[oclug]Re: Linux too hard?
Michael P. Soulier
msoulier at storm.ca
Tue Nov 26 13:16:32 EST 2002
On 26/11/02 Jon Earle did speaketh:
> I think the point is not to dumb it down to moron level. Rather, make
> systems (printing, cd burning, digicam, etc) in general, easier to use.
> How many geeks among us find printing to be a huge PITA? (my hand is
> raised.) Why is it so difficult to print under (unix in general) and so
> amazingly easy under Windows? Why is it do difficult to get video drivers
> running in Linux, yet it's so amazingly simple to install them, change
> resolutions and display depths, etc under Windows? Yes, Windows has all
> the guts behind such systems buried within and all the user has to do is
> provide a small driver to define the unique characteristics of the
> particular device. So, what are we waiting for?
I think we're waiting for manufacturers to get on board. I think that CUPS
has made huge strides, but when you install a printer under windows, you get a
CD with it that sets up everything for you. It's hard enough to reverse
engineer printer drivers. Get HP, LexMark, Epson, Canon, etc., on board
producing software for Linux, and it _will_ be as easy as windows. Microsoft
didn't do that all by themselves, they "encouraged" companies to produce for
The choice on Linux is a catch 22. It prevents convergence, and thus
increases the complexity of the software on it. At the same time, I can
totally customize the box for _me_.
For the most part, when it comes to printing, I find I'm find if I stick
to apps that generate postscript. Standards rock.
> I understand and accept that certain things are going to be complex, but
> they will be under any OS. Network configuration for one, requires more
> than casual knowlege. Perl scripting requires more than casual knowlege.
> Printing a grocery list or a letter to Grandma does not (or should not).
Necessity is the mother of invention, but we've got a chicken and egg
problem. Companies like Xandros should help with that.
> Sometimes though, all choice does is split the vote and obscure the
> landscape (think Canadian politics and the shambles the "right" is in).
> Does the community really need multiple printing systems? I think not.
> Make one system, make it really good, and ditch the rest. Alternatives
> are great if they're clearly distinctive and work as advertised, but when
> they're half baked and the rationale behind them (ie: why use A vs B) is
> not clear, the community suffers for it.
> The goal of FS should not, IMHO, be to offer 10,000 alternatives when it's
> very clear that only one solution is needed.
That's not clear to many. Lots of old-timers would say that lpd was all
you needed, but here comes the cups guys. Then there's gnome-print to make it
simple for apps, but the KDE guys think they can do it better, so they make
We do need a standard here, I agree. Then you can write those 10000
alternatives on top of the standard and they'll all work.
Michael P. Soulier <msoulier at storm.ca>, GnuPG pub key: 5BC8BE08
"...the word HACK is used as a verb to indicate a massive amount
of nerd-like effort." -Harley Hahn, A Student's Guide to Unix
HTML Email Considered Harmful: http://expita.com/nomime.html
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