Since my old laptop is dragging butt I thought I would clean things up. I have been hearing good things about the new LinuxMint version 17.1 so I found a usb memory stick to boot off for a few days and finally bit the bullet and installed it along side Windows.
The reason I bit the bullet is because running off the stick I was losing that I was figuring out along the way. Once I finally figured out how to install my cheap Chinese knock off laser printer, I decided to make it official.
I believe one reason Linux has been a bit slow to take off is because they have some of the stranger geeks playing. I looked through a few of the forums and found a few dozen folks asking how to install the exact same printer from over two years ago with not a single "easy" solution and most of the "solutions" created more problems than they fixed.
There is a fairly simple way to install and unsupported printer starting with downloading the "linux" version of the driver from the OEM website. "linux" is in quotes because the driver is in a .RPM format which isn't clearly supported by the Mint version of Linux. There is a Redhat version that much have tickled the fancy of most manufacturers that does use the .RPM format.
There is a supported Linux application called Alien that will convert a .RPM version into a .DEB version. Sounds great right? Nope, Mint needs a PostsScript Document Driver (.PPD) version and the .DEB is actually a PPD filter. The printer install not so much a wizard, Wizard asks for a .PPD, url or you can select from the list of "supported" printers. Not very obvious on the printer wizard apprentice is a search lens labled FILTER. Once you create the .DEB file just cut and paste it in the search box. Tadah, the printer prints.
I wasted about 8 hours between the install and searching out how to install the printer. That is the easy part. The real reason I thought about Linux is because I installed one of those cheap Chinese knock off security cameras with night vision, pan and tilt, zoom, motion detector, audio and a hand full of other features plus the absolute worst documentation in the world. Streaming security camera video on an already slow Windows 7 laptop really was grinding things to a halt.
ZoneMinder is a "free" linux supposed security camera program with Geek^3 documentation. There were so many alternates and alternate install procedures that I decided to print them out so I could make some sense of the mess. Oops, there started the printer challenge. Anywho, the LinuxMint 17.1 version happens to have a few unsupported files required for most the ZoneMinder install "recommendations". From the forum reviews of ZoneMinder I have seen, I may learn a few new cuss words before I get that up and running.
This post may seem a bit odd for a Climate Change related blog, but actually it is a perfect fit. The "key" for solving climate change as I read in one climate paper, is to decouple wealth from energy. These cheap Chinese knockoffs are in many cases fairly well made and close to dirt cheap because you are not paying the 150% to 250% mark up. 200% mark up as you know is 4 times real cost for the OEM aka intellectual property holder, which means way back when the warm and fuzzies were talking about the $100 laptop for the third world masses it already existed. Just get rid of Microsoft, Intel and big boxes and there you go, $35 for a tablet and around $99 for a laptop. We just start decoupling that wealth from the warm and fuzzies that have all these grand schemes to save the world and we will start making a dent in our carbon foot print. I have a couple of those $35 including shipping tablets on the way right now.
Alien, btw was written by Joel Hess and has some information on Wikipedia. Pay attention to the last bit, ".., and using install scripts automatically converted from an Alien format may break the system."
Break might be a bit harsh, but do try and be careful now, ya hear?