1 Aug 2000 jgg   » (Master)

At work today we got a new Printer/Copier/Fax. A Canon imageRunner 210. Apparently it costs quite a large amount of money new, something like 10k$ CDN or more. Really nice device, it has a built in 3G disk, postscript, 11" paper path and all digital copying with the usual bells and whistles. We even got the 12 tray finisher+duplexer with the stapler :> It is completely self supporting, you don't need a server to baby sit print jobs too it or anything!

Trouble is the Windows Drivers SUCK, the printer has so many capabilities they simply don't cover because they are stuck in the model of uni-directional communication with the printer :<

What I thought was kind of remarkable, they included a program that would download PDFs to the printer, it was supposed to take them internally as PDFs and rasterize them with the built in PostScript engine and the internal fonts. The docs say it is faster than printing from Windows and gave better results than the PCL driver.

Trouble is, Linux and this printer is worse :> Sure it speaks protocols that linux handles like SMB and LPR, but the totally balkanized way printing is handled on unix makes using the finisher exceedingly difficult. For TeX I need to add an arcane set of options to get duplexing and stapling, Netscape/Mozilla just doesn't have any hope and I imagine a2ps and enscript need another nasty set of options.

So I read the linux printing articles that have been floating around after the summit and it sounds very interesting, particularly the PPD programs - which will take care of the finisher, but it is still just as bad as the windows drivers WRT to font handling, programs pretty much have to download vector fonts with every job, even though I have 3G of storage that is quite capable of persistantly caching fonts! (only thing it is good for :P)

I hope the people involved with linux printing can get really good support for these expensive buisness class printers, it would make the MS office replacment' idea feasable...

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