Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Daily Archives / Sunday, February 19, 2012

  • Feb 19 / 2012
  • 1
technology

Printing in GNU/Linux

It’s been a while since I have had any problem with printing in GNU/Linux, but yesterday I needed to print from Beast to give my wife a paper copy of a document. To my surprise, I had not configured the printing… It turned out there was no printer driver for our networked printer for Beast’s amd64 hardware. My wife has been happily printing from a 386 installation of Debian GNU/Linux but I had not enabled “share this printer” from her machine. Fixed that with ssh -Y herPC "iceweasel(firefox) http://localhost:631" without leaving my chair and then automatically I could print on the printer from my system as easily as if it were plugged in to Beast. The alternative was to set up a virtual machine running 386 and sharing the printer from there.

It turns out that this simple sharing of printers in CUPS is due for a change. Apple which now owns CUPS is dropping features/ways of doing things in CUPS that are not used in OS X. As usual, GNU/Linux is flexible and two projects are set up to take care of that functionality as well as some printer driver filters not used by OS X. It’s all good.

I have been printing with GNU/Linux since 2000 and only met two photocopiers and a colour printer with which I could not print. One company wanted money for a “printer module” for the copier even though the device could be seen on the LAN and the other copier used a proprietary/closed protocol. I have always found some way to print with GNU/Linux and I did not need the desperate measure of running some special hardware in the system to interface to a printer. One time a photocopier serviceman provided a USB print server for a photocopier so we could print from our network (and he could get a higher page-count…). It’s all good.

I recommend Debian GNU/Linux for its huge repository of Free Software and LinuxPrinting.org for information on printing with any particular driver or printer.

  • Feb 19 / 2012
  • 5
technology

GNU/LInux Sold Retail in Brazil

In Canada, where I live Walmart does not have a single GNU/Linux system for sale the last time I looked. In Brazil, the situation is quite different. The translation by Google shows

They don’t seem to have alphabetical order in mind but they certainly do give space to GNU/Linux. So much for the FUD that GNU/Linux is somehow not ready for consumers. Look at all computers sorted by “Best Sellers”:

Last time I visited Walmart, I didn’t see a bunch of computer geeks. I saw ordinary folks, families, all ages and abilities all shopping for what they needed at a price they could afford. So much for the FUD that GNU/Linux is only for geeks and doesn’t work for consumers. To make the second spot for best sellers, GNU/Linux must be more than that. QED

A footnote… Of the 14 models of Positivo brand PCs sold by Walmart and made in Brazil, only one with that other OS shows and it is 7th in popularity.

Positivo is the tenth largest OEM in the world and largest in Latin America. Positivo was the top OEM in Brazil for 7 years and is now also top in Argentina. If one OEM can thrive shipping GNU/Linux many more can and will soon if they want to compete.