Linux Hardware Support? Much improved!

I bought my brother an hp printer/copier/fax for xmas (from newegg.com for $39, shipped; stupid Shell Shocker deals.)  Between the time I bought the unit and when he got around to unboxing, I also cut his machine over from windows XP (which was beyond hosed with spyware) to Ubuntu.  For my brother’s general web browsing needs, its seems to be working fairly well (except for a couple of media playing issues.)

I drove out to Utica one night expecting some problems trying to get the printer to work with Ubuntu.  After searching for the model number for the unit in the Synaptic Package Manager and not finding anything, I was pretty sure I was in a for world of hurt.

So, I said what the hell, lets just plug it in and see was happens.  My jaw pretty much hit the floor when about 10 seconds later, a little notification flew out that said it found the new printer, installed the appropriate driver, and was ready to print.  Shocked and in disbelief, I printed a random webpage and sure enough everything worked fine.  Sweet.

Pushing my luck, I said lets play around with the new Kodak digital camera that I got him for his birthday.  So, we snapped a few pictures, installed Picasa and plugged in the camera.  Unfortunately, we weren’t as lucky.  The pc and Picasa seem to see the camera, but it can’t seem to get to the pictures on the camera.  But, I’m not sure its an Ubuntu related problem.  We were trying to get pictures off the camera’s internal memory (rather an a memory card) and my other brother who has a very similar camera says he wasn’t successful at getting pictures out of internal camera memory either (on Windows XP.)

I’ll update this post when I hear back from my brother after he gets the SD card I sent him a few days ago.  If downloading through the camera ends up not panning out, the cheap and easy work around will be to just buy an SD card reader.  I’m pretty sure that’ll work with minimal hassle.  The built in SD card reader in Sandy’s laptop works just fine in Ubuntu.

All in all, I think that Ubuntu is becoming more and more a realistic choice for the general computing public.  The few family members I’ve cut over to Ubuntu appreciate that its significantly faster on their older hardware and like not having to spend all the effort and funds to keep spyware and antivirus stuff continually up to date.

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