I finally took the time to connect my Hewlett-Packard PSC 2355 printer to my Dell Ubuntu PC. Finding the driver on the Web, installing it and activating the printer took only a few minutes. But the process is still much easier in the world of Windows XP. Here’s why.
With Windows, the Wizard menu system generally walks you through the driver install process. The vast majority of printers work with XP (I can’t say the same for Vista since I haven’t tested that). In most cases, setting up a printer with XP requires a few clicks of the mouse.
Things are slightly different in the Ubuntu world. I went to the menu system (System/Administration/Printing) and clicked on the “New Printer” icon. The Dell PC accurately identified my printer (HP PSC 2355). So far, so good.
Then, a few tricky items. The driver for the printer wasn’t available on my local PC so I had to fetch it from the Internet. With a Google search and a little luck, I found the driver. But I encountered some confusing terms and acronyms (PPD… etc.). Fortunately, this searchable online database helped me find my driver really quickly.
For Linux users, this stuff is a breeze. But for those who are trying to make the transition from Windows to Ubuntu, setting up a printer should be far easier.
In fact, Dell and Canonical should reach out to consumer printer manufacturers (HP, Lexmark, etc.) to find a way to have the most prominent drivers shipped with Dell PCs. Sure, Dell competes fiercely with HP in the PC market. But by working together on Ubuntu support, HP and Dell could pump up their respective hardware sales to Ubuntu users like me.