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Installing a printer: XP versus Mandriva

  • Subject: Installing a printer: XP versus Mandriva
  • From: Richard Rasker <spamtrap@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 01 Mar 2009 00:14:05 +0100
  • Bytes: 8268
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Organization: Linetec
  • User-agent: KNode/0.10.9
  • Xref: ellandroad.demon.co.uk comp.os.linux.advocacy:742377
Ah, the joys of Windows! I still have XP installed on my Asus EeePC 1000H
netbook, and in all honesty, it seems to run sorta OK, apart from messed-up
graphics -- http://www.linetec.nl/linux/eee_xp_screwup4.png -- all sorts of
annoying systray messages about "unused icons" and a security risk (which
usually disappear after a few minutes), Avast's nag screens about my "trial
period" ending, and WMP's total impotence when it comes to playing
ubiquitous video formats.
It's not like I actually /use/ XP of course, but contrary to my
expectations, it hasn't yet totally crumbled under my hands. Or perhaps
that's /because/ I don't use it ...

Anyway, a week ago, I installed Mandriva 2009 on this lovely piece of
hardware, and the only thing not working properly out-of-the-box is the
built-in webcam. No big deal.

And as I had an HP Photosmart 2575 3-in-1 under repair, I decided to do a
little comparison test, and install this printer under both Windows XP and

First up: XP. I didn't have the driver CD, and the printer's owner couldn't
find it, so first I tried installing it the Linux way: simply plugging it
in. Sure enough, XP recognized a "Compound USB Device" --
http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer01.png -- and the "Wizard New
Hardware Found" popped up -- http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer02.png .
I gave it permission to search for driver software and clicked Next ... OK,
another screen telling me to load up any available floppy or CD with
drivers -- http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer03.png . Click Next ...
OK, it's searching ... http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer04.png ...
and ... Bummer! "This hardware cannot be installed because the required
software is not found"  -- http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer05.png .
OK, so much for the easy Linux way.

So it must be done the Windows way: visit hardware manufacturer's Web site,
download .exe, and fire that up. Off to www.hp.com, clickety-click ...
device make & model ... clickety-click Windows XP 32 bit ... ah, there it
is: http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer06.png
Whoa! over 45MB for just the "basic drivers"! And a staggering near 300MB if
I want everything! I decide to go with just the drivers -- but huh, what's
this -- http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer06_wifi_popup.png ? A systray
message saying that there's a Wireless connection all of a sudden? The very
same connection I've been using for over half an hour? It's just more proof
of Windows' braindead blabbermouth bimbo nature. This is one seriously sick

Ah well, let's get on with it ... click the desired driver package, end up
at yet another HP page -- http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer07.png --
click Download button. After which a rather slow download begins --
http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer08.png . After a few minutes, the
download speed picks up a little, and after waiting for ten minutes, I can
fire up the installer. Great: "Processing data" --
http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer09.png ... this is gonna take a while
yet ... and oh, braindead XP finally decided it can't handle the printer at
this moment -- http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer10.png . After another
three minutes, "data processing" is apparently done, and the actual
installer pops up -- http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer11.png . Yeah
yeah ... click Next ... Oh, goodie, another blah blah screen ...
http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer12.png ... but WTF? It actually
recommends that I shut down anti-virus? And it needs to phone home too? WTF
did I just download well over 40MB of software for? Ah well ... click Next
again, get it over with -- http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer13.png ...
Yeah yeah .. automatic updates are OK. Nice that you ask. Thank you. NEXT!
http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer14.png -- ah, yet another useless
message, telling me that everything is OK. NEXT!
http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer15.png Now what!? A License
Agreement? Didn't I agree to HP's license agreement way back when I clicked
the download button, in http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer07.png ? Yup,
I most certainly did ... But OK "Agree" ...
http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer15.png ... OK, the destination folder
is just fine (is there anyone on this planet who would even /dare/ change
this setting?) ... NEXT! http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer17.png --
ah, we appear to be getting closer! It seems that I must now make the
printer connection, so that's what I do ...
http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer18.png ... click Next again ... and
the actual installation finally appears to be in progress
http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer19.png ... and YES! It seems we're
there: http://www.linetec.nl/linux/xp_printer20.png -- so I may finally
click Finish!

Total amount of time spent: 21 minutes, 10 minutes of which clicking Next
buttons. And talk about clicking: let's count ... some nine mouse clicks to
start the download from HP, then another eleven in the installer. So that's
twenty mouse clicks and twenty minutes of time. And, of course, the user
must know where to find drivers, and make the right choices for the make &
model of hardware, and the OS type. Lots of room for error. Not to mention
the fact that the installer basically recommends doing the unthinkable:
shut down antivirus and let it poke holes in the firewall. Just wonderful.

Now let's have a go in Mandriva. I log in and plug in the printer.
Immediately, Mandriva recognizes the printer:
http://www.linetec.nl/linux/kde_printer01.png -- it says that it's about to
install the printing system, and asks for permission to install the
appropriate package. OK, so I click Install ... oh, yeah, I need root
privileges to do this: http://www.linetec.nl/linux/kde_printer02.png --
very well, I enter the root password and click OK ... and then Mandriva
asks my permission to install a bunch of required packages:
http://www.linetec.nl/linux/kde_printer03.png . Fine, I click OK again, and
the download begins. After two minutes, the packages are downloaded and
installed, after which Mandriva figures out that it's dealing with a
scanner as well http://www.linetec.nl/linux/kde_printer04.png . No problem,
install that too ... whoops, permission needed for another bunch of
files -- http://www.linetec.nl/linux/kde_printer05.png . OK, go ahead ...
hmm, downloading these packages goes *way* faster too than the HP stuff:
http://www.linetec.nl/linux/kde_printer06.png -- ten times as fast, to be
precise. I hardly have time to lean back when Mandriva tells me that it's
installing the printer http://www.linetec.nl/linux/kde_printer07.png ...
and not even a minute later, everything is done:

So that's, what? eight minutes for everything to download and install, and
five mouse clicks (which I think is quite a lot, really -- with some
printers, it's a matter of just one or two clicks). All the user has to do,
is plug in the printer, enter a root password, and confirm the installation
of required packages. No downloading stuff, no stupid messages about
antivirus or firewalls having to be shut down ...

Yup, Windows sure is much easier than Linux ... not.

Richard Rasker

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