Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I just bought a Lexmark Interpret S408 all-in-one printer. The box said that it supported Ubuntu 8.04, but I told myself it should work with Lucid... well no. The only driver I have found is for i386 while I have a amd64 image installed; the architecture is incompatible.

So, the quesiton is : Is it possible to install that driver anyway, somehow? Or do I need to take that printer back to the store and buy another one?

If the latter is the only alternative, I need a printer that

  • has wireless connection capability
  • can do color printing
  • is of good price (less than $200 CAD)

Thank you for your answers, help, and tips.

** UPDATE **

The driver was given in the form of deb package (for Debian distributions) and I managed to extract the actual deb package driver out of the install program. I ran

sudo dpkg -i --force-all lexmark-inkjet-09-driver-1.5-1.i386.deb

and the driver installed, and I was able to print something out. But that pretty much ends there; I cannot access anymore of the printer settings, etc. (i.g. scanner, fax, wifi settings, etc.) I should suffice for now as I'm satisfied with the printer's features (and size, and prince), but if I could have a full-linux-supported printer like that one, I would return this one in exchange for the other.

share|improve this question
What kind of driver were you provided (.deb/.tar.gz/etc), and where did you get it from? – Jacob Peddicord Sep 18 '10 at 4:46
@Jacob, both. The deb is embedded into a, which is in turn provided as a tar.gz to download – Yanick Rochon Sep 18 '10 at 12:47
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It's better to look for hardware that's supported by drivers shipping with Linux distributions, than to select hardware because its manufacturer advertises Linux support. That's because hardware manufacturers aren't always very good at writing drivers, especially for non-Windows OSes. Beware especially of binary-only drivers: they're hard to integrate with anything but the particular distribution the driver maker tested their code with.

For printers, favor one that's on the Gutenprint supported list. Sometimes a newer model now available in stores hasn't made it into the list yet, but a slightly older model is supported and the driver works with the newer model. Postscript printers (rare in your price range) are always ok. Otherwise, beware; Google to see if other people have gotten it to work before buying.

The Gutenprint compatibility list is short on Lexmark models. You can still try to print and see what happens, and search or ask on the Gutenprint lists to see what people think of your model. If it's definitely not supported by Gutenprint, install the i386 driver, even if you have an amd64 installation: amd64 kernels can run 32-bit programs, and the libraries a driver is likely to use are in the ia32-libs package.

share|improve this answer
I hear that, and I've been searching in forums and other Ubuntu document wiki to find a printer fitting my needs, however most of them can't be found in stores anymore, etc. Lists are great, but doesn't say the user appreciation nor give reviews of printers. The fact is that I went looking for a specific printer, didn't find it anywhere and ended up buying that Lexmark one because no one knew Linux enough to help me. I mean, programming a "find a printer based on features" tool shouldn't be too hard to code... Linux works great, but the printer part of it is really behind and not user friendly – Yanick Rochon Sep 18 '10 at 12:37
@Yanick: My usual procedure when buying hardware is to find likely candidates, then check Linux support for the specific candidate models (generally ignoring manufacturers' statements on Linux support). Programming a “find a printer based on features” tool is not hard, the difficulty is collecting all the data (you'll notice that Microsoft doesn't do it either). – Gilles Sep 18 '10 at 13:36

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.