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Re: Printers

Michael Comperchio wrote:
> What would be the best choice in inexpensive printers for use with
> Fedora? I'm relatively new to F10, though I've used Linux before. I'm
> hoping to never have to boot to the windoze side again.  But printing
> and the inability to sync up with my Palm Lifedrive are the major
> holdups for that. I can probably live without the Livedrive...but I do
> need to print

I'd recommend HP, because the CUPS drivers (HPLIP) are Free Software,
written by HP themselves and included in Fedora (so they work out of the

/!\ Please check on the HPLIP website http://hplip.sourceforge.net/ that the
printer you're about to buy is supported and that it doesn't require the
binary-only "plugin". There are third-party Free Software drivers for most
of the "plugin"-using printers, but there are patent issues (JBIG
compression, mainly), which is why HP is not willing to support them in
HPLIP without that binary-only "plugin" and which also means those drivers
are not included in Fedora. (They can be found in RPM Fusion though,
they're the foo2xxx drivers, where xxx is one of zjs, hp, oak etc.)

One drawback though is that HP is not the cheapest option out there
(especially if you count the ink/toner prices - for example, HP inkjets
have the print heads on the cartridge, which means they're less susceptible
to defects, but which also means the cartridges are very expensive; and of
course the cartridge/toner prices also subsidize the printer to some
extent, something to watch for all printers, it's a common pricing tactic
of printer manufacturers, not just something HP does), so if you find an
inexpensive printer which is well-supported by Free Software drivers (check
http://www.linuxfoundation.org/en/OpenPrinting ), you may get a better
deal, especially as price is important to you (but again, always be
careful, a cheap printer might turn out really expensive when facturing in
the cartridge/toner prices). But you have to check for driver support for
the particular model *before* buying, the rate of success with some
manufacturers is much lower than with HP. Manufacturer drivers are often
binary-only, those are not included in Fedora and often don't install
properly (I've also read horror stories about proprietary printer drivers
opening up huge security holes to bypass the POSIX permissions system). So
check for support within GhostScript or Gutenprint, don't trust what the
manufacturer claims.

        Kevin Kofler

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