Still no sign of life, although now there is an error message of 'bad magic number'.


Also tried that:

root@debian:~# echo "Hello World" > /dev/lp0

No sign of life from the printer.


Debian Lenny

I've also tried the same steps above on Debian Lenny and the results were very similar (ie, no sign of life from the printer):

debian:/opt/OpenPrinting-lm1100/bin# cat /etc/issue
Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 \n \l


Debian Woody

After a long struggle, I've finally managed to install Debian Woody:

debian:/# cat /etc/issue
Debian GNU/\s 3.0 \n \l

I've tried to follow the same installation procedures from the other versions, but there were some problems:

debian:~# dpkg -i openprinting-lm1100_1.0.2a-6lsb3.2_i386.deb

Selecting previously deselected package openprinting-lm1100.
(Reading database ... 37344 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking openprinting-lm1100 (from openprinting-lm1100_1.0.2a-6lsb3.2_i386.deb) ...
dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of openprinting-lm1100:
  openprinting-lm1100 depends on lsb (>= 3.2); however: Version of lsb on system is 1.1.0-11.
dpkg: error processing openprinting-lm1100 (--install): dependency problems - leaving unconfigured
Errors were encountered while processing: openprinting-lm1100

Despite such dependency problems, at least some commands are now working:

debian:/opt/OpenPrinting-lm1100/bin# ./lm1100change
parport0: PC-style at 0x378 [SPP,PS2]
lp0: using parport0 (polling).
0+1 records in
0+1 records out

debian:/opt/OpenPrinting-lm1100/bin# ./lm1100back
0+1 records in
0+1 records out

Both make the printhead move accordingly. The printer is showing some sign of life.

However, the printer still doesn't print:

debian:/opt/OpenPrinting-lm1100/bin# ./lm1100 sample.pbm
bash: ./lm1100: No such file or directory

Although the file is obviously there:

debian:/opt/OpenPrinting-lm1100/bin# ls
lm1100  lm1100back  lm1100change  sample.pbm

System Specification

Notebook Toshiba Satellite 1135-S1553

  • Intel® Celeron® 4 processor at 2.20GHz
  • Intel 852GM Chipset
  • 1Gb RAM
  • 32MB internal Integrated Intel® 852GM video memory


Operating System

  • Debian Stretch
  • Small CDs
  • debian-9.8.0-i386-netinst.iso
  • Tasksel:
    (  ) Debian desktop environment
    (  ) ... GNOME
    (  ) ... Xfce
    (  ) ... KDE
    (  ) ... Cinnamon
    (  ) ... MATE
    (X) ... LXDE
    (  ) web server
    (X) print server
    (  ) SSH server
    (  ) standard system utilities
  • What happens if you just dump something onto the printer? Try cat /etc/issue > /dev/lp0 or thereabouts as root and tell us what, if anything, that does. Printing on Linux was a bit of a black art back then, not unlike configuring X11, but just plain text printing was usually easy to trivial to get going. The hard part was to get anything beyond plain text to print.
    – user
    Apr 25, 2019 at 9:26
  • Why not install Win98 and the printer driver in Virtual Box, then share the printer with Linux over the virtual network? <This is not an answer, it's simply what I would do.>
    – Brian H
    Apr 25, 2019 at 15:36
  • @aCVn I've tried echo "Hello World" > /dev/lp0 but no sign of life from the printer.
    – Mark Messa
    Apr 25, 2019 at 15:43
  • @BrianH > "share the printer with Linux over the virtual network?" I was not aware this was possible. However, there are some details to consider: 1) My current win98 didn't install several drivers, including network.Moreover, I'm not sure I can find such drivers. 2) If a printer is share in the network via win98, other computers with more recent kernels would be able to use it?. 3) The only machine with LPT1 is an old Toshiba notebook with 1Gb Ram. Do you think it can handle Debian 9 + Virtual Box + Win98 ?
    – Mark Messa
    Apr 25, 2019 at 15:59
  • 1
    Maybe add some 'source' URIs in your sources.list, then sudo apt-get build-dep openprinting-lm1100 and try to rebuild from source? Also, /dev/lp0 tends to be owned by root and in group lp, so if you're not either, it won't work. The 1100 is typically considered a "winprinter", and a works Partially from OpenPrinting generally means it's only worth the effort if the printer is rare/expensive. This is very unlikely to be a kernel issue, more of a who-knows-what winprinter issue.
    – scruss
    Apr 25, 2019 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


Try an HP DeskJet 500C (color) or HP DeskJet 500 (monochrome)

The DeskJet 500C is referenced in the Lexmark manual on page 55 for direct DOS printing.

OpenPrinting shows the 500C as working "Perfectly", compared to the Lexmark 1100 "Partially".

  • I've just tried all available drivers for HP DeskJet 500&500C and several Generic printers (ex: PCL3 and Raw Queue) via CUPS. Unfortunately, none of them worked.
    – Mark Messa
    Apr 25, 2019 at 6:45
  • OpenPrinting recommends the driver HPLIP, which the most updated version is 3.19.3 while the automatic installation from Debian is 3.16.11. Let me know if you recommend downloading and installing this latest version.
    – Mark Messa
    Apr 25, 2019 at 6:52
  • The other drivers mentioned at OpenPrinting are also available at CUPS, although probably in different versions. Even so, as aforementioned, I've tested them all via CUPS but no sign of life from the printer.
    – Mark Messa
    Apr 25, 2019 at 6:59
  • @MarkMessa I doubt that the newer version of HPLIP will make any difference since this is not a recent printer. Your original question doesn't mention trying any HP drivers, which is why I suggested that. Apr 25, 2019 at 14:42
  • 1
    > "Your original question doesn't mention trying any HP drivers" I've tried just after your comment.
    – Mark Messa
    Apr 25, 2019 at 16:07

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