[conspire] Re: (somewhat OT) Epson (and other) inkjets

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Jul 25 16:39:24 PDT 2005

Quoting Eric De Mund (ead-conspire at ixian.com):

> Thank you very much for pointing out the nefarious behavior Epson
> engages in in your email which could have sported the alternate title
> "games printers play" (a suitable sequel to Eric Berne, M.D.'s book
> "Games People Play"?). I appreciate your heads up on this disgusting
> little game. I had no idea; I will not be buying Epson products for
> myself or my clients any time soon.

Yr. welcome.

'Course, it's hardly just Epson:  My larger point was that the problem's
inherent in the economic model of selling cheap, flimsy inkjet printers
requiring one-off, non-standardised ink cartridges that you then make
money from.  And Epson, at least, hasn't tried to use DMCA in lawsuit
attempts to enforce the scam -- unlike Lexmark.  

So generally, near as I can tell, they're all bad -- all for the same
reason.  Before I'd buy one for any role beyond once-in-a-blue-moon
colour photo printing, I'd want to see:

o  Consensus that the cartridge is refill-friendly and of standard, 
   non-patent-encumbered design that is open to third-party competition.
o  Consensus that the printer itself is built to last, and has no 
   user-inaccessible gotcha features like Epson's auto-disable chip.

I expect those things by default because... that's simply the norm for
that market.  A manufacturer who did otherwise would have to convince
buyers that its built-to-last $200 printer with a standard, open-design 
ink cartridge is worth a 50% premium over the other guys' $125
offerings, and home / small-office buyers will go for cheap crud almost
every time.  So, that product doesn't even get offered.

That's what happens to the product when you have an unhealthy customer
dynamic (http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/lexicon.html#moenslaw-bicycles), 
and the entire category also faces price pressure from inexpensive B&W
laser printers, which is what businesses (and smart SOHO buyers)
purchase for general usage, instead.

Some _colour laser_ printers aren't too much higher:

On another mailing list[1], Peter Knaggs pointed out at the Konica
Minolta 2000DL is a decent (and networked) colour laser printer that
works well with Linux:
Seems to run about $500, street price.

_And_, Bob van der Poel recommended an even cheaper colour laser
printer, the HP LaserJet 2550L (about $300):  A little slow to image,
but otherwise great.

[1] http://lists.linuxgazette.net/mailman/listinfo/tag

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