Whether it be CUPS or system-config-printer, what I want is access to a database of drivers that would cover the largest number of printers, not only the printer that I would like to install for myself. The use is for the community of a small slackware based distribution called porteus. We have the intent to accomodate as much users as possible. Naive users are our main concern, though I have realised that printer accessibility is not necessarily easy for the experienced user, especially if he did not thought linux in the first place.
To cover a wide array of linux printer drivers, there are some printer drivers database. I am trying to sort out the differences between these database in terms of printer coverage. Do these database overlap much? What is the cost-benefit of the available database in terms of their size or weights and the importance (popularity) of the printers that they cover?
1) As a database, added to CUPS, gutenprint is a wise choice as a printer drivers database. It covers a wide array of manufacturers and printer models. However, I would like to get a wider coverage.
2) For hp alone, Hplip without dependencies could be a nice addition to gutenprint as it will cover more generously the array of printers produced by that manufacturer. Hp according to market studies, see:
would have 41% of market shares. Other printer manufacturers' shares would be: canon (19%), epson (14%), samsung (6%) and brother (5%) manufacturers, the rest of the printer business being shared by other manufacturers (15%)
3) There is also the foomatic system. Under slackware the binary packag currently available is foomatic-filters. From what I understand this will permit CUPS to be compatible with individual ppds. The foomatic database thru ppds will permit the access to a wide array of printers. There seems to be an advantage to have also foomatic-db (the database), but also foomatic-engine and maybe foomatic-nonfree directly on the computer, as the system-config-printer interface will take directly advantage of the database. From my understanding the foomatic system tends to have a printer coverage independent of the gutenprint database (but I am not that sure). Your comments on that would be appreciated. Would this system be complementary to the gutenprint and to the hplip databases?
I am looking for your knowledge and impressions about these databases of printer drivers concerning their complementarity and pertinency to cover user needs extensively, but at the same time efficiently. If you know of additional printer driver database, your suggestions are welcome.