Fast personal printing _without_ CUPS

Polytropon freebsd at
Fri Oct 28 19:12:57 UTC 2011

On Fri, 28 Oct 2011 06:36:20 -0400, Jerry wrote:
> Welcome to the wonderful world of printing on FreeBSD. By the way, is
> the time you are investing in this venture considered billable hours or
> just self-flagellation?

Maybe you can also ask the other way round:

BEFORE I buy a product, I ask: Does this product offer
compatibility with my OS? Does it support my system?

I'm doing so for some years now intendedly, and I spend
less money and have less trouble, still I can use the
optimal hardware + software combination for the jobs I
need them for.

Of course, only very few professionals do use this
approach, and they are a minority. They are not part
of the target audience of manufacturers as they get
the most revenue from the home consumer markets;
regarding the advanced users, they _rightfully_
say: "We don't care, as it doesn't pay."

This is a simple logic of the market.

Regarding standards: If products are somehow compatible
with something that's already established and supported,
the the questions at the beginning can be answered with
YES, leading to a unit sale.

I think this is meant by "voting with my wallet", right?

Product doesn't work for me - no sale.

But as I initially said: Majorities decide in market
regards. Those majorities are grown by advertising,
which means that their needs are first created, then
formed, and finally satisfied. See "Jevons paradox"
in relation to "modern" products again.

On Fri, 28 Oct 2011 06:59:16 -0400, Jerry wrote:
> I argued against any standard that strangles the ability to innovate.

And I fully agree with that. ANY concept that is intended
to limit the possibilities and the evolution of a product
(hardware or software) is bad, as it limits freedom, as
well as a natural flow of a free market.

> Certain "standards" such as port 25 for SMTP are a necessary evil.
> There are other examples.


> Microsoft, since Win95 has had a simple method for the installation of
> programs and drivers into it system. A program that is attempting to
> install itself into the system calls "msi"
> <> and supplies the needed
> data to that application. MSI then takes over and installs the
> application/driver. This allows developers to worry about creating
> their applications or drivers without the headache of actually
> installing them.

Ha! Very funny. :-)

Most software suppliers do use their own installers, just
as they use own GUIs (for "inconsistency). I know that the
MSI mechanism exists for many years, but developers seem
to already have no big intention to use it. "Windows" does
not have a concept of centrally managed software search,
instalaltion, auditing, upgrading and deinstallation, so
this fits the picture well.

Also malware, spyware and all the "fun" you have in "Windows"
land bypasses such means to improve installation habits.
This is because users have developed a certain way of
how they get programs onto their PCs: First they open
a web browser and google for it, then they download
some *.EXE file and execute it, go through a "wizard",
next, next, next, wait, and reboot. This method also
applies to drivers. Just look at what manufacturers
put onto their installation CDs (or DVDs today), or
how they encourage the users to download the stuff
from the web. Program cycling (like upgrades) are
typically done by each program on its own, individually.

Again, marketing concepts apply here: Many software
vendors regard the installer as part of their product,
as a "viewing window" needed to have advertising
purposes. Things such as company logos, entertainment
elements, registration and other things therefore are
claimed to _have to_ come in the installer.

Oh, and I think you're wrong regarding the year: The
MSI system, if I remember correctly, became available
in the product "Windows 2000". The installer itself
depends on the PRESENCE of the proper infrastructure,
and there are various incompatible versions across
the many kinds of "Windows", and you cannot install
every MSI version on any arbitrary "Windows". This
has to be made sure _before_ attempting to install
anything that uses the MSI mechanism!

The MSI intrastructure is also not freely documented,
so it's not fully possible to employ it without further
burdens. It's also "Windows" centric and cannot be
used on other systems. And in the future, it's quite
possible that certification will be added in order to
control _what_ can be installed on a "Windows" PC and
what cannot. And licensing also comes into mind, where
"coworkers" of MICROS~1 are treated as 1st class
cititens, whereas competitors would have to buy a
license to use this approach. The actual programs to
create MSI packages also have to be considered: Are
they expensive, in comparison to the free and powerful
tools known in the Linux and BSD world?

Again, politics enter the field.

And then there's the security consideration. MSI as a
"black box" prohibits the proper inspection of its
content "before it's too late" (unlike the packaging
mechanisms in Linux or BSD).

Conclusion: Individual binary installers are still the
"standard". And people live with that, just like with
SMTP on port 25. :-)

> Now, if the *BSD and other non-windows platform had a similar
> application, one that ran EXACTLY THE SAME on each different platform,
> developers would have a far easier task designing drivers for a wide
> target audience instead of having to custom design each driver to
> each individual platform which sometimes changes drastically between
> major version numbers.

Yes, stable ABI and API across multiple platforms would
help here much. But that's not going to be happening if
you consider the growing diversification among the Linusi
and the BSDs (while the BSDs on their own are regarded
to me more stable here).

> Obviously you do not understand the term "proprietary" as it refers to
> "proprietary design" or "proprietary goods".
> Honestly, where do you socialists come off with the doctrine that
> others should work their asses off developing a product and then
> divulge that knowledge to you free of charge thus costing the developer
> a fair return on his/her investment?

Why do you have to be insulting, given the rest of your
argumentation is quite properly done? Sorry, this simply
disqualifies you...

But allow me to reply to your statement: In my opinion,
you are MISREADING what you reply to, leaving out an important
fact and changing statements of a "if then" kind into a "must"

So let me make this more clear: IF the hardware manufacturer
wants to allow developers to write drivers for their hardware
for free, THEN everything they'd have to do is to publish the
control codes for the sheet feeder and the ink pee motors.
Conclusion: If they don't do it, they don't want developers
to do so. It is their RIGHT, because they own the product,
and they may sell it under any circumstances they think will
lead to profit. Market rules again.

But BY providing such information, they could see that their
products are more often bought as free drivers do exist that
make the incompatible product fully usable on alternative
platforms. On _what_ platform a printer is used does not
matter as it is the UNIT SALE that counts.

I may come back to my initial "vote with the wallet" (if
I did understand the term correctly, keep in mind that
English is not my native language) idea: If the manufacturer
says that I'm not part of his target audience, I simply
won't buy his product, but buy from a competitor. It's
just a matter of _how important_ this is to that
manufacturer. Keep in mind that many businesses have EXACT
imaginations of _who_ their target audiences are. In the
past of IT, private persons and home settings have not
been in the scope. Today those are the main markets.

> In any case, even IF the needed code were disclosed by the original
> developers, users -- probably like you -- would bitch that now they
> were being forced to write the de3vice driver code.

Please calm down and be polite, it's a neccessary requirement
for an intelligent discussion.

There are many gifted developers who give their knowledge
and life time for free to a community to make a good product,
who deserve to be treated with respect for doing so. Those
developers would be happy to add another nice piece of
hardware to the list of devices that support the OS they
are improving, and the community would be thankful for
having more choices on what to buy. Finally the manufacturer
would profit from it -- not in magnitudes, I know, but
still some more UNIT SALES! And if they provide a good
product for an acceptable price, why not buy it when

I don't see the problems here as you're predicting them.

> Every time you give
> a socialist something, they want more. It is a never ending downhill
> slide.

Just like the exponential growth on one side that leads
to poverty on the other one, as we can experience it in
many "advanced" societies these days...

But I basically agree with your statement: On a free market,
there are no such problems. Conclusion: We need to establish
a free market where customers can decide what products they
want -- which is more than the choice between fire and
brimstone they currently have (when they just consider
the home consumer part of the market, which is everything
that exists for them, according to their "knowledge").

Also note that many (most?) users of Linux and BSD would
keep using those systems if they would have to pay for
them. At least *I* would...

So don't keep shouting "socialist!" when you don't know
what the term means. The word stem is "social", which
refers to the society, and shouldn't that be regarded
a high goal in general?

Two pictures:

Just for fun. :-)

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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