Printing from Librem 5

Continuing the discussion from Several unknown processes running on libre 5 at restart:

OK, so I am forking …

Have you tried a one-port print server i.e. USB on one side, connecting to the printer, and ethernet on the other side, connecting to your local network? (This turns a printer that is not network-capable at all into one that is just a regular network printer.)

As an alternative, you could try using a Raspberry Pi as a print server i.e. assuming that a Pi can print to that particular printer. (At least, it is my assumption from your description that this works from a regular Linux laptop / desktop and just doesn’t work from the Librem 5.)

What is the make of printer?

But that could reflect one or both of two problems:

  • Your software is not capable of producing the right language to direct the printer what to print.
  • Your software is not capable of the right USB interface to the printer.

Yes, it may be that your Librem 5 is just missing the right packages.

1 Like

The printer is upstairs, not near ethernet access. Router/cable modem is downstairs. (If I understand what you’re suggesting… )

Do you mean RPi connected wirelessly to the network (from upstairs), with printer physically connected to it, and printing wirelessly from downstairs?

It’s a Brother laserjet.

1 Like

And it’s very likely that I don’t really know how to set it up when something requires extra tweaking/installations. :wink:

1 Like

And yes, I have done thatbefore… when I was able to have the router and the printer close to each other… in the same room on the same floor.

1 Like



A Pi Zero W should do it. It has only one µUSB port but one is all you would need once the Pi is set up. (Would need a suitable cable, µUSB to USB-A, I would assume.) 2.4 GHz WiFi only - which may or may not suit your environment.

There would be only two hard requirements:

  • A Pi running Raspbian (aka Raspberry Pi OS) can successfully print to the printer when connected via USB.
  • The Pi when upstairs can get WiFi connectivity.

That then can be used to put your printer on the local network and you can print from any device that is on your local network.

For some printers that are not networked, you can buy an add-on module (proprietary) that is installed inside the printer and makes it (wireless) networked. Whether that is available for your model would depend on the exact model and its age. Whether it is economical depends on the purchase price of the printer and its age. This is the cleanest solution but may not exist, may be relatively expensive and is dead in the water if you can’t get WiFi connectivity upstairs (but in that case so is a solution based on a Raspberry Pi).

Or of course you could work out why printing from the Librem 5 doesn’t work.


Thanks for the ideas. But then I prefer not to power the printer 24/7 (or any additional RPi), especially as it’s sitting on a low cabinet inside a closet, whereas the electric outlet is outside the closet.

I print so rarely, that it isn’t a hassle to simply plug it in and turn it on if I should need to print something. That’s why it would be good to just figure out what I’m doing wrong with the L5 so I can use it for the purpose. As you said.

In my previous home, I was able to have all the equipment in one room, but things are set up differently in my new(er) place… and not optimally for tech.

1 Like

I figured that - otherwise you wouldn’t put up with a fairly cumbersome arrangement.

I understood that it would not be on 24x7. So under your current arrangement but with a Pi, in order to print, you would face the longest of the boot time of a) the printer, and b) the Pi, and c) the client device (Librem 5 or laptop) before you could actually print anything.

For a device inside a cupboard, it wouldn’t be ideal to have it on 24x7 anyway since it may not ventilate well for heat dissipation.

If you own the place that you live in, you can of course start to put in the infrastructure for what you need e.g. power points where you need them and e.g. ethernet where you need it - but for rare printing, again, not worth it.


Right. But so far I haven’t been motivated to take on any projects, and I’m sure you know how it is with remodeling: before one can do this, one has to do that, and before that, this, ad infinitum. :rofl:

I may just have to sell the place and move again!


Ethernet over power line works great. I just connected my garage, over 30m from my house, with TPLink adapters.


I have an early (?) powerline model, but I haven’t used it in years. I always had the impression that it presented a fire risk, although I don’t have a particularly strong basis for thinking that. It did get hot, though.

1 Like

The old ones had poor performance and lame or no encryption. The new one are inexpensive, pair up at the press of a button and have strong encryption.


Is there an issue with a house with multiple circuits (for power points)? i.e. the “source” power point would have to be on the same circuit as the “destination”?

I guess also that @amarok would need a double power point at the printer i.e. one power point for the printer and print server, and one power point for networking. (I’m fairly sure that this kind of equipment says “don’t use on a power board”.)


Data can traverse different circuits through your breaker box, even to a neighboring residence – that’s why encryption is so important.

The technique used is very much like WiFi, so only one device can transmit at a time. Too many devices can impact latency and throughput.


FWIW there are powerline adapters that passthru the power outlet allowing for the printer/print server/or other device to be plugged into the powerline adapter that is plugged into the wall.


Oh wow… my printer actually is wireless-capable! :astonished:

Excuse me a second…

Egg, meet Face!
:egg: :handshake: :face_with_peeking_eye:

Perusing the 172-PAGE USER GUIDE (PDF!) now, maybe there was a good reason I never bothered with wireless when I bought it years ago and then forgot about it. (The Quick Setup guide is only 55 pages!)

Still, I thought I would give it a shot. Lugged the thing downstairs, physically connected it to my router via ethernet cable, so I could hopefully set up network printing, and… my router doesn’t even know it’s there. Shouldn’t it show up as a LAN-port-connected device and have an IP address? I tried restarting the router and the printer a couple of times, but it’s still not showing.

For now I’ll just go back to my former printing method.



Printers usually get a fixed IP address, at least in the traditional Linux world. This means that it is not uncommon that you will have to configure on the printer a static IP address. (The printer would then also require a correct subnet mask.)

… is an extra step before that. You need to configure on the printer the WiFi SSID and PSK.

You should be able to do both without lugging the printer downstairs, provided that you can get WiFi signal upstairs.

If you have a printer that offers both wired and wireless then you would need to understand how those two options interact e.g. can use both simultaneously but they have different and independent IP addresses or e.g. wired takes precedence over wireless and hence you can’t use both simultaneously and they may well share an IP address or e.g. some other option.

You also need to verify that the printer can use WiFi to connect to your local network - as distinct from WiFi Direct, where the printer acts as a Wireless Access Point, and wireless clients can associate directly with the printer and print stuff. (I consider this poor security and it wouldn’t even be ideal in your scenario.)

I can’t really tell you how to set any of these things.

So, yes, it is not exactly simple. Hence the 55 page "Q"SG and the 172 page UG.


Which are aimed exclusively at Windows and Mac users, with a supplied CD to enable setup, further complicating the issue for me. Lol. :roll_eyes:

If I feel industrious later, I’ll give it another look.