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With Push for OS X Focus, CUPS Printing May Suffer On Other Platforms

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the long-predicted-effect dept.

OS X 267

CUPS is the popular open-source printing system that many projects have used successfully as a core, for desktop printing and as the basis of dedicated print servers. Reader donadony writes with word that Apple "has chosen to abandon certain Linux exclusive features, [while] continuing with popular Mac OS X features. The changeover is being attempted by Apple to set new printing standards that will not require 'drivers' in the future." However, as this message from Tim Waugh at Red Hat points out, all is not lost: "Where they are of use for the Linux environment, those orphaned features will continue to be maintained at OpenPrinting as a separate project."

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267 comments

Printer? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39109873)

Is that what those big things full of paper next to the computer were? Haven't used one in years...

Re:Printer? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39110691)

Yeah, not living in the real world lets you ignore certain mission critical things.

No! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39109881)

We must maintain, at all costs, beloved technological anachronisms like printer incompatibilities and X11. Shame on Apple! Shame on them for trying to rid computing of all its cruft.

OK, whatever. (2, Funny)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109975)

Breaking compatibility for market advantage is so noble of them, clearly we all must approve.

Re:OK, whatever. (4, Informative)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110029)

They aren't breaking compatibility. They are simply moving features they don't need into a separately maintained project.

Re:OK, whatever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39110363)

Which are Linux only features. So it isn't Apple who was breaking compatibility this time.

Re:OK, whatever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39110611)

Wait, are you saying Apple is appropriately forking this project?

That can't be!

Wait, do you mean that Linux will have to maintain a Linux fork of Linux printer drivers?

That can't be!

Re:OK, whatever. (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110065)

Breaking compatibility for market advantage is so noble of them, clearly we all must approve.

Not every Linux distro includes every package by default. If you want to install the CUPS 1.6 package, or the filters for CUPS 1.5.x that are not supported by OS X you are free to do so.

I don't know if Apple will succeed with 'driverless printing', but if they do then every platform will benefit. Sometimes moving forward means letting go of some of the past.

Re:OK, whatever. (3, Interesting)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110221)

Meh. Maybe I'm just cynical, but I'd think "moving forward" would involve building a new product, not just hacking out chunks of one that's shared with one's competitors and spinning them off.

You make a good point about choices, though. The ancient, spaghetti-coded Berkeley LPD still works on modern platforms, and it's probably significantly more efficient than CUPS (I haven't actually checked, but that's where I'd lay my bets).

Re:OK, whatever. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39110305)

“Perfection is achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Re:OK, whatever. (-1, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110389)

Meh. Maybe I'm just cynical, but I'd think "moving forward" would involve building a new product, not just hacking out chunks of one that's shared with one's competitors and spinning them off.

Slashdot and GPL zealots rant and rave all the time about how awesome it is to use OSS because you can 'fork it' ... funny how any time the situation arises where forking would get you right back to the state you desire ... no one wants to do it.

What you'd rather do is bitch about someone else not doing exactly what you want them to do, and giving it to you at no cost while you have nothing to do with any of their products.

You're not bitching because Apple is doing something wrong. You're bitching because they aren't continuing to give you a free ride which benefits them in absolutely no way what so ever. Its not even like they get any good will out of it from the OSS community, douche bags like yourself bitch no matter how much they contribute back. This is why you're group of zealots will always be ignored. You do nothing but bitch about free shit given to you out of good will.

You're not cynical, you're just a selfish asshole.

Re:OK, whatever. (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110599)

Slashdot and GPL zealots rant and rave all the time about how awesome it is to use OSS because you can 'fork it' ...

Yes, that is an advantage.

funny how any time the situation arises where forking would get you right back to the state you desire ... no one wants to do it.

Well, of course not. Forking is a pain in the neck and splits resources. Noone wants to do it if they can avoid it since it is really the last resort. However, sometimes it is necessary and works very well (LibroOffice, Xorg, uCLinux, CONFIG_PREEMPT_RT, firefox, to name a few).

Apparently in your bizarro-world it is better not to have the option as a last resort? Not sure I follow that "logic".

What you'd rather do is bitch about someone else not doing exactly what you want them to do, and giving it to you at no cost while you have nothing to do with any of their products.

Everyone likes to bitch. So what? You're bitching about free posts on slashdot.

You're not bitching because Apple is doing something wrong. You're bitching because they aren't continuing to give you a free ride which benefits them in absolutely no way what so ever. Its not even like they get any good will out of it from the OSS community, douche bags like yourself bitch no matter how much they contribute back. This is why you're group of zealots will always be ignored. You do nothing but bitch about free shit given to you out of good will.

People are bitching because it is kind of irritating: they took what was a big Linux project, took all the lead developers and are now breaking it. It's their right, and they've funded development up to now, but the result is now becoming irritating.

Or are you just suggesting that a company's reputation should get a free ride into the future based on what they did in the past?

Re:OK, whatever. (-1, Flamebait)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110905)

Wouldn't it be amusing if the reason for Apple removing Linux support from CUPS is because of all the bitching OSS supporters do about Apple.

I mean, I'm sure it's not that, and it's a purely a business move.

But the idea of the OSS whiners getting their just deserts of their ingratitude is amusing. It's karma.

Re: forks (2)

jbov (2202938) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110823)

Slashdot and GPL zealots rant and rave all the time about how awesome it is to use OSS because you can 'fork it' ... funny how any time the situation arises where forking would get you right back to the state you desire ... no one wants to do it.

You may want to look into the software projects MariaDB and LibreOffice.

Re:OK, whatever. (3, Informative)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110931)

Slashdot and GPL zealots rant and rave all the time about how awesome it is to use OSS because you can 'fork it' ... funny how any time the situation arises where forking would get you right back to the state you desire ... no one wants to do it.

Actually, OSS is helping here quite a bit. If CUPS was closed, then these changes would leave Linux users in a real bind. However, since it is open, the features being removed are being picked up by a different project. That is how OSS is supposed to work -- if the developers drop support for something, but the users want it, they have access to the code and can add it back.

Re:OK, whatever. (4, Interesting)

rnturn (11092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110631)

"The ancient, spaghetti-coded Berkeley LPD still works on modern platforms, and it's probably significantly more efficient than CUPS (I haven't actually checked, but that's where I'd lay my bets)."

If by efficiency you mean printer thoughput, I think you'd win your bet. I abandoned CUPS on the system that serves as the print server on home network. It turned out that most applications that generated PostScript output and sent it off to a CUPS client to print on a CUPS server resulted in turning my 20ppm printer into a 1ppm printer... if we were lucky. Ditching the CUPS server and reinstalling LPRng restored the printer's normal throughput. I still have the CUPS clients set up on various systems but as a print server CUPS was a dog.

Re:OK, whatever. (2)

lindi (634828) | more than 2 years ago | (#39111207)

The focus has been in PDF for quite some time: https://wiki.linuxfoundation.org/en/OpenPrinting/PDF_as_Standard_Print_Job_Format

Re:OK, whatever. (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39111123)

I think it's fair to say that Apple don't consider desktop Linux to be a competitor. And they're not persuing the server market very hard. Which poses the question what competitor this is about.

iOS is Apple's biggest OS these days. And mobile printing is a something that's ripe for improvement - and driverless printing would be particularly useful.

So perhaps they've made the decision that the work they do on printing for iOS they'll keep for themselves, rather than do all the work for Google's Android competitor as well.

That would explain this move as a very, very sensible and understandable business decision, not a matter of penny pinching or spitefulness.

Re:OK, whatever. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39111683)

I wonder how wise that is, considering a Linux based device took over their smartphone marketshare in record time.

Re:OK, whatever. (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#39111703)

Maybe I'm just cynical, but I'd think "moving forward" would involve building a new product, not just hacking out chunks of one that's shared with one's competitors and spinning them off.

I don't know why you'd think that. It seems to me that with all the FOSS available, you'd have to be crazy to start from scratch on a product like this. Even if you start from a fresh design, it makes complete sense to find a FOSS project that does similar functions and reuse any good code that does what you want it to do.

I mean, why reinvent the wheel?

Re:OK, whatever. (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110601)

I don't know if Apple will succeed with 'driverless printing', but if they do then every platform will benefit. Sometimes moving forward means letting go of some of the past.

If they do succeed, chances are they will wall it off with patents.
Look at their iphone patent war bullshit - one of their main attack patents is "slide to unlock" wtf?

Re:OK, whatever. (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110175)

On the flip side, what about "not being content with their contributions to the project and demanding they maintain features that get them no (and even negative) return"? Would that fit under "noble", or "OSS fanatics once again shooting themselves in the foot"?

Good gracious, between the complaining here, and on the "HJT Source released, but masses unsatisfied with level of OpenSourciness", I start to wonder why anyone bothers trying to release source as it only seems to inspire flames. Maybe Microsoft gets it right: They really dont get flamed as much for staying proprietary as Google, Apple, TrendMicro, et al have recently gotten for releasing source / contributing.

Re:OK, whatever. (3, Insightful)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110275)

On the other hand, there was printing on *NIX before there was CUPS. There can still be printing in a post-CUPS era.

Re:OK, whatever. (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110879)

Breaking compatibility for market advantage is so noble of them, clearly we all must approve.

Actually, Apple isn't breaking compatibility, the CUPS developers are on behalf of Apple. One has to wonder why, Apple's requested features couldn't have been added to CUPS instead of also having to remove others that Apple doesn't use.

Re:No! (0)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110059)

We must maintain, at all costs, beloved technological anachronisms like printer incompatibilities and X11. Shame on Apple! Shame on them for trying to rid computing of all its cruft.

Yes, that and bluray. Also : SD cards and USB3.0. To be fair, they did push the worldwide adoption of firewire and emo-hipster-culture.

Re:No! (1)

rylin (688457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110099)

Funny.

Most of Apple's machines have a SD card slot.

Re:No! (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110131)

Funny.

Most of Apple's machines have a SD card slot.

... yes, now. If you were old enough to remember two processor generations ago, you'd know that's a fairly new concession.

Re:No! (2)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110637)

>and USB3.0

Blame Intel for taking a million years to add USB 3.0 support to its chipsets.

They really need to be banished to the moon for this. And for moving the memory controller to the CPU and then not supporting ECC on the majority of their CPUs. Evil, evil Intel.

Re:No! (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39111305)

They also pushed the worldwide adoption of:
3.5 inch floppies, CD roms, all in one PCs, ultra mini PCs, SSDs, the ARM processor, LCD displays etc. And thats just the hardware.

Re:No! (2)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110253)

I don't really think think that CUPS 1.6 does anything like that. Apple merely removed some features which they don't need for their own systems. From what I read there is nothing in that release which would achieve driverless printing. Anyway, I find the article barely readable at best. I appreciate the difficulty of writing in a foreign language - English isn't my first language either - but most of this just doesn't parse.

I would recommend to read this article [h-online.com] instead.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39109903)

It's good to see an open source project focus on innovation to solve one of the most annoying problems with printers

Job Security (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109925)

If print drivers were to be eliminated across the board, half of our IT staff would no longer be needed. Fix the issues with stuck sensors, paper jams, etc and we'd be down to three people.

Re:Job Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39109965)

We will still have people useing CD drives as cup holders.

Re:Job Security (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110001)

And people needing passwords reset. And people needing things plugged back in. And people who open attachments from spam. And people who refuse to update from IE5 but still complain that "the Internet is broken!". And....

Re:Job Security (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110255)

If you're responsible for maintaining a corporate network that still has IE5 as part of its ecosystem, then a) you should be fired, and b) you won't need to worry about it for much longer, because MS is going to force an upgrade on you, and you probably don't know how to prevent it.

Users at home? Perhaps a different story. Though XP has been out for more than 10 years, and that's well beyond the replacement lifecycle of most computers (recall that XP shipped with IE6 out of the box), and most ISP's don't even support pre-XP SP2 any more... the folks who know enough to keep a computer working well for 10+ years are not in the demographic I'd be worried about still using IE5. According to this link [statcounter.com] , IE5 isn't even in the top 12 browsers world-wide, and number 12 on that list was 0.22% of the global market share in January. I don't think IE5 is something you need to worry about any more... IE6 maybe, but that is being forced out by a mandatory MS update, meaning that before too long, the only people who will still be running IE6 are in the corporate world.

There will always be idiot users, but if you know what you're doing as a network administrator, almost everything you listed won't actually be a problem for you: with the exception of people needing things "plugged back in", none of what you listed would be a problem at my office... even for the resetting of passwords, anybody on my team (who reports to the same manager) can do a manual password reset on the intranet. I get an e-mail saying it's been done and by whom, and that e-mail is cc'd to my manager, so if somebody starts abusing it, it's easy to figure out who. And even the "plugging things in" thing shouldn't be a problem, because the only thing users *can* plug in at their workstation is a keyboard/mouse. (well, and a thumb drive, but most of us have a system policy on our profiles that prevents Windows from mounting external storage)

Will the standards suport all hardware 100% (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110379)

Like all
custom trays?
Staplers?
document security at the printer?
Stuff like imageRUNNER ADVANCE
PCL?
Document Scan Lock and Tracking?
and other stuff the basic drivers do not have?

Re:Job Security (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110835)

And if we mandated basic IT classes, we could cut that down to one person, right?

Or we could keep those three people, and let IT focus on actually useful projects (you know, those hideously large projects that require 6 months just to get the design perfected?), instead of being everyone's technological cabana boy. There is nothing worse than having the network admin drop everything he is doing, so he can replace a toner cartridge on the network laser printer (come on people, it's not hard to figure out how to open a printer, nor difficult to replace a toner cartridge). Seriously, IT doesn't suffer from lack of work, only lack of time / resources.

And it would be nice if people would show a little more care for their own edification. When the great technological boom happened, most of the early-adopters were projecting the utility of the average person to sky-rocket, by doing work more efficiently + more free time + higher pay. Instead, the human race, in its infinite majesty, realized it could take a 'shortcut' to the apparently 'painful' learning of new technology (and the associated exploration process, of how to use it / integrate it into your life) by off-loading the work onto those early-adopters (f*ck it, let them learn, and we'll profit (somehow)!). So, now IT is seen as a cost center (thanks guys), filled with magical gnomes / elves, who are treated like underpaid secretaries. So much potential, wasted.

The funny part is, by screwing with IT's wages, the smarter members have moved on to better paying fields (programming or somewhere else entirely). And it shows. I will never understand how or why the central nervous system of most companies (it is; IT deals with information, the reception and transmission of it) gets treated like sh*t. Even in companies who primarily focus on manufacturing, your orders are rolling in through IT's systems, and sales / marketing's projections of a fabulous next quarter are done on Powerpoint.

   

Re:Job Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39111609)

Right, I'm sure the people in HR, Operations, Manufacturing, Marketing, Sales, Legal, etc. will be happy to learn all about iptables and Linux administration, just as soon as you fuck right off with your whack-job bullshit.

IT is paid handsomely in most companies. If you're treated like shit, then you need to do a better job so people will appreciate you.

tl;dr - stop your fucking whining, computer boy. Your entitled, narcissistic whinging - "You should worship me because I'm your fucking nervous system!" is exactly why nobody wants to work with you.

Re:Job Security (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39111969)

Yet sales is allowed to chest thump to their heart's content. It sucks being both mission critical and a revenue sink.

I myself prefer 500,b bloat ware (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109939)

From printer companies to print on their newly minted printers - who likes extra hdd space, it is so cheap!

So what is the fuss? (5, Informative)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109967)

True to open-source fashion, the missing features get maintained by somebody else. If Apple makes more problematic changes, my guess is that eventually CUPS will just be forked.

This is not a big deal. It would be with closed-source software were the vendor can force changes down user's throats.

Re:So what is the fuss? (1)

zigurat667 (1380959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110109)

I think you're right with this, basically the news is that CUPS gets a new lead developer as the former only continues to develop his product for a practically non-existent share of office printers that only accept input in Apples latest proprietary format.

Re:So what is the fuss? (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110145)

PDF is an Apple format? Since when?

Re:So what is the fuss? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110259)

I think you're right with this, basically the news is that CUPS gets a new lead developer as the former only continues to develop his product for a practically non-existent share of office printers that only accept input in Apples latest proprietary format.

PDF is an Apple format? Since when?

Printers accept PDF input? Since when?

Or did you mean PostScript, also by Adobe?

Re:So what is the fuss? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39110627)

Try a Xerox Work Center [xerox.com] . Our's sucks monkey, but it does print PDF directly.

Re:So what is the fuss? (1)

EXrider (756168) | more than 2 years ago | (#39111361)

Believe it or not, there ARE actually printers that accept direct PDF input...

Ricoh: Printing a PDF File Directly [ricoh.com]

Kyocera: PDF Direct Printing [kyoceramita.eu]

...not that I would ever recommend doing so, in my experience you can easily choke a PostScript printer just by sending it a document with some malformed placed EPS's, I can't imagine sending random PDF's will work more reliably. In fact, to do a firmware update on most PostScript printers that I've seen, you simply cat a binary executable to the print queue and it gladly executes the unsigned code within, [events.ccc.de] this seems safe, doesn't it? This is the stupid shit that printer vendors have been working on, you know, instead of actually improving (unifying) their print drivers and firmware.

Re:So what is the fuss? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39110269)

Since mpeg4 became an Apple format.

Re:So what is the fuss? (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110645)

This is not about PDF. This is about printer discovery code in CUPS. Maybe read TFA?

Re:So what is the fuss? (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110249)

The fuss is that "zOMG TEH APPLE IS EBIL!!!" ignoring the fact that all Apple is doing is setting up a second project to maintain the pieces they don't require.

Until... (3, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#39109973)

...I can plug in a printer to my computer and without a single dialog box ever coming up asking/telling me about configuration, drivers, or anything else other than asking how many copies do I want, they need to keep trying.

Printers have been stuck in the early 80s for the last three decades.

Re:Until... (4, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110135)

That's how OS X works now. We've gone through a bunch of printers at my office, and a variety of brands. Each one just needs a wifi password set, then the desktop lets us print to it with no question. It just appears in the list of available printers.

OS X comes with a long list of drivers installed. Apple would love to drop those, partly because it involves a lot of coordination with printer manufacturers. Little from the customer perspective would likely change.

Re:Until... (0)

rnturn (11092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39111495)

"OS X comes with a long list of drivers installed. Apple would love to drop those, partly because it involves a lot of coordination with printer manufacturers. Little from the customer perspective would likely change."

Not content with the walled gardens they've built for the iPad, IPhone, etc. Apple would, apparently, just like all those other hardware and software manufacturers to just go away.

Maybe Linux distributions should seriously consider using something besides CUPS as a printing subsystem until Apple learns what it means to be part of a community that wasn't of their own making. Unfortunately, present-day Apple would probably just accelerate their separation from the rest of the IT world and CUPS wouldn't even run on anything that wasn't designed in Cupertino.

In the last few years I think we've seen Apple becoming so arrogant they almost make Microsoft look like fine upstanding members of the free software community.

Re:Until... (2)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110225)

I suppose you've never worked with a ZeroConf/Bonjour printer? That's pretty much what happens now. Except the plugin part. I plug it into the network and it just shows up under available printers.

Re:Until... (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110553)

That's also how it works with HP printers on Linux. For others, you may have to select your model from the menu.

Re:Until... (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110575)

I suspect you didn't do much printing in the 1980s. Even a dozen years ago printing required manually mixing drivers and manipulating LPD settings. I had to do all sorts of preprocessing from the command line, and if I could get it to work reliable intermix it with LPD.

In the early 1990s, I had to be careful about rip times and queue jobs coordinating between the ripping and the printer.

In the 1980s you basically didn't have graphics and had to use continuous feed paper tearing it after you used it. Because font sizes were large, greenbar was common.

No printers are not stuck in the 1980s. And below have responded about how what you are asking for already is the norm.

Re:Until... (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110621)

Fedora 16 did this...sort of... with my HP Laserjet 3200se. Google that one and you'll see it's very very old.

The problem? It chose the Postscript version (this printer adds Postscript support with a combined memory / processing upgrade). Mine has a 64MB memory upgrade, but doesn't have the Postscript upgrade. I had to change the driver to the non-Postscript version.

But it was so close! Upon plugging in the USB cable, it identified the printer and confirmed I wanted to install it (a very simple dialog box which asked me to choose OK/Cancel or similar). It was then immediately available to running apps.

BTW, Windows XP and Windows 7 also determine this printer is the Postscript version, so it's not all Fedora's fault.

Re:Until... (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110933)

...I can plug in a printer to my computer and without a single dialog box ever coming up asking/telling me about configuration, drivers, or anything else other than asking how many copies do I want, they need to keep trying.

Printers have been stuck in the early 80s for the last three decades.

I've been able to plug printers into my Ubuntu systems and use them without any questions about configuration or drivers for several years now. Most of what makes this work is CUPS. Ironically, the exact same printers plugged into an OSX system typically require drivers to be installed, though OSX does this mostly automatically. Obviously, Apple is trying to improve that situation by pushing the "driverless" printing but I wonder why they haven't also done what Ubuntu and other distributions have and install the majority of drivers by default.

Perhaps it's because those drivers are Free Software and the proprietary equivalents from HP and others are too big to install them all. It must have galled Steve Jobs to no end that CUPS is released under the GPL. I assume it hasn't been made all proprietary because of the large amount of potential backlash, but it's also interesting that it hasn't been switched to a permissive BSD-style license. Maybe Apple is only opposed to Copyleft when they don't hold the copyrights.

Re:Until... (4, Insightful)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 2 years ago | (#39111027)

Thanks for describing the OSX print subsystem. It's only in the Windows world that this isn't the case. Linux is variable, depending on how well CUPS is set up in the distro you're using.

Re:Until... (1)

oji-sama (1151023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39111501)

My current (HP) printer worked on Windows 7 directly. I think I did later install drivers from HP though, to see what's new in them, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend them. I like the printer, I don't like the HP software. (And the installer was huge, and the update was even bigger (and still required the original installation))

Re:Until... (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#39111611)

A lot of people are saying "works for me". But they are referring to some Linux distribution or OS X solution or perhaps HP printers with HP boxes, etc.

The way I think printers should work is the same way hard drives work. For 99% of the hardware out there, regardless of OS or manufacturer, if you drop a HD into the box and start it up, the system recognizes it and offers to format it. No searching for the right driver or updated versions or installing this or that, etc.

Printers need to be like this. While it is commendable that OS X or Linux have something of these capabilities, it's only because someone else has gone through the headaches of making sure the right drivers are available and that the printer is recognized. That doesn't change the fact that the underlying software architecture sucks.

I can't really think of any reason for the need for a driver. A printer should be just another computer that accepts a document (pick something...PDF, whatever) and the usual parameters (num of copies, size, etc.) and prints it. Let the manufacturer deal with going from the file to the print head. Going from the user's workstation to the printer should be no more difficult than connecting to another computer (minus all the permission B.S.).

Ive been a computer tech for 17 yrs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39111603)

AND I despise printers!!!!
Windows and printers are the bain of the computer world I remember the old days of plugging in a printer to a Mac and it just worked

People still print? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39110015)

OMG, people still use paper.

In short, yes people still use paper, largely, needlessly, because of some perceived value in a paper trail (tax for example the needless print-and-fax instead of email.) I don't use my printer very often. In fact the only things I've printed in the last 5 years are hardcopies of things that still demand a paper trail (eg airport boarding pass (yes I could use my smartphone next time, but not if the battery is dead,) copies of ID when applying for bank accounts and passports. I had to print my taxes the last two years because the online version doesn't support reporting income from foreign countries.)

I certainly wouldn't print any of these if given the choice. The boarding pass for example can be printed at the airport, the copies of ID can be emailed (which ended up happening after they couldn't read the print-then-fax,) and tax filing is a problem with what the government supports for filing taxes online.

I've also printed hard copies of resumes, but I have yet to get a job to any place I've brought one, so I'm rather given the impression that it's a waste of time to apply for a job online if it's on craigslist.

Why are printer languages not unified? (5, Insightful)

chipperdog (169552) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110035)

With the horsepower available to cheap microcontrollers and cheap memory today, why isn't Postscript (or even PCL) standard on all printers? That would reduce the printer drivers to a single ppd file. Head cleaning, alignment and such could be accomplished through carefully written PS.

Re:Why are printer languages not unified? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110177)

I haven't installed a printer as anything but a laserjet for a long time . Even sub $100 printers.

But I o lay use b&w laser printers,sending color prints out.

Re:Why are printer languages not unified? (2)

Dupple (1016592) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110201)

Because you would need to licence PostScript from adobe. Then you would need to add the expense of RIP, suddenly it's not looking so cheap. PostScript can generate some pretty hefty files

Re:Why are printer languages not unified? (2)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110741)

Are any of the patents on PostScript even still in force?

Re:Why are printer languages not unified? (3, Informative)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110311)

Even printers that DO speak PCL and PS don't all work the same.

Feed-tray options are one big reason.

Re:Why are printer languages not unified? (4, Informative)

jbolden (176878) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110635)

Postscript is proprietary. But there are languages like it which are open standards.

The big issue with postscript as a printer file format is that the printer makes runtime choices. So for example printer fonts are used and fonts don't need to be included. Which effects both the look of the page and the spacing. Because computations can be done on the printer print times with postscript are inconsistent. That is why in commercial environments postscript is ripped to something like IPDS before being sent to an actual physical printer.

So the very flexibility that makes postscript "driverless" is also what makes it a poor choice for document consistency. Adobe itself saw the problem in that when it switched the page definition standard to pdf which was from a printer language perspective a downgrade.

Re:Why are printer languages not unified? (1)

EXrider (756168) | more than 2 years ago | (#39111865)

Yeah, except every language creator out there wants to collect royalties on their proprietary solution, so every printer manufacturer out there wants to create their own proprietary PDL... and we're back at the same problem we have with print drivers.

PostScript
PCL
HP-GL
MS XPS
Ricoh RPCS
Kyocera KPDL
Epson ESC/P
The list goes on...

Plugins/Extensions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39110313)

If it can work for Web browsers, why can't it work for printing subsystems? Why not just implement platform-specific features in plugins and/or extensions?

Alternatives to CUPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39110387)

So, is there any _credible_ alternative to CUPS?

Re:Alternatives to CUPS? (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39112119)

The only thing that comes close is LPRng, which isn't under heavy development (the last release was about a year and a half ago) CUPs works fine, why would you use something else?

Wait what ????? (1)

bigbangnet (1108411) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110405)

Ok, I'm not sure in this but.... is it legal for someone or a company to use an open source system or software and make people pay for it...without release the source code ? I think the answer is no in this. So is it "legal" that Apple uses an open source system (with an S perhaps ?? who knows) without releasing the source code (if someone has mac os source code plz tell me) and make people pay for that ? Might I mention Apple products are overbloated on the price department too.

Re:Wait what ????? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39110625)

http://www.apple.com/opensource/

http://www.opensource.apple.com/source/cups/

There you go.

Re:Wait what ????? (2)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110681)

It depends on the license and the copyright holder.

If GPL and the project does not have copyright assigned to the vendor, then they must release the source to anyone they provide the binary and grant them rights to redistribute with modifications. They cannot do patches to the binary, but they can do things like isolate the GPL code into a different application and keep proprietary content indpendent of the code.

If a BSD-like license, they can generally ship without source code. Attribution is usually the main requirement.

If the project is comprised entirely of content written by the vendor or with copyright assigned to the vendor, they can do pretty much whatever the hell they want. They can't reneg on distributed BSD or GPL content so a variant of the project may always be open, but they can close the source or change the licensing terms of new copies all they want.

This isn't really Linux vs. OSX (2)

jbolden (176878) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110461)

I'm reading this it doesn't sound like Linux vs. OSX so much as Apple having declared a new standard deprecating the old standard. Apple is typically aggressive about that sort of thing moreso than Microsoft. I think a fair description is that Apple is aggressively pushing the new standard, while the Linux community would prefer a slightly less aggressive push.

For example avahi (the Linux equivalent of Bonjour) will now be essentially mandatory for CUPS discovery, unlike before where CUPS systems would discover each other independently. Making Bonjour / avahi mandatory is not breaking Linux, Linux has avahi every bit as much as OSX has Bonjour, it is simply moving CUPS aggressively towards a situation where discovery uses the new standard not the ad-hoc CUPS standard. (as an aside new versions of avahi using DNS-SD are required).

The Linux community has a long tradition of complex dependency chains for full functionality. This is more unusual for BSD than for Linux and IMHO not really harmful to either. I think there is an interesting argument to be had about how aggressive to be about deprecating standards in the Unix software ecosystem and how much software should be independent. But this post confuses far to many issues to be helpful.

Krikee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39110573)

Hey Unixmen.com: copy editor, try one some time.

I mean, I understand if Anuradha Shukla isn't a primary English speaker, but somebody needs to work that article over so that it's at least readable. There are commas strewn about higgldey piggldey, massive run-on sentences, subject-predicate mismatches and simply nonsensical passages galore.

However, now Apple after it acquired it from its developer Michael Sweet, at Easy Software Products, in 2007, has chosen to abandon certain Linux exclusive features, and continuing with popular Mac OS X features.

However, the journey in between from the present ‘driver-only’ printers that communities across the world are engaged to Apple’s printer-utopia, just got tougher and essentially involves more work for Linux users.

While Apple’s attempt to install a new printer standard, with driver-less printers but imaging it a way forward, but at the cost of established Cups mechanism is definitely self-defeating.

I think there's a good article in there... desperately fighting to free itself.

Again (0)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110729)

The bigger Apple gets, the more patents they control, the more influence they have, this printer issue is only one example. Apple might become the biggest threat to innovation and open computing, monopoly via litigation etc.

Let the fanboi mod down begin!!!

Apple go back to its roots... (2)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110731)

In that when you go to a store, they will tell you, that doesn't work on a MAC, but it does on Windows.

CUPS? Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39111559)

In that when you go to a store, they will tell you, that doesn't work on Linux, but it does on a Mac.

FTFY.

Apple was always ahead of its time... (-1, Flamebait)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 2 years ago | (#39110919)

I think Apple purposely make printing on OS X so inferior and problematic because they were anticipating a future where people no longer use printers. Goal achieved.

Seriously, the only way I got printing to work on OS X was to share a printer connected to a Windows box. Of course new printers with Air Print capabilities for iOS devices are nice as they bypass Mac and OS X entirely because even Apple thought printing on OS X was hopeless.

You fanboy's can all go on about how "advanced" OS X was, but if your printer does not appear in the list of "Apple approved" devices then forget about ever printing to it.

Re:Apple was always ahead of its time... (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 2 years ago | (#39111087)

Every printer I've plugged into my Mac has worked without requiring driver installation or downloading any software. I don't know what printer you're using, but that must be an isolated example.

Re:Apple was always ahead of its time... (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39112099)

Seriously, the only way I got printing to work on OS X was to share a printer connected to a Windows box.

This would only happen with a cheap Winprinter.

Proper printers have no problems with OSX.

(BTW, Does anyone still make Winprinters? I haven't come across a new one in a long time.)

We Need Printers. Why do we need print drivers? (1)

echusarcana (832151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39111069)

After 30 years of worrying about printer drivers I am still worrying about them? We collectively have made almost no progress in the area of printing. The devices are still fairly unreliable and the software supporting them is a mess. If you've ever had to add printing capability to software you'll understand exactly what I mean. Unfortunately, Postscript was a needlessly complicated standard - one of Apple's mistakes IMHO - and didn't help the situation. Why has nothing been standardized?
And for those who say, why do we need printers, the answer is sometimes your boss, your kid, or your wife needs a printout to physically hand to someone and no electronic format is considered acceptable. Paper is not going away.

biggest fun is RMS is yet to finalise his first pr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39111621)

biggest fun is RMS is yet to finalise his first project :)
he started it all over printer drivers, right...

CUPS is crap (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39111747)

I've ripped it off my Debian system and installed lprng. I bought a cheap Brother laser printer that does Postscript just fine. All the issues I had with CUPS are now gone and printing Just F*cking Works.

Mac - Linux printing made me give up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39112207)

I tried for months to get my Apple Mac to print to a Linux CUPS print server on my LAN, and eventually gave up. I generate PDFs and move them to the Linux box to print. This is one area of computing that is not possible for a normal human being to understand, and the PDF option is sane and quick.

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