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Re: Laser Printer recommendation...

On 08/08/2017 02:01 PM, Doug wrote:
It always amazes me that people who get a driver made specifically
for a device, a driver that has significantly more capability than
one that came with their Linux os, would refuse to use it. It hasn't
cost them anything, just as the Linux os hasn't cost them anything,
so it is FREE. (Don't tell me they paid for it with the
printer--they couldn't have bought the printer without subsidizing
the driver, so essentially it is free.)  Same goes for video drivers.
It's like trying to swim with one hand tied behind your back.


It always amazes me that people think that something that didn't cost them any additional money is necessarily free. We live in a society chock full of nefarious operators (commercial, governmental, and free-lance). There can be a lot of issues with just accepting a manufacturer's software. I've seen the support disc for a printer install a half-dozen or more services (and set them to run automatically at system start) without any notification whatsoever to the user.

I'd also say that the Open Source drivers available for many devices do not differ significantly in usable functionality (as opposed to lacking special "features" from the proprietary ones. Furthermore, many users don't even need all of the regular functionality provided by the proprietary drivers. How many of us have multi-function printing devices at home which include fax capability? How many of us actually use that fax capability at home? If you don't need it, why install additional software to support it?

Some of the proprietary driver packages I've seen appear to be a hodge-podge of Open Source / Freeware / Proprietary software collected by support groups that are barely holding on by their fingernails. How often is that stuff perused for security or functional issues? They're barely getting it out of the door to keep up with the plethora of new printer models! It can be a bit horrifying to watch a truly ugly installation process grinding away for minutes doing whatever it wants under the root account -- often without signifying just what it's doing to ownership and permissions or what it may be altering in config files or just what it's dumping in system folders.

I'm pretty sure that the vendors don't always know just what they're providing in their driver packages. Whoever wrote the installation notes for some of the commercial printer drivers I've played with recently definitely didn't know how to install those drivers -- on any OS.

I'd rather use drivers from the official repos. The people who put those packages together know the OS and its desktop environments, ostensibly are following the policies of the distro, are communicating with members of other teams pertinent to use of the driver, and are presenting their packages for an assessment process by testing and unstable users and release teams. Me likey.

A proprietary driver has to at least appear to be well made, provide reasonable documentation, and offer me something very special to make my risk / benefit analysis go its way. And, no matter how great the proprietary driver is, I won't use it if the only real difference between it and the Open Source driver is that it supports something I don't use.

Just some thoughts on what some of the people who amaze you may be thinking.

Or you could read Brian's response, which is far more pithy and succinct.


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