By the time you read this my 30-day free trial of TurboPrint will have expired. What’s that, you say? They charge for Linux software now? Actually, makers of free software have always been able to do that. And without TurboPrint my aging Canon MP130 all-in-one would be nothing but a doorstop with a sheet feeder.
I need to make it clear that this is not a failure of the Linux OS, but rather a demonstration of the circle of shit that gives it such a bad rap. It goes something like this: Someone decides to put Linux on their antiquated computer, and when the WiFi/video card/whatever doesn’t work they blame Linux and never come back. A different variation is at work here — my multifunction printer is five years old (at least) so, big surprise, Canon has never released Linux drivers for it.
I spent the better part of a day hunting down kludges before finally giving up and installing TurboPrint. As you can see above it works as advertised, though there’s no support for my MP130’s scanner and the bundled app for Linux Mint doesn’t recognize it. And I don’t think TurboPrint is covered by the GPL, but I don’t see how it could be — the only thing it could offer back to the community is the library of printer drivers that is its very raison d’être.
Still, I would consider paying for TurboPrint were it not so expensive — I can buy a replacement printer for its $40 USD sticker price, or double that and get a unit that can print over my network. In my limited research it seems that HP has the best Linux support, though Brother and Canon are also making Linux drivers available, at least for their newer models.
I’m also grateful that TurboPrint offers a fully functioning trial that gave my current printer a stay of execution while I was busy figuring out other things. If your printer is more expensive and you’ve no Linux support for it, TurboPrint might well be worth every penny.
So waddaya know? You can make money with Linux…