[Printing-architecture] Status and future of the Common Printing Dialog (CPD)

peter sikking peter at mmiworks.net
Tue Mar 29 18:41:02 UTC 2016

Richard Hughes wrote:

>> that maximum the desktop
>> environments would do for an infrastructure project (large
>> amount of abstract and complicated work that has to deal with
>> ‘everything for everyone’) like printing was to take delivery
>> of our design work and reference implementation.
> Do you have any references for this? I've been familiar with GTK and
> GNOME for a long time and I didn't see anything like this.

I have no paper trail at hand. I suspect more of it
will be in Till’s mail folders than mine.

and quite a bit was in personal contact.

but in the meanwhile, between these two posts of today I am
having vivid flashbacks of how this was not subtle at all.

I am reliving conversations with some of the man players
(Till, Jan, Lars, Kate) and everywhere this phrase ’they
just want us to send them the patches’ occurs.

>> I have already commented on the willingness to work on this
>> project. you have to think of assigning multiple people-years
>> of your very best interaction designers (not the average ones,
>> not the pixel-pushing designers) to do this.
> Right, but that's putting the cart before the horse. Who was the
> customer?

it was an evolving story:

the people of openUsability got, a little before my involvement,
basically begged by KDE to step in (KDE had no printing at all
then, thanks to one of those breaking-everything lib upgrades).

when I got involved a little later (lexington) it was some of
the printer manufacturers who absolutely wanted something done.
top quote: “this linux dialog situation is costing us a lot of money.”
(that must have been the GNOME one, that one worked at that time.)

we did not make up that printing needed a redesign, we were
just answering the cries for help.

later it was made really clear by the printer manufacturers
that software is for them nothing but a cost, and linux is a
2% market. OK, understand.

we then identified the corporations whose user base prints 100%
of the time on a linux desktop: the large linux distributions.
but they thought, just as everybody else: ‘infrastructure? the
government can pay for that.’

our work was then actually sponsored by a real government department
for a while. then they wanted to play this game of chicken too,
and decided, like everybody else, that the ‘linux government’
could pay for it. that one was found lacking.

> Spending
> several hundred thousands of dollars on design and implementation
> before identifying the revenue stream seems, well, naive.

we did not answer the calls for help to make money. I can now
identify that it was attractive to me for the ‘wide impact on
society’ factor, that drives me all these years.

if that impact could have been achieved, say at the end of 2009,
with the help of many enthusiastic (paid) collaborators, I would
have never thought about my firm’s work needing funding.

but help and enthusiasm does not come naturally to infrastructure.

and once we got less naive, we had to stop being naive.


        designs interaction for creatives +
        solutions with a wide impact on society

        teacher, mentor, author, lecturer

More information about the Printing-architecture mailing list