Thursday, May 17, 2018

Why Linux Is Not Winning the War

I am trying to get the Debian Linux version in the shop to print to the HP LaserJet in my office (IP  Settings->Printing: Add.  Network Printer is the obvious choice:

It asks for the Host.  The IP address? Then Find button?

AppSocket/HP JetDirect goes a bit farther.  But there is no driver for my M426fdw, which is neither antique nor new.  (A few years old.)  I can use the 1536 driver, but then when I bring up properties, I get:
Any suggestions?  I really prefer Linux, but I cannot recommend it to anyone who is struggling with Windows.

This may be the solution.  (No, and not needed.)  Could not install on Debian 7.1 (the special version for CNC).  But somehow I can print from the install under VMWare, so I may try the same sequence from the shop PC.

Works!  In case you run into this struggle: AppSocket/HP Direct, Enter the IP address in the URI field, Forward, then enter it again on next screen and it searches for drivers.  Still none specific to my M426fdw, but using the M1536 printer profile works.


  1. Get an iMac.

    Clayton, for a guy with much more tech knowledge than I possess, you sure struggle mightily to avoid the easy button.

    Since 2006, when I changed out all of my Windows BS and went to Mac, I have never had one single problem. Not one. Every peripheral is plug and play.

    When I want toast, I do not want to know how to repair a toaster. I just want to be able to put bread in, push the button, and get toast.

    Get a Mac, don't look back.

    1. The CNC app runs on Linux, not Windows, because of timing issues. I have no idea if there is a Mac version. Windows works well for me.

  2. If you want up to date software, Debian Stable is not a good bet. Which version are you running?

  3. Debian 7 is old, released in May 2013 and therefore exiting long term security support this month. It would have been feature frozen some number of months earlier.

    In many ways its development model is not a good fit for the desktop, it grabs a zillion upstream packages, messes with them, which resulted in one of the worse security screwups in all of FOSS history when an unqualified programmer removed all the entropy from its random number generator while trying to semi-gratuitously clean up the code, freezes updates at some point before the release, and then if you don't take additional measures (e.g. get updates from additional repositories) you only get security updates. So support for newer hardware is iffy.

    Lots of people run the testing or unstable branch, but that of course would be iffy if you're trying to use a package compiled for an earlier, fixed version (never tried that, so I don't know, usually I just compile from scratch anything new that I really need). With their political adoption of systemd, which is steadily turning most distributions of Linux into something Windows intertwingled with poor quality code like, I stopped paying attention to it at about version 7, am now running the last Ubuntu that has Long Term Support (LTS) without (much of) systemd (Ubuntu is based on Debian), and am looking for alternatives when that support runs out in a bit less than a year.

    As for OS X/macOS, while Apple is better at software than your average hardware company, the software quality of both it and iOS has been sharply dropping, enough to the point that they're (again) going to take time out to focus on quality, but even then macOS is the red headed step child. Given the myriad Macintosh hardware issues, unless you must develop iOS apps, it's not something that's axiomatically better than the alternatives.

    Really, right now there aren't any good ones. Windows 10 is spyware ridden where normal consumers have now taken over the role of the fired QA people, see above for macOS, way too much of Linux is aping Windows with systemd, FreeBSD is falling to SJW madness, NetBSD I've heard without checking has lost most of it's effort/mojo, DragonFly BSD is focused on stuff most of us aren't interested in (distributed file system, which until it's solid is to be avoided), OpenBSD or a non-pozzed with systemd Linux looks like the best general bets. Which of course don't address 3rd party software that's very specific about what it's runs on.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. I accidentally removed this comment which argued that HP device drivers suck. Many years ago when I worked for HP, I was asked to participate in a device driver install test. After 35 minutes of thrashing, I gave up. My home experience at the time was that the first install of an HP device driver usually worked fine, but reinstall was always a risky ands unpredictable result. I have not been involved in working on program install accepts since the late 1990s, and they were disasters waiting to happen, at the time.