Canon S630 Printer vs. bj8XXYYZ.upp Printer Driver

For quite some time, the Canon S630 printer connected to the file server downstairs has been printing some documents in what looks like garbled reverse video: all of the text areas render as white characters on a black background, with peculiar graphic gibberish filling the space to the right margin. I’d provide a picture, but it wouldn’t be too informative; suffice it to say that if I wasn’t using bulk ink the pages would cost about a buck each.

Printing documents with two-up pages (two document pages on one paper sheet) generally resulted in the first sheet coming out garbled with the remainder emerging unscathed, but sometimes I found an entire stack of black paper. Ouch!

This usually affected documents printed from Web pages, but sometimes clobbered pure PDF documents. Given that Linux printing involves multiple transformations between Postscript / Ghostscript / PDF / PNG / what-have-you, it’s impossible to pin down a common cause.

Searching for the obvious keywords showed other folks had similar problems with different printers and different drivers. None of the threads had any resolution.

Printing the same document on the Epson R380 worked perfectly.

One recent morning I had four out of six documents fail, so I tried some of this and a little of that, before it occurred to me that I should switch the driver. I had chosen the default recommended printer driver during installation: the oddly named bj8xxyyz.upp file produced by the Ghostscript folks. Switching to the Gutenprint 5.2.7 driver seems to have solved the problem; all four failing documents printed perfectly and the problem hasn’t returned in a week of printing.

The R380 was already using the Gutenprint driver, which (in retrospect) should have been a big, fat hint.

I’d file a bug report, but to which project about what? [sigh]