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Re: WSJ - Article on Linux netbooks

Alan Cox wrote:
O> is done by the host computer.  There are things the printer can do that
will break the printer.  We are talking about things like how long to
heat the little wire to flash-steam the ink etc.  Do it for too long and
you damage the wire.  On the mickysoft driver, this is all buried in a
binary blob and while folks could in theory binary edit it, they won't
for the most part.  In the OSS world, if they released sources, that

You honestly think the bad guys wouldn't just sniff the wire, disassemble
the driver and write printer exploding worms given the chance.

almost certainly wouldn't be as true.  This puts Lexmark in a very bad
position.  If they open it up they would need to figure out a way to
tell if a modified driver caused damage and not cover that damage under
warranty repairs.

I don't doubt that the printer control is done from the PC end, but I'd
be suprised if Lexmark were dumb enough to just trust the PC commands.
You don't DRM your toner cartridges and then act careless on the rest
surely. I'd have thought they'd have DRM on the driver interface too !

Linux actually supports a fair number of "dumb" printers, usually by
rasterising with ghostscript and then driving the rasteriser through some
custom printer driver.

And printers are one area where the what to buy data is really quite good:



I have owned Lexmark, Epson and HP. I purchased a Lexmark when they had Linux drivers on their site. It worked okay but never great and not all the features. More issues with ink and heads. Same issues that my Windows friends had. Lexmark is now in the same levels as Microsoft for quality.

My Epson printers were great until one got into a weird state that I couldn't even talk to a support number without a credit card, even to ask where the local repair center was. Printer became trash before I was off the phone.

HP has been great. I just purchased an all-in-one to replace an HP printer that needs new heads (>$100) and I hooked it up using wireless network. Opened HPLIP and it found the printer, set it up and all worked as expected. Scanning and printing were perfect.

We use HP and Xerox at work and I would love to get a Xerox Phaser for home but that is out of my price range. :)

I am getting a netbook or notebook for my daughter this summer and I am looking at what is going to be supplied with Linux out of the box.

This may be something to look at.

I doubt Fedora will run on it though. Lack of KDE would be a problem for me. :)

Robin Laing

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