[Desktop_printing] PAPI for CUPS: Volunteers needed!

Michael Sweet mike at easysw.com
Wed Jun 28 13:26:34 PDT 2006

Giuseppe Ghibò wrote:
> ...
> The problem is that drivers developers seems satisfied or
> tolerate of this situation (which for and end user and distros is
> often a source of pain).

I think most commercial developers are pragmatic about their
products.  I've worked with vendors with varying degrees of
open-ness, but in the end it just boils down to one question:
how can I (as a business owner) provide a driver for my customers?

In some cases, we have to ship drivers with "magic bits" in
them so that a printer will work.  It isn't the optimal solution,
but it is *a* solution, and one that will hopefully demonstrate
the popularity of a platform or solution to the vendor so that
future products *can* use the optimal solution.

I have *never* run into a vendor that would not allow us to
redistribute printer/driver files with our product.  We call
them up or email them, talk for a little bit (I need X and Y,
then we can support your product), and then we get the files
and permission to redistribute.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is this: YOU NEED TO TALK
TO THE VENDORS.  Griping about how vendor A doesn't allow you
to redistribute the files off their web site is no solution.
Talk to the vendor and explain what you would like to do in a
polite, professional way, and keep the proselytizing to a
bare minimum.  Vendors are in business to make money.  Show
them how they can make more money and you'll open more doors
than by showing them the "One True Way".

 > ...
> So here there is actually the following problems:
> - from vendor point of view, share their firmware so that it could
> be redistributed freely (which doesn't mean only allowing this for end 
> users
> to do the free downloading themselves).

I don't see this as a problem, as I've never found a vendor that
wasn't willing to allow this...

> - from driver point of view, how should be the firmware license
> (or the firmware itself) so that it could be BUNDLED with the driver in 
> a way compatible with the driver/distro open license.

The Linux kernel already includes "non-free" but freely distributable
firmware files for a variety of devices.  When I load FC5 on my
laptop, it includes the firmware file I need for my Wifi card.
Some of my USB toys also have firmware files for them...

> - start a list of firmware according to which OSS drivers supports them, 
> which need to have an
> license in way that they could be bundled with the driver itself.

I believe there are already dozens of examples of this in Linux
itself, so perhaps that is the first place you can look.

Michael Sweet, Easy Software Products           mike at easysw dot com
Internet Printing and Document Software          http://www.easysw.com

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