HP Officejet Pro 8500 - Happy with Mac, Linux and Windows XP

HP Officejet Pro 8500 - Happy with Mac, Linux and Windows XP

Summary: If you'll remember, I had quite the experience wrestling with HP's 6310v and C5140 printers (see HP Officejet 6310v or Photosmart C5140 plus Windows XP-an exercise in installation futility). The 6310v appeared to do what it was supposed to do.


If you'll remember, I had quite the experience wrestling with HP's 6310v and C5140 printers (see HP Officejet 6310v or Photosmart C5140 plus Windows XP-an exercise in installation futility). The 6310v appeared to do what it was supposed to do. No one could get the required software to load on Windows XP. Since I couldn't get the software to load, the C5140 printer was never taken out of its box.  In both cases, I gave HP the opportunity to help.  I spent hours on the phone, on chat sessions and even sending Email to HP support sorcerers and neither they nor I could get the software to load. I guess my post didn't please the folks over at HP.

HP has its PR company contact me

HP had Brent Camara of their PR firm contact me. He pointed out that huge herds of these printers have been installed and are operating all over the world.  He also pointed out that problems, such as those I experienced, were vanishingly rare.

Brent wanted me to try again with a different printer model, the Officejet Pro 8500.  I guess that was because the software for that machine was significantly better than that coming with either the 6310v or the C5140.

Although the Lexmark device was serving our purposes over here at KG LLC, I was willing to give HP another try. Over the weekend, I moved the Lexmark printer to another desk.

Initial impressions of the Officejet Pro 8500

As I moved the box into my office, my first impression was that the box was taller and wider than than any of the other inkjet printers we here at KG LLC have used. The box was similar in size and weight to many of the small laser printers we've used..

Downloading the software

Rather than opening the box to obtain the needed software, I simply downloaded software for each of the desktop machines for the test. After all, if I couldn't get this software to load, it wasn't worth the time to unload the machine.

As with the other HP printers, HP's software for this printer is large. The software for Mac OS X consumes 168.73 MB. The software for Windows XP takes up 220.16 MB. Similar software for Linux can't be found directly on the HP website. It is necessary to chase some links to another website, a site that HP won't vouch for. It points out that it assumes no responsibility for software on that site. Hmmmm.

Installing the software

The software loaded easily on the Mac and I was able to get the Linux machines on speaking terms with the printer quickly. With a bit of trepidation, I approached the Windows XP machine.  I looked at it, it looked at me.  Neither of us was looking forward to an ordeal loading the HP software.

Although I had loads of trouble with HP's software for the other printers, Loading the Officejet Pro 8500 software took only about 20 minutes. Only one problem was experienced with the procedure. The registration software wouldn't work with Firefox, my primary Browser on all of my systems. It insisted that I use Internet Explorer 7. Since that software isn't available on all of the other systems in use here, it has not been loaded on any of the systems.

Furthermore, I've never been willing to load Microsoft's "Windows Genuine Advantage" software which is a requirement for IE 7 and 8.  I guess Microsoft's assumption that I'm a software thief and that I have to prove that I'm not gives me enough heartburn that I don't download software that has that requirement.

How did it work?

Once the software was installed on all of the systems, I was able to run a few tests. The machine was easily able to print pages containing text, photos and other types of graphics without working up a sweat. It was able to munch down photos, complex documents and the like when I tested the scanning and copying functions.  The OCR software, by the way, doesn't like the word "Kusnetzky" and comes up with clever, but wrong, alternatives. Two sided printing seems to be much slower because the printer insisted on waiting quite a while for the ink to dry on side one before starting on page two of any document.

While I'm not equipped to test the printing, copying or scanning speed, the device and its software appeared to do the job quickly and efficiently.

It appears that HP got it right with the software for the Officejet Pro 8500 and the printer itself.

Good job HP!

Topics: Windows, IT Employment, Software, Printers, Open Source, Microsoft, Linux, Hewlett-Packard, Hardware, CXO, Apple


Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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  • Don't need to load drivers ...

    ... with a mainstream distro like Ubuntu. Just plug the printer in and turn it on. If you need advanced features you only need to install the HP Linux Imaging and Printing System (HLIP) packages available in the Ubuntu software repositories.

    No searching for drivers, no downloading and installing 200+ MB applications, no virus scanning since the Ubuntu packages are signed binaries. And people still say that Linux is too "difficult" to use.
    • As you say, getting Linux to play was easy

      MisterMiester, as you point out, it was easy getting Linux to chat with any of the printers mentioned in the post. In all cases, I was able to do what was needed without much pain.

      Dan K
    • Thats correct...

      My OfficeJet gave me hell with WinXP but worked flawlessly with Ubuntu without installing a thing. I was quite impressed.
      • Re: Thats correct...

        That's my experience too. Not only with printers but every other piece of hardware like scanners, usb audio cards, usb bluetooth dongles, network cards, webcams, etc.

        If you compare Windows, MAC and Linux, Linux is the easiest and the most reliable and supports the largest hardware colection*.

        * Linux still supports hardware from 199X as well as very recent hardware. Anyway, before buying you should do a quick google search to check that your hardware is supported.
    • MisterMiester

      I agree with your post, I have my second HP printer on my Ubuntu computer and both worked without any searching for drivers etc.

      HP is probably the outfit that have done most to ensure that their products work well on Linux OS.
  • RE: HP Officejet Pro 8500 - Happy with Mac, Linux and Windows XP

    (quote)Similar software for Linux can?t be found directly on the HP website. It is necessary to chase some links to another website, a site that HP won?t vouch for. It points out that it assumes no responsibility for software on that site. Hmmmm.(unquote)

    I think this may be connected with Microsoft's advertising rebates prevent Linux drivers and Linux compatibility from being advertised under threat of losing the Microsoft advertising rebate. This (highly illegal) scenario is the only possible explanation.
    • Or it could be that HP has little time

      to waste on creating and mantaining drivers for the tiny fraction of people who use Linux that [i]may[/i] purchase this printer?

      This (highly typical) scenario is the only possible explanation.

      • Actually...

        HP has spent more time than probably any other printer vendor on developing Linux drivers for their products. The issue that Windows users are easy marks for "value added" software and HP knows this. Linux users would never put up such garbage.

        Either way, HP printers are not nearly of the same quality that they were in the 90's and as such I've been avoiding them at all costs for several years.
      • GuidingLight

        You are an ignorant bigot .

        HP has the best Linux support of all brands .

  • HP's consumer drivers are terrible

    I had a similar bad experience with their Win drivers for one of their consumer-level AIO printers. I am an IT professional and I was bashing my head against a wall not just trying to get their software to play nice, but to uninstall and reinstall properly. I finally had to use a registry cleaner app to get rid of the nasty software and return the unit. If it was giving ME those sorts of fits, I don't want to think about what Joe User would go through.
  • It's not the driver that accounts for the size

    It's not the driver that accounts for the enormous size of the
    software, it's all the "extra's" HP forces you to install that
    (most users) don't want or need! Their hope is that you'll use
    their software to print more thus spend more money on ink!
    But anyone who is serious about photos wouldn't use their
    lame software anyway so why install it?
  • Linux driver is supported

    The 'HPLIP' (HP Linux Printing & Imaging) project is funded by HP and supported by an online forum at the project's Launchpad site.
    • The Website says...

      The webpage on HP's own site contains the following warning. " NOTE: This link takes you outside the HP Web site. HP does not control, and is not responsible for, information outside the HP Web site."

      HP is saying that they don't stand behind what's found on that other website.

      Dan K
      • Dan K

        The BBC news website stats the same thing.
        It seems the correct thing , as they have no control over what appears on other websites
  • Secunia Does Not Like My HP Officejet Pro 8000 Software Install

    I bought and successfully installed a new officejet
    pro 8000 on XP. Later I got a warning from Secunia
    that I suddenly now had an old version of Adobe flash
    player installed in the system 32 folder that was
    insecure and exposed me to security threats. I
    followed the Secunia directions to update to the
    newest version and remove the old. Then on startup I
    kept getting error messages about missing installation
    packages and needing a disk. I finally figured out it
    was the HP software so I put the HP install disk in.
    It reinstalled the old insecure version of the flash
    player and was happy again. Then Secunia started
    again with its warnings. I went through the whole
    process another time and now I just leave my HP disk
    in the drive so I don't get the startup error
    messages. Something is wrong here. Why doesn't the HP
    software use the up-to-date version of flash player I
    already had installed, and insist on installing an
    older insecure version?
  • Linux not perfect

    Thanks to the gui requiring the dev versions of the latest cups drivers along with the dev versions of dependency files, I can't get the gui to work because I'm running Debian stable and even with backports, there a problem with dependencies. Tried uninstalling some other packages so I could update a couple of specific dependencies, a few worked, a few didn't. Apparently I need the gui because the printer prints faulty color pictures, short horizontal white lines appear over various area of the photographs, according to HP's troubleshooting docs on their site I need to run a more advanced diagnostic test than the command line options allow or what the printer touch screen allows to accurately diagnose the problem without trashing the printheads and installing new ones, or contemplating returning this behemoth under warranty. So I basically have a black & white duplex inkjet printer, where I could've purchased a laser printer to perform the same functions. The other issue is since I can't get the gui to work, I'm trying to get the scanner to work by accessing the printer through it's port 80 on the network, but I can't figure out the path to enter for a network folder, nothing I tried works. I've been searching the repositories to find some other scanning apps that may work, so far I can't get Kooka (KDE) to work and SANE/XSANE isn't working yet. Scanning is no problem with my epson scanner.
    • HP not perfect, Linux ok

      would be a better title. Linux (Debian and other distros) has worked much better for me than Windows in getting most peripherals working, especially as time has passed. But for my parent post, my issue highlights the problem when HP provides documentation to Linux hackers so that the community can get the hardware working on Linux, but the company totally disowns the result. Because of this, I can't call HP and tell them I have a problem with one of their printers I just purchased, it's a dependency problem, and how can I solve this, or can you suggest some compile flags or mods to a file so that the dependency problem can be worked around. With HP disowning Linux support, they save money, I waste ink and printhead cartridges trying to get it to work, ink jet photo paper 8 1/2 x 11, and a lot of frustration, and I've been using Linux for more than ten years. I've even upgraded cups and some dependencies to testing and unstable temporarily, but one or two specific dependencies unrelated to cups is keeping me from compiling/installing the HP software. In order to remove the specific file so I can install either an updated dev version, the system wants to uninstall KDE. I've tried forcing upgrades, manual install, etc., nothing works. I may try installing their software on a virtualized Windows 7 RC guest install on my Linux host, and working from that, but I didn't bother saving the disk that came in the package as sop is to chuck any disks that come with peripherals and let the kernel perform its magic. I'll have to download the software and try the virtualization trick. This level of knowledge shouldn't be required to get this multi-function working.
  • RE: HP Officejet Pro 8500 - Happy with Mac, Linux and Windows XP

    Actually, the 8500 is NOT happy with Macs. It is easily overlooked, but you actually can't print on the lower 1/2 inch of the page in any mode other than "Borderless" (which takes 4-5 minutes per page).

    I have 3 macs at home all of different vintage and on 2 different OSs. All exhibit the same problem. My one windows machine works fine. Its also well documented on the internet (even on HPs forums) that there are problems. Yet, after weeks of attempting to work with HPs tech support team and escalating it to the corporate level, they say the problem is mine (not of the 8500) and that I should use the slow borderless mode on my Macs. Did I also mention that they didn't even try to reproduce the problem and declined to try when I asked them.

    I've been writing software for years and can tell you with near 95% certainty that it is their driver that is causing the problem. Again, the folks at HP refuse to reproduce the problem and consequently The OfficeJet 8500 will likely never work well with Macs.