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Linux with Portable Printers & Scanners

Hardware Survey

  • Brother: MP-21CDX, Linux status unknown
  • Brother: MPrint micro printer, Linux status unknown
  • Brother: MW-140BT mobile BlueTooth printer, IrDA 1.2, BT (SPP), USB 1.1, Linux status unknown
  • Brother: MP21C Mobile Ink-Jet Color Printer, PCMCIA, Linux status: not known to work
  • Canon: BJC-85 (with USB, IrDA and parallel port, optional scanner and battery)
  • Canon: BJC-80 (this printer can also be used as a scanner with the optional scan head!)

    David F. Davey wrote: "I finally have a Canon BJC-80 printer working properly with irda. By properly I mean as a pseudo-PostScript device by way of ghostscript and a modified lpd. Detailed explanation by Dave Davey.


    • linux-2.2.7-ac2-irda6
    • /proc/sys/net/irda/slot_timeout increased to 10 (essential or discovery fails)
    • ghostscript DEVICE set to bjc600
    • printcap includes:
    • and lpd had to be modified to accept the ulong "fs" and to handle "xc" (which is documented but not coded in the lpd's I have looked at)." For further information look at his page BJC-80.

    Tim Auckland wrote: Would my version of lpd help? unixlpr [archived link] is a portable version of the lpr/lpd suite, compatible with traditional versions and RFC 1179 and with a couple of minor extensions, including the :ms= field (also seen in SunOS 4) and the ability to print directly to TCP connected printers without needing special filters. ms allows you to configure the tty using stty arguments directly, so if stty can handle the extended flags, my lpd should handle IrDA "out of the box".

  • Canon: BJC-55 (with USB, IrDA, optional scanner and battery) USB works (even in color mode) with printer module. IrDA and scanning not checked yet. Note: there is no parallel port, the USB cable has to be bought separately, but a usual USB cable with the appropriate adapters works as well.
  • Canon: BJC-50 65% of the size of the BJC-80, Li-Ion battery included, and basically the same features as the BJC-80.
  • Canon: BJ-30
  • Canon: i70 to get the maximum print quality you may choose a commercial driver. According to Till Kamppeter from LinuxPrinting.org there is no Open Source driver which provides better quality yet.
  • Citizen: CN-60
  • Hewlett-Packard - HP: DeskJet 340Cbi. This is a small, portable, low-duty-cycle printer. It prints either black, or color (3 color). I have had some problems with it loading paper. Overall, the small size and portability make it a nice unit for use with laptops. I use the HP 500/500C driver with Linux.
  • Hewlett-Packard - HP: DeskJet 350C and 350Cbi. New since April 2000 no Linux information yet.
  • Hewlett-Packard - HP: DeskJet 450. This portable printer is currently (in 2003) the best portable on the market. The "ci" model comes without and the "cbi" with rechargeable battery. Connection via parallel port, USB, and fast infrared. BlueTooth optional. The printer has a reader for Compact Flash memory cards, but no facility to choose the images to be printed. One needs a camera with DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) for PC-less photo printing. This printer works fine with Linux, see the report at LinuxPrinting.org.
  • Olivetti: JP-90
  • Olivetti: NomadJet 100 (successor of the JP-90 Plus)
  • MaxPoint: TravelScan, mobile scanner for the PCMCIA port.
  • Pentax: PocketJet, thermotransfer printer (incl. battery)
  • Pentax: PocketJet 200, works with Linux, see LinuxPrinting.org.
  • Pentax: PocketJetII (IrDA port optional), GDI printer works with Linux, see LinuxPrinting.org.


AFAIK only the HP DeskJet 340Cbi and the BJC-80 machine have an infrared port (Pentax PocketJet has an IrDA option). Pay attention to the supplied voltage of the power supply if you plan to travel abroad. There are some laptop-printer combinations in tailored suitcases around. I didn't include them yet. Also I couldn't check the scan functionalities with Linux yet.

Sources: LapShop, CT 25/1999 and others.

Scanner and OCR Software

  • SANE stands for "Scanner Access Now Easy" and is an application programming interface (API) that provides standardized access to any raster image scanner hardware (flatbed scanner, hand-held scanner, video- and still-cameras, frame-grabbers, etc.). The SANE standard is free and its discussion and development is open to everybody. The current source code is written for UNIX (including Linux) and is available under the GNU public license (commercial application and backends are welcome, too, however).
  • GOCR is optical character recognition software. It converts PGM files into ASC files.
  • Linux Drivers for Handheld Scanners


There are different ways to connect a printer or scanner to a laptop. For printers usually: parallel port, serial port, USB and IrDA port (AFAIK network interfaces are not available for mobile printers). For scanners usually: parallel port, SCSI (via PCMCIA or generic SCSI port), USB and PCMCIA port. All of them need the according kernel drivers.

PDA Printer

Comming soon.

PDA Scanner

Genius GS-4500 handheld scanner driver 2.4c

This is a device driver for the Genius handheld scanners GS4500 and GS-4500A. It also works with theHighscreen Greyscan 256 scanner. Two simple scanning applications are included.



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© Werner Heuser 1997-2015 · http://tuxmobil.org/printers_linux.html · last change Thu May 10 2012