The nightmarish problem of installing a printer

C. P. Ghost cpghost at
Tue Sep 21 19:11:21 UTC 2010

On Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 8:43 PM, Jerry <freebsd.user at> wrote:
> On Tue, 21 Sep 2010 19:47:27 +0200
> Polytropon <freebsd at> articulated:
>> On Tue, 21 Sep 2010 19:36:00 +0200, "C. P. Ghost"
>> <cpghost at> wrote:
>> > > At the moment there was a program (or any other kind of
>> > > facility) that makes Winprinters accessible by *ANY* OS (not
>> > > only FreeBSD, but maybe all BSDs and Linusi and Solaris and
>> > > who knows what else), MICROS~1 would start violently screaming
>> > > as someone is eating from their cake. Keep in mind that
>> > > Winprinters are an important target platform for home users who
>> > > PAY for "Windows" and PAY for a "compatible" printer. They pay
>> > > once every two years or so. MICROS~1 and the printer manufacturers
>> > > can't stand it if one uses their products too long, as long-term
>> > > use does imply NO FURTHER SALES. And now imagine that a user
>> > > can fully use all features of a formerly-Winprinter all-in-one
>> > > ink pee copier scanner fax machine - where would be his need to
>> > > buy a "Windows" to do that as he can now use FreeBSD for free?
>> >
>> > As far as I understand this, Microsoft doesn't manufacture those
>> > winprinters, so why would they screem if those printers were able
>> > to run on other platform too?
>> Very simple: Whenever you are using FreeBSD (or any other operating
>> system that is not "Windows"), you are NOT using "Windows".
>> MICROS~1's monopoly is based upon three pillars: Mind share, usage
>> share, and in conclusion, market share. That again is what matters
>> to printer manufacturers, as they are told the "secret keys" about
>> how to make their printer work on "Windows".
> There is no "secret key" mindset involved. Peruse the MSDN and and you
> will find tons of documentation on designing and writing drivers for
> virtually anything you can imagine that is currently available on the
> Window's platform. It is to Microsoft's advantage to have as many
> products as possible operational on their platform. They even have
> specialized forums to answer technical questions regard driver
> development.

That's exactly my point. Their interfaces are NOT closed or secret,
and we could (technically) implement against those interfaces.

>> > You can even see it the other way: for every winprinter manufactured
>> > (or, more precisely, for every windriver sold), Microsoft may get a
>> > fixed share due to patent royalties from the manufacturer. So,
>> > suppose a manufacturer sells more of his winprinters to
>> > BSD/Linux/Solaris/... folks because we had this shim, it would
>> > translate to more patent royalties to Microsoft too.
> I have not been able to locate any documentation that that would
> substantiate your claim that Microsoft receives any
> reimbursement/compensation from device manufacturers. Would you please
> post the source of your claim.

I wrote "Microsoft *may* get a fixed share ...", not "Microsoft gets a
fixed share..."
That's an assumption, but probably a safe one, due to the way software patents
work. Maybe they get paid, or maybe not: it's their decision. Details
may (or may
not) be included in the Windows DDK EULAs and associated documents.

>> That's not logical as the package, the shiny box on the shelf that
>> the customer wants, already contains a CD (or today, a DVD) with
>> drivers for "Windows", as this is the PC, and there's nothing else.
>> Users of non-"Windows" operating systems are a niche market that
>> does not persist in the scope of manufacturers. They are happy
>> selling more and more cheap units (than fewer more expensive units).
>> For them and for MICROS~1 it's a win-win situation, as the customer
>> always pays.
> Printer manufacturers, or manufacturers of other devices for that
> matter, sell what the public wants. The public in general wants
> inexpensive printers. I can guarantee you that if there were no market
> for it, it would not be offered. I know several users with $50 printers
> that are used only a few time a month or less. Purchasing a more
> expensive unit would not be cost effective. Everyone does not need a
> $2000+ laser printer. Manufacturers are smart enough to fill that niche.

The whole point of winprinters, winmodems etc... is to cut costs for
manufacturers. They save (little) money in silicon, and compensate by
providing a software Ersatz. There's no Microsoft conspiracy there. It's
just unfortunate that we have not yet emulated the environment those
software drivers expect, that's all. At least for i386 (and maybe amd64),
that should be possible. On ARM, SPARC and other platforms, emulation
would be a LOT more difficult, as we would need to hook in a i386 CPU
interpreter as well... ;-)

>> > So it is in Microsoft's interest not only NOT
>> > to kick and scream, but actually to encourage those winprinters
>> > by publishing the needed interfaces. It can only increase sales, and
>> > they will get more kickbacks from those additional sales.
>> Insignificant amounts, does not pay. The MICROS~1 concept of software
>> ecosystems does not tolerate anything "different". Keep in mind the
>> three pillars mentioned before - they would be in danger.
> Keep in mind that you have failed to produce one shred of
> documentation to back up your claim of "kickbacks".

Correct. But see above.

> Jerry ✌
> FreeBSD.user at


Cordula's Web.

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