[Printing-architecture] Debian dropping the Linux Standard Base - Better way to supply distribution-independent printer driver packages?
till.kamppeter at gmail.com
Wed Feb 3 21:50:05 UTC 2016
after looking through participants and achievements of the first
OpenPrinting Summit in spring 2006 in Atlanta I got in contact with Mats
Wichmann about the LSB and ended up googling and found this one:
An article at LWN about Debian having decided to quit the LSB.
The LSB was created to allow software vendors to make
distribution-independent binary software packages, based on the
resources which the distributions have in common. It got a huge, awkward
collection of libraries, functions, commands, and interfaces about which
the upstream developers of the LSB have found out that the major Linux
distributions for corporate users provide them and there are actually
very few software vendors actually making use of it, leading to the fact
that no one actually wants to invest time in the LSB.
Several years ago I was seeing an opportunity in the LSB to make
distribution-independent binary driver packages and I wrote up design
guidelines and packaging instructions for manufacturers, created a
mechanism for looking up such packages by querying the printer's
IEEE-1284 device ID on the OpenPrinting database and automatically
downloading and installing the packages with system-config-printer. All
this I also presented on several OpenPrinting Summits and Epson actually
put up such packages, but no one else. OpenPrinting (and Epson) got one
of the few users of the LSB that way.
The dropping of the LSB by Debian was leading to the auto-download of
LSB-based packages to break in Ubuntu (which syncs the LSB packages of
IPP Everywhere will soon be formally approved by the PWG (Printing
Working Group) and so we will have an open standard for driver-less
printing, but this does not necessarily mean that in a few months all
printers sold are IPP-Everywhere printers and there are still lots of
So printer drivers are still needed and therefore we need a way to
package and distribute them, ideally so that they work correctly on all
currently available Linux distributions. It would be great if one could
do so without needing the awkward ballast of the LSB. What about static
or semi-static linking? Restricting interfaces as much as possible, only
allowing CUPS-Raster-based rasterto... filters for raster-based
printing, allowing backends for awkward communication protocols,
allowing PostScript, PCL, PDF only with the filters of the cups-filters
package, ... Working without the LSB could perhaps also simplify things
and make more manufacturers doing distribution-independent packages.
Should we discuss possibilities here on the list? Or on the Summit?
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