Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 2nd Dec 2009 17:22 UTC
Google As most of you will know, a common problem for any new operating system is hardware support. Drivers don't grow on trees, and usually need to be written by manufacturers, which costs time and money. Luckily for Chrome OS, it uses the Linux kernel which makes the hardware support question far less problematic. Still, when it comes to printers, the situation is different, and here, Google is trying to achieve something which should've been done ages ago.
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CUPS
by TheMonoTone on Wed 2nd Dec 2009 18:26 UTC
TheMonoTone
Member since:
2006-01-01

Doesn't cups pretty much take care of the whole printer issue already? Or is google going to reinvent the wheel again and say "we can do better!"

Sort of tired of seeing google thinking they can always do better. No. Sorry google. You can't always do better. Really.

Reply Score: 4

RE: CUPS
by Kalessin on Wed 2nd Dec 2009 18:39 in reply to "CUPS"
Kalessin Member since:
2007-01-18

You still need the drivers. CUPS may help, but it doesn't fix everything. It manages printers, but you still need the drivers to talk to them. The issue here is that it would work a lot better to a have common protocol for communicating with printers so that you don't have to have a specific driver for each printer.

Now, with what Google is doing with Chrome OS, it may very well not use CUPS given how stripped down it is, but the issue that they're trying to solve here is that every printer has its own special driver, so it can be a nightmare to properly support very many printers, let alone all of them.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: CUPS - still needs drivers
by jabbotts on Wed 2nd Dec 2009 18:56 in reply to "CUPS"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

CUPS provides centralized printer services for the platform which can then push documents out too local or network attached printers. It still needs drivers though. If it can't talk to the printer then it's not going to print anything of use. This is where the issue lies. If Google can convince hardware manufacturers to agree on a standard or provide drivers without crapware (even just drivers) for non-Windows platforms then they accomplish something that helps everyone. Heck, if the EU wants to do some real good; look at how limiting printer manufacturers are towards consumer platform choice. Frak it.. EU, look at all hardware driver practices if if we're remotely lucky, it may leak over to this side of the ponds corporation sponsored governments.


The bigger problem it relates to is the closed source nature of drivers. The product is the hardware which is in demand regardless of the consumers prefered platform. There is no justification for driver source to be hidden. Got a bundled firmware in your NIC driver; put it on a flash chip on the device not in the driver - this is no more difficult than bundling it with the driver. Don't have the patent or copyright control to release the secret sauce in your GPU; no problem, put it behind a generic hardware interface chip and let folk provide drivers against that shared interface. Don't have the budget to develop for more than one OS; doesn't matter, the Linux folks if not other platforms are outright begging for minimal specs to include support for your hardware and at no cost to your budgets.

But ney... how to talk to the hardware is an "trade secret".. the unwashed masses can't possibly be graced enough to allow them use of your hardware outside of your one approved OS.

This is peripheral hardware for general purpose computing. Locking it into a single platform through bad management decision making is freaking madness.

I'll end my rant. Drivers are just one of those topics that cause unnecessary grief for no good consumer benefiting reasons.

Reply Parent Score: 4

cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

If I could put 10 mod points towards that comment, I would.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: CUPS
by WereCatf on Wed 2nd Dec 2009 19:07 in reply to "CUPS"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Doesn't cups pretty much take care of the whole printer issue already? Or is google going to reinvent the wheel again and say "we can do better!"

Nope, it's a different thing. Cups is a printer queue manager etc, and it includes drivers for hundreds of printers. But what Google wants is that you can use exactly ONE standard driver to power all the up-and-coming printers so that you won't anymore need a gazillion drivers.

That is a good goal, it'd be fantastic if all the printers in the future followed a single set of standards and would be operated with a single standard driver. However, given how stubborn and incredibly stupid most printer manufacturers are I doubt it'll happen in the next, say, 100 years.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: CUPS
by sbergman27 on Wed 2nd Dec 2009 23:20 in reply to "RE: CUPS"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

it'd be fantastic if all the printers in the future followed a single set of standards and would be operated with a single standard driver. However, given how stubborn and incredibly stupid most printer manufacturers are I doubt it'll happen in the next, say, 100 years.

Remember all the times that Kirk would ask Spock a question, and he'd pop one of those little 3-1/2" floppy looking things into his console before looking into his hooded viewer?

Those were printer drivers. It's a little known fact that he started loading those shortly before the premier episode. ("The Corbomite Maneuver") And if it had not been for the help from the Fabrini, he wouldn't have been able to finish by the end of season 3.

I suppose it wouldn't deflect the course of history too badly for me to reveal that most of his efforts during seasons 1 and 2 were devoted to Canon ink jets.

Edited 2009-12-02 23:39 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2