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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

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Old 02-27-2009, 07:59 AM   #1
baldurpet
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What to do if your operating system can't access printers etc.


I'm having a hard time putting this into words but here goes.

If you have a computer with say, Ubuntu, and it can't connect to a proprietary printer or something- is there another way of connecting to it?

Do popular distros like Ubuntu, Fedora or openSUSE include every source code (I forgot what it's called) for every device which has been "cracked" by the open source community? Is it possible that you might be able to connect to a printer using another distro, and if so- why don't giants like Ubuntu simply copy that source code into Ubuntu? (I hope what I meant got through)

Also, are there maybe amateurs out there or something that include source codes for printers or scanners on their homepages?

p.s. Maybe I have some of these questions because I simply don't understand how people acquire source codes (i.e. "how to connect to...") for peripheral devices? I know some companies have their source code open source, but what about others?
 
Old 02-27-2009, 08:10 AM   #2
pixellany
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Most mainstream printers are now well-supported. The best is HP, and Epson is also very good. Canon is starting to provide Linux support. AFAIK, Lexmark is still not playing.

The manufacturer will not necessarily supply open-source drivers, but--if they are good Linux citizens--they WILL supply all the info required for someone to write a driver.

By "cracking", I assume you mean reverse-engineering to figure out how to write a driver. I would guess that is now very much the exception.
 
Old 02-27-2009, 08:14 AM   #3
mrclisdue
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In a nutshell, you can search openprinting.org for your make/model of printer/scanner, and find out whether it'll work under Linux.

No one distro works better than another, or has more support than another for printer/scanners. The CUPS/Gutenberg stuff is pretty well standard issue for all distros.

If you're willing to fork out some cash, Turboprint apparently has support for a bunch of printers outside of what can be found at openprinting.org.

I'm in a similar situation because my son gave me an all-in-one printer for xmas; unfortunately, it's a paperweight as far as Linux is concerned, and I'd rather drink my own urine than infect even an aged PC with windows. So, currently, my only choices are to have the printer sit unopened in its box until the printing gods are able to crack the thing (doubtful, because there are a billion different printers, so I hardly think my model has precedence), or begrudgingly install XP or something in VirtualBox (which would count as a defeat for me...)

cheers,

Last edited by mrclisdue; 02-27-2009 at 08:16 AM.
 
Old 02-27-2009, 08:24 AM   #4
baldurpet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrclisdue View Post
I'm in a similar situation because my son gave me an all-in-one printer for xmas; unfortunately, it's a paperweight as far as Linux is concerned, and I'd rather drink my own urine than infect even an aged PC with windows. So, currently, my only choices are to have the printer sit unopened in its box until the printing gods are able to crack the thing (doubtful, because there are a billion different printers, so I hardly think my model has precedence), or begrudgingly install XP or something in VirtualBox (which would count as a defeat for me...)cheers,
I didn't really ask because I'm in any situation (although the printer my dad has (Canon MP600R) isn't compatible with Linux, which sucks), but rather because I wanted to know whether there is anything I could do if I couldn't access a printer (like requesting that someone "reverse-engineer" it, or switch distros, which apparently isn't the case).

Is it possible though that new drivers (yeah ok, that's what it's called) will be added for printers in future versions of Linux OSs or through updates? Because mrclisdue made it sound like it's just a big package which every distro has.

Are you sure every distro has the same drivers and support for devices? Because I heard that one of the reason Ubuntu is so much bigger than similar distros is because it includes so many drivers?
 
Old 02-27-2009, 08:50 AM   #5
mrclisdue
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I suppose a better statement may be that every distro has the same *access* to the drivers and support. Granted, some distros have a base install of < 200M whilst others have a base install > 4G, so something has to give somewhere.

But the CUPS package is pretty well standard for most of the popular desktop distros, so other than the difference in which CUPS version is being installed (eg, 1.3.7 vs 1.3.9), and whether Gutenberg, or Foomatic, or Splix, or perhaps others, are part of the bundle, there shouldn't be too much variation in which drivers come prepackaged with which distro.

Ultimately, I suppose, my main point is that if openprinting.org says the printer is a paperweight, then for all intents and purposes, it is.

As an aside, my paperweight is a Canon MP480, so I'm in the same boat as your dad. The Turboprint drivers will work for printing, but not for scanning, and paying for drivers violates my principles anyway...

cheers,

Last edited by mrclisdue; 02-27-2009 at 08:52 AM.
 
Old 02-27-2009, 09:56 AM   #6
baldurpet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrclisdue View Post
I suppose a better statement may be that every distro has the same *access* to the drivers and support. Granted, some distros have a base install of < 200M whilst others have a base install > 4G, so something has to give somewhere.
Fair enough. But basically as long as you're not using a mini distro like Feather Linux, DSL, Puppy Linux etc. it shouldn't really matter which distribution you use, they all have the same basic access? (how much space does a driver use up anyway?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrclisdue View Post
As an aside, my paperweight is a Canon MP480, so I'm in the same boat as your dad. The Turboprint drivers will work for printing, but not for scanning, and paying for drivers violates my principles anyway...
You and I both, I'm not one of those Linux zealots that shudder at the thought of using anything related to Windows but I'd rather not (also, I can hardly stand the Windows GUI after all those years- the blue colour really gets to me).
 
  


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