Ten Steps Needed for Fiery Desktop Linux Adoption: Page 2

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3. All-in-one Printers. The next big hassle to overcome is the fact that while a given all-in-one printer works just fine with desktop Linux, five others provide no compatibility at all. Based on my own experience, I simply use HPLIP, as it has yet to let me down. For those who are using EPSON however, the choices are much slimmer and more difficult to locate.

It's true that compatibility does exist for a limited selection of brands, but the single biggest issue is not seeing this bundled on the installation CD along with the Windows and OS X drivers within the printer packaging. This may seem redundant, yet at the same time I firmly believe that compatible companies would be able to sell more with a cross platform mindset. I believe that solutions like HPLIP should be immediate locatable for newer users. They shouldn’t require blind Google queries to try to locate a way to get these devices working.

Needed solution: Despite valiant effort from HP in this department, the fact remains that other vendors need to get on board as well. There simply must be an option for those users who own products from Lexmark, EPSON (the currently unsupported models) and other vendors. Because as it stands now, a free distribution of Linux still has a price for the individual who needs to go out and purchase a new all-in-one just to get things working.

4. Stand alone scanners and printers. Unlike the all-in-ones previously mentioned, I have found standard printers provide more compatibility with all of the popular Linux distributions. But the same cannot be said about stand alone scanners. Even when taking the SANE project into consideration, there are still a number of scanners models that do not work well as expected. Then you have the scanning applications. I have never gotten "gnomescan" working as expected, however I found Kooka to be a worthwhile application for using my scanner. Unfortunately, using my old Canon scanner meant using a hack, as our old friend "regression" reared its ugly head when I moved from Ubuntu Edgy to Feisty. I have not tested it out yet with Gutsy.

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Needed solution: Scanner vendors such as Canon need to get on the ball and provide better information to SANE developers. Because when models such as the V500 do not even appear in the SANE compatibility list, something is dead wrong with the vendor – they’re missing the opportunity for new customers.

5. EVDO access without the headache. Getting EVDO working in Linux is much more difficult than with typical wireless connections. Modprobe this, edit that conf file…the list just keeps going. Then even after all that, there are no guarantees.

What is worse is that you still have to activate many of the cards from within Windows anyway, which is a real problem if the user is living in a Linux-only household.

Needed solution: Not only should Verizon, Sprint and others wake up and work with their customers to the extent of supporting their OS of choice with their EVDO cards, asking them to activate the card from within Windows is truly inexcusable. There is simply no reason for this.

6. Support for BlackBerry. I am not even going to mention support for PocketPC or the iPhone, as each device has platforms they are aligned with already. However, the BlackBerry needs to truly be platform neutral. To my knowledge, there are two Personal Information Managers in Linux that currently provide MS Exchange support and by proxy, BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) support, localized sync ability is simply not happening.

For example, if you take your Windows software for the BlackBerry and the USB cable, put everything together, you end up with nothing. Nothing localized will sync without a lot of hacking and hoping.

Needed solution: I would really like to see Research In Motion (RIM), creators of the BlackBerry, step up to provide some sort of local access to their devices for Linux users. Again, I realize that there are some 'hack-n-wish" options out there already for Linux users. But the fact is that this is an important area that RIM could truly differentiate themselves from everyone else in the mobile market.

7. Support for other mobile phones. Today's mobile phones offer very little for locally syncing up important contacts with your PC with desktop Linux. Already accessible are some very poorly designed Linux sync applications that provide a less than suitable front-end for this deed. Too bad the back-end requires so much work just for the slim chance of getting a local sync setup in the first place.

Needed solution: Still under heavy development, I think free software such as Conduit has the best chance overall for a future that provides something usable. Still, there is likely going to be some need for mobile phone manufacturers to jump in along side Conduit developers so that any missing back-end pieces are not being left out in the cold.


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