ask manufacturer to enable Linux support
Check Linux hardware compatibility lists *before* you buy hardware. If the manufacturer does not provide Linux drivers nor provides enough information to permit Linux programmers to write drivers for the device, you should politely inform the manufacturer that you are unable to select his product if it is not supported by Linux. Asking the device manufacturer for Linux drivers informs the manufacturer that they are excluding at least some potential market for their product.
Many hardware manufacturers do not provide Linux drivers and do not publish enough information about how their devices work to allow Linux programmers to write device drivers for them.
You may also ask the manufacturer to simply expose the details of the language that their product recognizes for its graphic functions. The manufacturer may not be aware that they do not actually need to write drivers to get Linux support. That is, if they expose the details it is more than possible that someone will write drivers for them at no cost to the device manufacturer. The details must be freely available and unencumbered by non disclosure agreements to be usable by the largest audience in Linux users. We are not asking for any manufacturing or implementation secrets. All we want is enough information to let us write device drivers.
If the manufacturer is intransigent but there is still a lot of demand for drivers for his hardware, it may still be possible to reverse engineer a Windows driver by observing the message traffic between the computer and the printer when it is printing graphics from a computer running a Windows(R) operating system. However, there are a lot of Linux drivers writers who are unwilling to support products from a manufacturer with such an uncooperative attitude. It is *much* more time consuming to reverse engineer the message traffic than it is to read the manufacturer's documentation about what the device needs. After all, we are asking for something that costs nothing for the manufacturer, and we are offering access to a market share for little or no cost.
Text-only portable printers can actually be quite useful. If text-only output can satisfy your application, then you can simply use it for text. You should still send a polite letter or email to the manufacturer to point out that there would be more use for his product if he would publish enough details to allow it to be supported by Linux.
Last edited by ArthurSittler; 05-12-2010 at 06:24 AM.
Reason: correct "simply uses it for text" to "simply use it for text"