[Printing-architecture] Future of Printer Setup Tools

Till Kamppeter till.kamppeter at gmail.com
Tue Mar 2 22:52:00 UTC 2021

On 02/03/2021 13:04, Johannes Meixner wrote:
> Hello,
> thank you Till for your comprehensive and explanatory summary.
> It helps so much that you act as a kind of "moderator" who
> moves discussions forward in a positive and constructive way.
> On other mailing lists or forums I see it too often that long
> and elaborated discussions fade away in a vague pending state
> because there is nobody who acts as a moderator who summarizes
> current results so that all know what the current state is.

Thank you very much.

> my first offhanded thought when reading it was:
> Why having that functionality separated in a different tool
> and not in the normal printing (or scanning or faxing) dialog?
> I describe here only the printing case.
> What I have in mind is:
> The end-user sits in front of his current application program
> and now - all of a sudden - he wants to print from within
> his current application program so he opens its print dialog, cf.
> https://en.opensuse.org/Concepts_printing#User_expectations
> ------------------------------------------------------------------
> The usability experts Peter Sikking and Jan Mühlig did some
> research with real average users. Peter Sikking wrote at
> http://www.mmiworks.net/eng/publications/labels/openPrinting.html
> ...
> 1st rule of printing: printing does not exist
> ...
> for users there is no worthwhile, productive activity
> between the moment they want to see something printed and
> the moment it comes out of the printer
> ...
> And guess what: there is no such thing as printing.
> It does not exist as a task, as a meaningful activity.
> One moment you decide to see it on paper,
> the next it rolls out of the printer.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------
> In a proper IPP Everywhere environment all he needs to print
> is "magically" already there so he can "just print".
> But if not things go wrong for the end-user because he does
> not see the needed "buttons" to set up legacy (USB) printers
> or to establish access to DNSSD-announced network IPP printers
> in his normal print dialog.
> So I think printer setup things should be integrated
> into the normal print dialog.
> If printer setup can be done as normal user all is fine.
> If printer setup requires 'root' permissions an appropriate
> authentication dialog should pop up. If the user does not know
> the root password he knows at least that he would have to contact
> an admin to get that task done.
> Of course I know that
> "there is no such thing as THE normal print dialog"
> but this could be another good reason why there should be
> one single common print dialog framework/backend
> that is used "under the hood" by the desktop toolkits
> and (free software) stand-alone applications.
> If printer setup functionality could be integrated,
> the Common Print Dialog Backends
> https://openprinting.github.io/projects/04-print-dialog/
> might be better re-named something like
> Common Print User Interface Backends (or Framework)

Good idea. I think the print dialogs of Mac OS X have this already, some 
button to open the window to add a new printer (part (2) from my 
suggested parts).

The biggest problem here is to get the GUI toolkit projects to implement 
that, or to find contributors to do so.


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