[conspire] pixma printers

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Dec 18 16:55:35 PST 2005

Quoting Bruce Coston (jane_ikari at yahoo.com):

> this is the 2nd refill where my pixma 3000 is dumping gobs of ink that splotch the pages. Was it Daniel who got some experience messing around inside a pixma printer? not as urgent as it could be because I have ross's old canon as a 2nd printer for hi -er quality printing and a friend has my pixma 2000 : does anybody know how to rig a continuous print system cheap ?

No, I don't, but it's funny that you should mention Canon's PIXMA
series.  A sometime CABAL attendee wrote me off-list to consult me on 
driver problems with his.  (He did conclude later that a PIXMA iP90 was
a _bad_ choice, and took it back and got an HP DeskJet 450ci, instead.)

Here's the relevant portion of my reply to his trouble report:

I'd say:  Take it back, unless you are looking for a major technical
challenge, and possibly a great deal of frustration, and possibly still
failing after all of that.

Sometimes, people who are really determined to salvage a questionable
purchase like that will resort to the proprietary Linux print drivers
from the German firm TurboPrint, http://www.turboprint.de/
(English-language site at http://www.turboprint.info/) .  As you'll
see on that Web site, they do not yet claim support for the PIXMA iP90.
I suppose, if you were desperate, you could write to them and ask if
they think they'll have a functional driver soon.  This Web forum had 
a post from some someone in that boat, except concerning a Canon PIXMA
ip 1600:  http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-76448.html 

  Today i got a reply from turboprint.de.
  They said something like this:
  (translated from german)

  "We plan a driver at around the end of the year. With this modern
  printers from Canon, its is hard to get the documentation for those so
  its not sure yet if the driver is realiseable"

  I brought the printer back today and got a HP.
  Check www.linuxprinting.org for Hardware compatibility.  

That gentleman's posting was dated Oct. 28, 2005.

Alternatively, you could attempt to extract the CUPS PPD file from the
driver Canon provides for use on Mac OS X, and kludge that into Linux.
But I've never attempted that stunt, and don't know how feasible it is.
Again, I'd class that as a desparation tactic.

Basically, what you did was encounter a very common pitfall:  You went
to Fry's to buy a printer without bringing _with you_ notes or printouts
concerning which printers are well supported in Linux.  Sometimes, you
can get lucky with this approach, but your luck did not pan out with
this printer.

Double-checking about Canon's PIXMA series online, it's possible to
discern some warning signs:

1.  It's specialised as a photo printer.  
2.  It's very inexpensive.
3.  It's a fairly new model (introduced Jan. 2005).

To explain:  

Printer companies regard any special tricks used to get super-high
colour and image quality out of inexpensive inkjets as valuable
proprietary information, and so are disinclined to cooperate with the
open source community, and in some cases might go out of their way to
make the techniques difficult to reverse-engineer.  It might even be
impossible to do regular black-ink text printing without mastering 
those secret techniques.  

The more inexpensive the printer, the more the manufacturer will be
inclined to regard any small proprietary-information advantage as vital 
to their competitive effort.

The newer the printer (and printer series), the less opportunity the
open source community -- or even TurboPrint, who unlike open source
coders are willing to sign non-disclosure agreements -- will have had to
figure out any secret tricks.

If I were you, I'd print out (or take extensive notes from)
Linuxprinting.org's "Suggested Printers' page,
http://www.linuxprinting.org/suggested.html, and shop again sticking
strictly to what's listed on that page.

Rick Moen                 "Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor."
rick at linuxmafia.com                                   -- Elizabeth Tudor

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