[Scribus] printing canon printers

Craig Ringer craig
Fri Apr 1 08:27:40 CEST 2005

On Thu, 2005-03-31 at 22:06 -0800, Bart Alberti wrote:
> Indeed the question (thanks for your instantaneous reply!) is, since I
> actually get the message "SuSE Linux does not support this printer", when
> it, namely, BJ-200, is right there on the list; and I have seen postings on
> the forums that somehow SuSE 9.2 yanked support for the Canon BJ-200
> (something about libpng.so.#nnn) although their hard ware data base still
> shows  it as fully supported (not under CUPS but LPrng of course).

That _is_ unfortunate, and sounds rather strange.

> It's a bit irrelevant but the modem was a devil too under 9.1 even my
> external modems (three of them) did not work but only the Intel 536ep is
> fine and I have an external  too under 9.2.

Modems are also an issue, I can't argue there - though again, it really
comes down to the hardware vendors. "Modern" modem hardware has no
standard interface and requires complex signal processing software to
work. The hardware vendors don't release the interface specs for their
modems, and IIRC there are patent issues with the software. So, in the
end, if your computer has a modem with a non-standard interface that
requires patent-protected software that your vendor only makes for
Windows, that's not really the Linux distros' problem. It's a right
pain, and most unfortunate, but the hardware vendors are at least as
much to blame as the kernel and distro folks.

The old Hayes AT command set serial modems were a nice, standard bunch.
Unfortunately, they cost a couple of bucks more to make because they had
signal processing hardware on them, and the *market* chose cheap sofware
modems instead, leaving us in the situation we're in today.

There's also a USB class driver standard for modems that should work
fine (but many hardware vendors *ignore* it).

> Linux is intolerant of hard ware (as was Win NT notoriously). This must
> stop.

Unfortunately, saying it must stop won't do any good. There are a lot of
very smart people who're trying to actually do something to improve the
situation - but there are some really major limitations as I outlined

Windows supports hardware if Microsoft or the HARDWARE VENDOR provide a
driver to be bundled with Windows. Hardware vendors write drivers for
windows because (a) it's their biggest market and (b) because Windows
provides a reasonably stable ABI for them to ship binary-only drivers

Linux supports hardware if someone sits down and writes the driver,
often having to reverse engineer the hardware communication protocol
because they get no documentation or help from the hardware vendor.
Sometimes the hardware vendor makes drivers (3ware, Intel, many others),
often they don't, and even when they do sometimes they're binary-only or
licensed so they can't be distributed with the OS. Hardware vendors
generally don't write drivers for Linux because (a) it's a huge amount
of work for a small market and (b) there's no stable ABI and it's
hostile to their preferred binary-only form of driver delivery.

Because of this, saying "it must stop" gets you absolutely nowhere.
Linux's hardware support is already pretty incredible - without a doubt
the second best of all the OSes out there (MacOS/X probably comes second
for consumer peripherals, but sucks pretty badly in most other hardware
support areas). Lots of people are working very hard to improve Linux's
hardware support even more, and trying to think of ways to get the
hardware vendors on-side.

The kernel folks are very strongly resistant to providing a stable ABI
for binary-only drivers (heck, current "stable" kernels don't even have
a stable _API_ for drivers), and in the end they're the folks doing the
work. Their reasons make sense, too. 

This puts the whole hardware support issue at somewhat of an impasse -
hardware vendors want a single Linux distro with infrequent releases and
stable ABI, and it doesn't look like they're going to get it. I can't
say I mind that much - to me the sacrifices required are a bit much. If
only they'd be more co-operative with hardware specs so more OSS drivers
could be written...

I guess it could be claimed that hardware vendors are intolerant of
Linux, rather than Linux is intolerant of hardware. Linux doesn't make
it any easier on the hardware vendors of course, but that's not just an
arbitrary thing done to make people's lives hard.

> I too am a hobby enthusiast! This is all a challenge; but aggravating, too.

I share your frustration to an extent. In the end though, it's not as
simple as demanding that it improve - you have to help do something
about it (time, effort, and money all help), live with it, or use
something that'll better fit your needs.

Anyway, this discussion has little to do with Scribus, so feel free to
reply off list if you prefer.

Craig Ringer

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