29 Oct 2000 gtaylor   » (Master)

I've been playing with KDE 2 a bit, and it's pretty slick. Konqueror is actually quite nice, although there's some quirk in the way it interacts with two site I frequently use: my own, and Advogato. Doh!

Things are getting underway at work; I'm examining the choices for our embedded OS. Everyone sort of wants to use Linux, but we have to check that there isn't something out there which is overall better, somehow, for our purposes.


I gave my Linux presentation at the Multifunction Peripheral/Integrated Office conference in Boston earlier this week. My session was moderately well attended; about 20-30 vendor types came. In the conference as a whole, the suit concentration was nearly 50%, so I guess they were mostly engineering managers and project lead types. Anyway, the audience was remarkably unresponsive, although some questions did pop up at the end. The questions mainly centered around technical capabilities; ie "is there this", where "this" was EPP support, some network protocol-du-jour, or what have you. Later in the hall, though, various people discussed with me the sort of documentation they would need to provide for good free software support; that was a good sign. And I chatted a bit with various engineering directors and the like from Ricoh, Okidata, etc. The one guy I really wanted to chat with was the VP of PandI from HP; alas he only stopped in to give his keynote, and vanished afterwards. Oh, well.

More interesting, perhaps, were the keynotes. The upshot of them is that none of these printer vendors quite knows what the next big printing thing will be. They're all excited about color fax, and they've got some vague notion that they ought to attach themselves to the Internet growth trend in some way, but they're feeling about as doomed as the network operators; everyone sells eggs, and eggs will soon be basically free. It's clear that they can't be like Cisco even if the current ink pricing were sustainable.

rlk proudly announced gimp-print 4.0; this is really good news all around. Now hopefully some distributions will get their act together and ship inkjet drivers that don't suck.

Oidata sent me an OkiPage 8z to play with. They'd helped Marcin Dalecki fix up the oki4linux driver package for this host-based laser back in August. So I went out to find this new driver version, and discovered that it isn't on the net. I'm not sure what good it did for them to arrange for a new free driver when they're only going to sit on it for two months. In any case, I got the Okidata guy to mail me a copy, and put it up on my own website where people will be able to find it properly. The printer itself works OK, but the driver goes on about how dangerous it is to run as a filter, so it doesn't fit in well with normal Unix printing styles like LPD. Hmm.

Richard Wisenoecker has begun porting his Lexmark Z52 driver into gimp-print; he's the first substantive response to my developer invitation. This is good; clearly version 4.1 will have at least some Lexmark support.

I composed and sent off a press release to LWN about the forums on my site. Really the goal is to get some generic publicity; people are still asking the same old questions like "does this printer work with Linux?", whereas I should have eliminated that as a question by now.

A nontrivial share of traffic to linuxprinting.org is still pointing at the old picante.com location. I redirect it all seamlessly, but this involves lots of people trekking through my house for no good reason. I can't figure out a good way of "forcing" all the old links out there to get updated without inconveniencing the actual users of those links in some way. For the moment, I'm sending emails by hand to dozens of webmasters, but this is only partly effective.

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