Canon Pixma ip1600

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So, thanks to a credit card offer, we get a choice between a $300 Park'n'Shop voucher or a Canon Pixma ip1600 photo printer. Now, I figure that any printer (even if it does only cost $300) has got to be an improvement on the current situation. Sadly, this was not the case.

(Current Situation: I have an Epson Stylus Photo 700. This is a reasonably good, if slightly old printer, which takes about 5 goes to get a page out with all the right colours and pixels filled in. It's shared off the Samba server on the Linux box, which means that I can print from the Mac, the Windows box, the Linux box, basically any machine on the local network, and even my Palm if I'm feeling optimistic.)

So, I insert the ink cartridges in the printer after powering it on and plug it into the Linux box. That's the primary machine and the only one guaranteed to always be on. Some configuring later, I find that there are no drivers for this printer and that Canon are among the worst of all the printer manufacturers for releasing printer drivers for Linux. Not good.

OK, so I figure that the little Mac Mini is the second most likely machine to be always on and from which people would like to print. Nope. No Mac drivers for this little printer either.

(Note when I say "No Printers" I mean that it is not possible to even use this printer as an ASCII printer. It won't recognise anything sent to it!)

So, wake up the Windows XP box, and insert the drivers disk. OK, that works, and it's reasonably quick to print a test page. Test it out with an image from the DSLR, and it's not too bad. So, ok, brand new print cartridges and it's ok. Not an auspicious start.

What I really want to know is: just how difficult is it to make printer drivers for Linux? They don't have to be the fastest or most appealing, but all you really have to do is publish all the printer codes. Printing is a solved problem. There is almost nothing new or proprietary which could be revealed by letting people know how to put Printer X into bitmap mode. Make your printers obey a generic set of codes (thank you Epson!) or release the simple codes which let users print to your printer. If it's costing Canon extra money to convert their drivers to Linux/MacOS, why do they have separate printer codes for individual printers in the first place? Have a standard basic set with extra (proprietary if you want) features for higher end printers, but don't cripple the basic printers.


Louis K. C. Chan said:

I share your frustration with hardware makers who
don't support anything other than Windows but in this
case are you sure there aren't OS X drivers for your
printer? Check out:
Good luck on making your printer work with your
Mac mini or Linux box.

dave said:

Louis, your link doesn't work, but I was able to search away and found the drivers this time:

Canon Pixma 1600 downloads page

Hmm, I'm not sure why I thought there were no drivers - I did a google search for Mac Drivers for Pixma and came up with nothing. Perhaps the page with the actual drivers is buried away from Google?

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This page contains a single entry by dave published on May 30, 2006 11:48 PM.

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