Installing A New Printer. Windows vs. Linux
OK. This is just ridiculous. I buy a new printer the other day. HP C6180. It's a pretty nice printer. All in one deal. B&W, Color, Photo, Scanner, Copier, Fax, USB, built in wired and wireless ethernet. This thing does it all for a reasonable price. Besides that my old $40 Canon printer just doesn't cut it for printing out my business presentations. I usually check the net to make sure new devices I buy have a good track record for working with Linux, but this time it was an impulse buy and I figured I could return it if I had problems.
Windows - 40 Minutes
So I start to install the drivers in Windows. After about 10 "Nexts" it starts to install the drivers. I get no less than 7 requests by my firewall to give access to the internet for various parts of HP software. After about 20 minutes and a few more firewall requests for access it appears to have installed the drivers plus a myriad of other software that I am not sure I really need or want. Finally, I think I am ready to print a test page. But NOOOOOO. Now tells me I have to reboot Windows. Good grief. Well at least after I reboot I will be able to test this puppy out and see what it can really do I think. But NOOOOO. After the reboot it has to install more software. During this 10 minute process I get about 8 more firewall access requests. Finally, after this it launches the fax setup program which takes another 2 - 3 minutes to step through. At this point 40 minutes after I started I am able to print the crappy Windows printer test page. PHEW!
Linux - 2 Minutes
While I was waiting for the first round of software to install on Windows, I turned to my laptop running Ubuntu to see if I could get it setup to print as well. I launched the printing configuration tool. Clicked on "New Printer". Typed in the IP address I had assigned to the printer and selected the model number. Then I clicked the test page button and BAM there was my nice test page with a great color scale to make sure all my colors were working. I swear it was less than 2 minutes from the time I swiveled in my chair to the time I had my test page hot off the press. After this I went back to waiting for my Windows software to install.
Windows just sucks at this kind of thing. Microsoft is not the only one to blame. HP is taking advantage of the fact that they have to install a driver in the first place to bloat up my system with software I don't need. And then they have to spend precious time checking for security patches even though we all know that Windows has fewer vulnerabilities than Linux (tongue firmly in cheek. click here for more). Perhaps when I finally break down and install Vista I will be pleasantly surprised that the printer setup is very quick and easy, but at this point I am not holding my breath.
Update: For the critics on Digg I also installed Fax and Scanner support from Linux just to be completely fair. I had to install the hpoj support. Please tack on another 2 minutes. That's 4 minutes total. Also, I might have installed the drivers quicker on Windows if I DID NOT follow the instructions that came with the printer. But I wanted to do what an average user would do so I could see the difference. Unfortunately, there were no instructions for Linux.