it shouldn't be this way

printing hell

Today I worked to make a printer that a local school bought work with linux, specifically SuSE 7.3 (yeah, we're a bit behind). It was ridiculous, and it's totally not the fault of the printer manufacturer.

The printer is a Samsung ML-1210, a 600 dpi laser printer that's specifically advertised to work with linux. Although you'll get a 404 if you try to find the drivers on the manufacturer's web site, Samsung did release it under the GPL, so it's also archived and patched elsewhere. But look at the page I was pointed to!

After a while, I realized that I had to recompile ghostscript. I couldn't believe it. I can't even get a source RPM for 7.3 these days. You have to manually patch makefiles, and with the GNU ghostscript that I downloaded, that's not straightforward process (the directions were wrong).

But let's step back a bit: why the fuck should I have to recompile something to install a printer? Truly boggles the mind, that one.

Anyway, I finally get it working, manually setting the --prefix so it overwrites the previous installation. Then it turns out SuSE uses some arcane setup for their printing that mandates YaST usage. Let's get it straight: that thing sucks, no matter what Nat Friedman says. But even after fixing Ghostscript, it wouldn't show up in the list of Ghostscript printers!

To cut a long story short, I had to manually edit a strangely-formatted YaST printer database. Why they maintain a list of Ghostscript printers outside of Ghostscript itself, I don't know. But it works now. They're happy. And I'm happy too -- I wasn't expecting to be paid, but I couldn't really refuse at the end, this being on my own time and all.


I see no reason why I shouldn't be the number one wingo on the web. I'm going to start working on making this site relevant, starting with the software page. In the meantime I just need to regain lost ground. You can help by linking to the main page, Thanks.

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