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TurboPrint for Linux Saves the Day-- Again - page 2

Printing in Linux. Sigh.

  • December 16, 2009
  • By Carla Schroder
TurboPrint 2.0 was released way back in 2008, and even though I've been a TurboPrint user for several years I missed that. Which is a shame because the 2.0 series is considerably improved from 1.x, so I missed out on over a year of good stuff. 1.x users can buy a discounted upgrade license for EUR 17.95, and the full TurboPrint Pro version for new users is EUR 29.95. For me it's a great deal because it fully supports my Canon Pixma IP 4200 printer. This printer is a fine example of the multiple-personality disorders that infect our friends the giant globalcorps. Canon makes Linux drivers for this printer and distributes them in RPMs and installation tarballs. But they're available only from Canon.jp, and while this may make me a bad global citizen I don't read Japanese. Once upon a time I found them but the link changed, so who knows where they went.

Another funny thing about this printer is it comes with the ability to print on CD/DVDs, but the US version has this feature crippled. Fortunately, the Intertubes are full of instructions on how to enable it. It calls for some manual skills to craft a tray to hold the disks, and then all you need is the nice TurboPrinter driver that supports printing to disk. (And printable CD/DVD blanks.)

TurboPrint also comes with a good management panel for my printer that integrates nicely into KDE and Gnome, it slides seamlessly into CUPS, and it reads ink levels without needing root permissions.

TurboPrint Studio targets the high-end, supporting pre-press features and ICC color space profiles. Watch this space for a review.

Usually I favor the Gutenprint drivers, especially for color printers. But for whatever reason they don't support this printer very well; images are grainy and washed-out. With good drivers it's a wonderful printer that produces beautiful color photo prints. It is very tweak-able, and you can adjust the color hues, saturation, and intensity individually, and create custom color profiles.

So the moral is two-fold: shop more carefully than I did, and give thanks to all those splendid people who make it possible to use Linux even when our friends the giant globalcorps don't want us to.

Carla Schroder is the author of the Linux Cookbook and the Linux Networking Cookbook (O'Reilly Media), the upcoming "The Book of Audacity" (NoStarch Press), a lifelong book lover, and the managing editor of LinuxPlanet and Linux Today.

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