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Printers, Linux, HBPL, ZJS, foo2zjs, HBPL1, foo2hbpl1, Fujix Xerox CP205, CP205w, ...

I have a Fuji Xerox CP205 w. Which is a boring colour laser printer from many years ago, and like most laser printers it just keeps working. Unfortunately, it doesn't just work in Linux, so... I searched.

 Fuji Xerox CP205w Laser Printer, Computers & Tech, Printers, Scanners &  Copiers on Carousell

Apparently, it uses a something called HBPL. There is/was a package that supported this that has recently disappeared from the internet made by someone who apparently had a few issues with linux distributions. Confusingly, the nominally HBPL printers are supported by the foo2hbpl2 program in the foo2zjs package (named after the separate - ? - ZjStream protocol). Which would imply that my printer should just work, except that this printer was so cheap it was an HBPL1 printer, which apparently was a subtly different format that foo2zjs's HBPL2 program doesn't support.

A few HBPL1 printers (not mine) had manufacturer provided binary i386 drivers that people are having fun with. That's not the sort of fun I really want to get into anyway.

The good news is that back in 2014 some champ just wrote the whole thing. Note that this page doesn't explicitly mention my printer, and has moved since it was linked from (dead) foo2zjs site.

Unfortunately, he did this work then posted it as a patch to foo2zjs, and even though the foo2zjs maintainer was obviously aware of the patch they decided not to incorporate it into their package. This meant that it never percolated into the official distribution packages, except in FreeBSD land.

But now github is super popular, I thought surely someone has tried to clean this situation up... well, kinda:

None of these seem great. I probably should just use the last one myself and call it a day, but the completionist in me at least wants to make a half decent repository based on the latest foo2zjs. Except that now foo2zjs has disappeared, it's not even clear what 'upstream' is. Some Arch people seem to be trying to clean things up, but progress seems to have stalled (and the website is a little scary). Debian also has many changes, and have solved the 'upstream down and can't build' problem by linking to a mirror on a random Spanish distribution (hmm).

In short, argh!