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Re: WSJ - Article on Linux netbooks

On Friday 29 May 2009, Robin Laing wrote:
>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:
>> http://www.linuxfoundation.org/en/OpenPrinting
>> Alan
>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
They have been on the next shelf down from M$ in my cataloging for years.

>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.

Ouch!  OTOH, I have not needed any Epson support, ever.

>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 hear that!  There seems to be a major fee attached to the use of the word 

>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.
>   http://www.alwaysinnovating.com/touchbook/
>I doubt Fedora will run on it though.  Lack of KDE would be a problem
>for me. :)

Me too Robin.

Cheers, Gene
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