It's working now, so I can laugh about. Ha ha.
This all started when I decided I wanted to print a file to a PDF (actually, save a web page as a PDF). That wasn't supported, but googling told me I just needed to upgrade my version of hplip. "So simple! I love open source!" I probably trilled.
Then I discovered that the latest, shiniest hplip wasn't available as a package, but as a download from the HP site. Warning bells started clanging, but I blithely ignored them and pressed on, downloading and running hplip. It ran happily for a while, then stopped with the dire warning 'error: Configure failed with error: python-devel not found'.
Oh well, off to the Synaptic Package Manager, I'm a seasoned Linus guy
Hmm. Oh well, I can still print right? Heh.
Um, no. Well, that's not exactly true -- if your goal is to always get a page that says '**** Unable to open the initial device, quitting', then printing works GREAT! Otherwise, no. Your printing is dead. Oh, and scanning? Also dead.
So this morning I set out to get this situation fixed. I went into Synaptic and installed python-all-dev, figuring that would sort things out. Nope.
Back to googling
DEPENDENCY AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION
warning: A previous install of HPLIP is installed and/or running.
sudo apt-get remove --assume-yes hplip hpijs hplip-cups hplip-data libhpmud0 foomatic-db-hpijs (Removing old HPLIP version)
warning: HPLIP removal failed. The previous install may have been installed using a tarball or this installer.
warning: Continuing to run installer - this installation should overwrite the previous one.
So, let's review. The software detected that a previous version ran (but didn't clean up after itself) or perhaps is still running. It tried to remove the old version using apt-get, failed (perhaps because the previous run was via the same intsaller) and finally says -- no biggie, that's not really important. These installation scripts need work.
Then a nice dialog window popped up, and I was informed that the software was trying to find the wireless printer, without success. I checked my modem/router -- the printer was there, with an IP address. I disabled and enabled the wireless on the printer -- no luck. Finally I understood that even though the printer was wireless, it wanted a USB connection to the printer. Oh, and not a standard USB cable with two rectangular connectors, but one with a square connector at one end. Really? Do you think I have a stockpile of old cables?
Actually, luckily, I do. I plugged the cable in, and the printer was properly configured. Then it took me back to a nice dialog window
So my CUPS installation now has three HP printers, one of which looks healthy, and the other two that look dead. The healthy one is working. What to do? Burn it. Burn it all. Yes, I deleted all three HP printers, and had to add a new one. And CUPS provides even more hilarity: After picking the HP C4500 series printer, CUPS goes on to ask the name of the manufacturer. All I can do is shake my head and select 'HP' and click Add. This works, and I am successfully able to print a test page.
Scanning is still broken, but I'll have to leave that for tomorrow morning. If you don't see another blog entry, just look for me in the rubber room at the Hotel Happy. I'll be the loony in the dark blue bathrobe shouting "Abort, Retry, Fail?" at the wall.