OK, I’m officially an idiot. The problem that I related in my previous post did not turn out to be a problem with the Epson drivers. The answer turned out to be trivial, but events conspired against my finding it initially.
At the end of installing the PIPS drivers from Avasys, the installer suggests that you to run the setup script. When you run the script, it asks you for the port to which the printer is connected. Since the printer is USB, I accepted the default of /dev/usb/lp0. The script then creates /etc/ekpdrc with the configuration information.
/dev/usb/lp0 USED to be correct because my Brother HL-5240 used to be on the parallel port. However, I changed it over to USB a while back for a number of reasons. The Brother now sits on /dev/usb/lp0. Instant conflict with the settings I specified for the Epson PIPS driver.
I didn’t catch it earlier because the Epson wasn’t powered on, and lp0 was the only active device in /dev/usb/. Tonight for other reasons, I happened to be in /etc and noticed the ekpdrc file. I viewed it just for grins and noticed the port assignment. I went to /dev/usb and saw lp0. Then I remembered that the printer wasn’t powered up, so I turned it on. Magically, lp1 showed up in /dev/usb. Bingo, the light bulb went on! I manually edited /etc/ekpdrc to change lp0 to lp1, restarted the system, and all works perfectly.
In the end, this was definitely a problem caused by the keyboard actuator.