More Printer Mayhem

Many of you may have read my last post on this subject regarding action that needed to be taken in the form of a petition for Linux and printer manufacturers and their lack of drivers. In a sense, they hem us in to a Windows environment by not allowing us the choice of operating system. I felt this was wrong and started an online petition. The host of the petition has actually seen large companies such as WebTV and CNN, respond to their petitions. I was hoping that our petition would garner enough interest to do so as well.

Many of you thought it was too agressive and felt that we should get them where it hurts by ‘talking with our money’. Some also felt that the correct action would be to write letters urging manufacturers to produce Linux drivers.

For those of you that were thinking along these lines: a reader emailed me recently and sent me scans of the official reply that Canon gave him after he pulled out of a $4000.00+ deal for his business with them. It seems that money doesn’t talk unless it is from a large corporation. It also seems that letters to your manufacturer don’t work out that great either. All private information from the individual providing these letters has been removed. If you’d like to get in touch with him or his business, please email me and I will forward it to him. I’d like to draw your attention to the underlined text on the letter itself. It’s rather funny that a company comes right out and lies about reasons for not developing drivers…everyone knows that they could release binary versions of drivers that could be compiled on ANY and EVERY version of Linux and that people would just snag them and adopt them. The real reason they don’t release them has yet to be devulged. Without further discussion, the letter and envelope:


The simple fact is that Canon threw away 4 thousand dollars US worth of business at the drop of a hat. That’s because it is a drop in the proverbial bucket. Large corporations only listen when other large corporations tell them to…although there are exceptions…in this case, 4k isn’t anything…nor is the opinion of the man who sent a letter to them. In fact, if you’ll notice, they ask him to purchase products from them in the future! The audacity these companies have is flabbergasting. If you don’t feel like taking this lying down, go out and sign the Linux Printer Driver Online Petition and make your voice count by bringing it into harmony with over a thousand people who have signed it already. Thousands of voices together can be quite an influence. Let’s get these companies to take notice. A letter with a link to this petition might cause them to change their minds…but we need more people. Pass this on as much as possible. The more attention this thing gets, the better our chances are at having printer manufacturers take notice.


Click This Link to Sign the Linux Printer Driver Online Petition


Author: devnet

devnet has been a project manager for a Fortune 500 company, a Unix and Linux administrator, a Technical Writer, a System Analyst, and a Systems Engineer during his 20+ years working with Technology.

5 thoughts on “More Printer Mayhem”

  1. It does not surprise me that Canon responded this way. Working in retail selling low to medium end technology items, I have dealt with pretty much 80% of the manufacturers and their reps. IN all honesty, pretty much all printers have the same quality photo or text, laser or ink (comparing laser vs laser, etc). What it really comes down to 1.) Will this machine work with my system? 2.) Will the cost of consumables (cartridges) empty my wallet? 3.) Which machine is more reliable?

    Unfortunately, due to customer demand for low up-front costs, quality of machines has gone down dramatically. Some manufacturers refuse to support Windows 95 and 98 First Edition.

    If $4 grand isn’t enough to hit Canon and at least sway them towards Linux, then they are a lost cause. My suggestion to this gentleman would be to simply inquire to the major printer manufacturers about their feelings on Linux. I know Samsung supports Linux out of the box on most of their models, but it sounds like this gentleman is looking for a color machine. If I’m not mistaken, an all-in-one color machine.

    Let’s hope HP kick starts their Linux support quicker and starts shipping machines with Linux drivers and software on the CD soon.

  2. I’m not surprised by Canon’s reaction yet i don’t think they intended to be quite as shifty or bad as this entry implies. I agree on the need for more printer drivers in Linux seeing as it is a limiting factor for some, however I feel that Canon has a reasonable explaination. [Well if you read between the lines.

    There are two options for them to support linux: either they write the drivers themselves or they release documentation to allow others to write them.

    The first opinion I’m sure they don’t see the finacial benefit from, they obviously are close-minded and feel that the investment to produce linux drivers for the reward of linux users buying their products isn’t great enough to merit such a move for support. I disgree with them, but if they don’t find it financially sound then we need to convince them otherwise.

    The second option is to release documentation that allows others to write drivers. I completely understand their hesitation to do this as well, even if I again disagree. Their company is reputation based. If you like the quality of their printers odds are you’ll buy another one in the future. Allow some linux programmer to write a driver that allows printer but not to the quality that Canon desires to have out there could reflect poorly on the company. This could result in poor performance which results in less profit for them, so they want to desperately hold onto the Canon “standard” of quality so that any failure is self-contained.

    Again I disagree with this idea because someone could create a driver that was better than one Canon writes itself, plus the first company that support linux for all its products will by default have won the linux market. But I understand their fear, when a printer doesn’t print [or prints poorly] end users blame first the printer for being crappy without thought to the driver.

    Just my two cents. Although it is disappointing that Canon has such a narrow field of view on this subject I feel their position is realistic and understandible.

  3. Wow, I signed that petition before it hit the tenth signee. Now it has over 1000! Nice!

    Still, I think letters would help. Companies won’t support Gnu/Linux because they feel that there wouldn’t be enough ROI. Letters from a significant amount might get someone to see that there would be significant return.

    But if a company is practically happy about losing $4,000 then that’s why competition would be nice.

  4. will work to proliferate Linux on several fronts. We will work with our developers to improve a handful of programs so that they may compete with Windows., We will pursue advertising and publicity channels to make Linux known more to the average computer user, AND if this gentleman is smart, and he seems like he is, he will write the same type of letter to each major hardware manufacturer pointing out that he could have easily been stopping THEIR 4000.00 order. If he sent Devnet the letter, then he obviously reads this site. A word to the wise should be sufficient


  5. (IMO,) Canon will be one of the last companies to get (or be forced to get) GNU/Linux and free software.
    Somebody from the FSF was supposed to be chatting with one of their contacts at Canon, but nothing seems to have come of it.
    I plan on giving away my scanner to anybody that wants to give reverse engineering it a shot. Then I plan to buy an Epson and avoid Canon until they wake up.
    Good luck, but . . . well, just good luck.

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