Printing in Linux gets better all the time, especially when you find the right drivers.
Printing on any platform is part voodoo, part high blood pressure and hair loss, and part yay-it-works-it-works! Linux printing has been hobbled by the usual lack of support from hardware vendors, who stubbornly refuse to understand that we’re buying printers, not their sacred secret eye pee which is not secret anyway. What’s the first thing any company does when a competitor releases a new product? They rip it apart and reverse-engineer the heck out of it. Or bribe some unhappy perma-temp to give them what they want. Not only that, but there are abundant specs available to anyone knows where to look lurking in government file cabinets, because manufacturers have to file all kinds of information with various government regulatory agencies.
Well OK, this really isn’t going to be a rant, but a big thank-you. Thank you to the fine folks at Turbo Print for producing first-rate Linux drivers for color printers. To me they’re well worth the $30/US license cost because they’re always up-to-date and support the newest printers. I just had a small adventure with my Canon Pixma IP4200- after rebuilding my computer, I installed the Gutenprint printer drivers. Ordinarily these are excellent, but for the Canon they are pretty awful. Everything prints all washed-out and pale, and no amount of tweaking fixes it. So I dug out my Turbo Print drivers, and once again I have superb-quality photo prints.
Another thank-you to Hewlett-Packard for not only supporting Linux drivers for a sizable chunk of their product line, but for releasing them under the GPL. And for making it easy to find out what is supported. Open Source and Linux from HP. I just ordered an HP multi-function Laserjet- stay tuned for hopefully happy reports.
Now my wish list:
1. KDE will you get it together with printing already? Why does a b&w print preview take almost a minute? Why do color print previews take up to ten minutes? Why does it take that long to process a print job? Even with my antique unkillable HP6L, which has to be one of the best-supported printers of all time, it takes way too long to send print jobs to the printer.
2. Samsung, your printers are wonderful, but your binary proprietary drivers are moldy antiques. Just open the things up already, k? I went with HP over Samsung because of this- life is too short to hassle with flaky binary drivers.
Overall, if you choose your printers carefully, printing on Linux is powerhouse, and getting better all the time.