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Printers and Linux

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11 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_MarkA_*

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 11:34 AM

As me and Winged were discussing in another thread, I wonder why there is such a big problem with printers and Linux... many printers are not detected and supported by Linux.. is there a logical explanation for this?
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#2 WingedPanther73

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 08:50 AM

Sure, every device has a communication protocol that it follows. For example: to print an image on a printer, you will have to tell the printer what pixels to paint what colors. Depending on the printer, the instructions you have to send it will vary. Some old dot-matrix printers needed to be told to shift between text mode and graphics mode, for example, while modern printers essentially function in graphics mode at all times.

The precise codes are handled by the drivers (created by the manufacturers), which are generally made available for Mac and Windows, but are NOT always provided for Linux. Because creating a driver is different for each system, some manufacturers make the decision that providing a driver on Linux isn't worth the time their developers would spend creating it. As a result, no driver. It's then up to the Linux community to attempt to build drivers for those items, a VERY tedious process.

Some companies are better than others about providing assistance/drivers for their printers, but you really have to do some research before you buy, or you could get a very expensive paperweight. OpenPrinting - The Linux Foundation has a lot of additional resources for looking up and configuring printers.
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#3 Guest_MarkA_*

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 10:50 AM

Hmm... ok. but then why does Linux detect many other devices? I mean, this huge problem seems to be with printers... with other devices it doesn't seem to be such a huge problem.
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#4 Tor

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 06:19 AM

You can't use generic drivers on your EEE PC to get the lexmark to work?
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#5 PenguinLover

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 06:53 AM

What difference is there between the actual drivers and the generic ones?
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#6 Guest_MarkA_*

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 07:03 AM

I think it differs maybe in the printing quality and even the colors.. they might not be printed exactly... although I can't understand how they work! Because of all the codes and stuff like that that Winged mentioned...
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#7 WingedPanther73

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 08:48 AM

The lexmark refuses the work. If you think about something like a video card, there are two things in it's favor:
1) the VGA protocol is pretty universally supported and well documented. So getting basic functionality working is easy.
2) there aren't that many video cards on the market.

Compare that with a printer:
1) There are a variety of protocols for even CONNECTING to the printer (USB, Firewire, LPT, etc)
2) There is no standard for basic printer communication
3) There are thousands of different printers when you look at the major players
4) Microsoft loves to add new "functionality" for connecting devices that enables some very strange connection methods (maybe the printer is some funky "hard drive")

Even a company like HP, which is working to provide Linux support for its printers, has difficulty getting all its products supported on Linux.
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#8 najaubais

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 11:13 PM

As me and Winged were discussing in another thread, I wonder why there is such a big problem with printers and Linux... many printers are not detected and supported by Linux.. is there a logical explanation for this?

Logical explanation is very simple. Most of the manufacturers just Ignore Linux because they know Linux has a pool of talent which is available for free would develop the drivers themselves. Linux is free. Windows hijacked the PC market and it becomes a must to come with a drivers. But Linux is fast gaining recognitions. An open source OS is competing with Premium OS like Windows Vista and beating it in the quality. People must be educated.
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#9 Guest_racerman_*

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 05:28 AM

True.. but let's face it.. Linux is not as friendly as windows is.. by far!
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#10 Guest_MarkA_*

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 12:43 PM

Well, and besides that it has much more computability issues... and to fix them it can take hours for noobs like me..
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#11 PenguinLover

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 12:54 PM

Well, Linux is not bad, you just need to read a lot of online tutorials I guess.

And maybe try and hack some printers drivers, when you have some hours... that's it.. you just need some time.
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#12 nadha

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 03:52 AM

Linux is an open source software and we have thousands of learned men working round the clock to make things easy for people who use Linux. There are certain problems with Linux and printers. A simple search with details was enough to find updates many times.. Anything possible with Linux.. Positively
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