Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sun xVM VirtualBox 2.2: Experimental USB support for OpenSolaris hosts

I really never had the need of even thinking about USB support on VirtualBox until I bought an HP OfficeJet 6500 multifunction printer at home. I chose that printer because it has a network interface and it was (more or less) supported by HPLIP Linux driver: I thought it could work with some hacking with Solaris as well. Worked indeed in Solaris but there was no hope to have the scanner work with Sane (let alone the fax...). No problem, thought I: I'll run a Linux or a Windows on VirtualBox and use HP's software.

Well: HP Windows software does not install if it detects that the OS doesn't support USB. No way to go, even if at the beginning of the installation I chose "Network attached printer". No way. USB support is good news for everybody and as far as it concerns myself, I hope to be able to launch and perform HP's software installation.

Edited: I finally had the time to setup another Solaris host and, indeed, everything is working fine.


Brian Hey said...

Have you tried out the USB support?
That is one of the main reasons for using vmware free editon.

Grey said...

Thanks Brian, I often reads complaints about it.

By the way, I managed to have HP software working: I'll keep the blog up to date.

Grey said...

I updated the blog entry and posted another one.


Christian said...

I'd like to buy the same printer and use it natively in OpenSolaris. What's the problem with the scanner?

Grey said...

Christian, as soon as I plugged in the USB cable the OS recognized the printer and I could print a pretty test page! The scanner is not (yet) supported by HPLIP software and HP states that support is going to be integrated soon: the printer is very new, indeed. I wouldn't worry for it. But yes, nowadays I'm scanning using HP solution center running on a virtualized Windows. For the same reason I couldn't use a virtualized Debian I already had and had to install that Windows instead. As soon as HP updates its HPLIP software, we will be able to get rid of Windows completely.

Christian said...

Ahh, right! I was confused by the version numbers :-) It needs 3.9.4 and not 2.x.

Since OpenSolaris ships hpijs from HPLIP 2.8.7, I think I have to buy another one. Maybe the Officejet J6424.

Grey said...

Yes, that was the kind of doubt I had when choosing the printer. By the way, I really happy with it, it's a great soho printer, indeed. With VirtualBox, if you can afford installing a Windows, I would go for the newest hardware: waiting for hplip wasn't an issue for me but I understand if you don't want to rely on a virtualized OS just to be able to scan documents!