Thursday, November 29, 2007

Some overdue praise for Edubuntu Gutsy regarding an HP Deskjet F4180 and Canon MP470

One of the things I love about Albert Einstein Academies is that they require their parents to commit to a certain amount of volunteer hours at the school as part of their child's acceptance. How they get away with this is beyond me as we are a public, not private school but they get away with it nonetheless. Occasionally a parent will opt to donate a sum of money or product to the school in lieu of volunteering for that month. And then on even rarer occasions a parent will opt to donate a sum of money or product to the school in lieu of volunteering for the entire YEAR. It just so happened that a parent went this route at the start of the year and purchased (apparently from the UCSD bookstore which, barring an employee discount or something, is probably the single most expensive place in the county they could have done so) and donated a brand new Canon MP160 all-in-one printer. Since anything that even hints of technology falls under my domain the office staff called me up and told me there was a package for me in the office.

Now I do everything I can to run a paperless classroom so I honestly asked myself if there was anyone who might be able to make better use of this machine than I would. The donation came a few weeks into the school year though and most teachers had already set themselves up pretty well with printers so I brought it up to the lab as much to test it out with Feisty as anything else. You won't be surprised to learn that after much research and downloading of drivers the best I was able to do was get the thing to print reliably (although once it did seem to copy, but not when I wanted it to).

Fast forward to yesterday when the 6th grade math teacher called me down to disable her automatic Firefox updates and told me that despite hours and hours of time on the phone with HP support she was still unable to get her HP DeskJet 4180 All-In-One to scan into Windows 2000 correctly. I suggested that we trade machines. I figured my Canon would be able to scan for her and I could at least achieve performance parity with her HP on Gutsy.

You can imagine my elation when I finally hooked up the HP to gutsy, installed the driver (incredibly easier than Win2k of course) and was able to print, copy AND scan into GIMP perfectly! What a treat! Feisty had always hinted that hooking up a printer could be this easy but failed to deliver for me despite supposed "linux" drivers for my Canon. Excepting a "new device" notice when I plugged in the printer and automatic driver installation I can't imagine the process being much easier. Best of all I don't have all that extra HP crapware that the math teacher had to have just to be able to use the machine. I couldn't be happier.

Next time I'll change gears and gripe about how I'm reformatting my outside lab server right now because it won't let me make a user account named "student11" or "student15". Stupid Edubuntu...j/k -joe

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