An overview of Printing on the Linux Platform

For several years, many OEM's considered Linux to be a free "hackers" server operating system. However, as the operating system has grown, many now see Linux as a viable, even popular, personal desktop operating system. This change has prompted the manufacturers of consumer model printers to consider Linux base systems as a candidate platform for consumer printer sales. One major problem facing these manufacturers is the integration of driver support for their printers into the Linux operating system. Traditionally manufacturers have supplied the consumer with printer drivers for Windows and Macintosh-based systems. These operating systems have a well-defined printer interface and developer's kits to facilitate driver creation. Although groups within the Linux community are working toward a standard, the Linux operating system and its methods of interfacing with printer hardware does not yet have a standard supported by a developer's kit. This paper examines several issues that are common to Linux printer driver development.

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