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I agree completely. I set up a relative with Linux Mint KDE 17.3 a couple weeks ago and even I was surprised at how easy it was to set up the two printers he wanted to use: one was an old 2003-vintage LaserJet 1012 personal-sized laser printer with USB, the other a newer (I'm guessing 4yo) HP color inkjet of some kind that was WiFi-connected. For the first, I just plugged in the USB cable and a print queue was immediately and automatically set up; I didn't have to do anything. For the latter, I just went into the printer configuration utility, let it search the network, it found the printer and told me its model name/number, then I selected the appropriate driver and printed a test page. No driver downloads, no problems.

By contrast, I had a contract job a year or so ago at a large company where I was given a Win7 laptop and tried to connect to a big Ricoh laser printer. I spent hours messing around with driver downloads trying to get that to work. I finally had to call IT and they sent someone over, and he couldn't get it to work either; he finally found some crazy work-around which I've totally forgotten the details of now.

The only real problem I see with printing on Linux now is that, sometimes, there's multiple CUPS drivers for the same printer (foomatic, hpijs, Postscript, etc.), so it won't automatically pick one and it's not clear which is the best so you might have to just try one and see if it works. Most likely, they all work, but some might have additional features. HP printers are probably the best, though, since they seem to explicitly support Linux (such as with their hpijs drivers). If all printer makers had this level of support, and they cleaned up the redundant/competing drivers, there wouldn't be complaints.

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