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Printing

A century ago, printing under Linux had only one name: Postscript. Preferably spoken natively by the printer. Which, in most cases, was a laser printer from Hewlett Packard with a price tag well above $2000. Color laser printers became available in the mid 90s, but it was not until 2005 that I've seen them to represent the standard printing solution in offices.

At home, laser printers are still comparatively rare. Inkjets dominate the scene for several reasons: they are (at the first glance) very affordable, they can produce printouts of photographs with astonishingly high fidelity, and they are available as multifunctional all-in-one solutions combining printer, scanner, fax and copier.

I followed this trend without reflecting on my actual needs. Since I thought (wrongly) that I anyway don't need any printing at home, I purchased a GDI printer and connected it via USB to the Windows-powered gaming rig of my wife. The first one, a simple Canon inkjet, which ceased to function after an extended period of inactivity because of the resulting dry ink, was followed by an Epson all-in-one, which did its job until the ink was dry. We simply don't print that much.

I was tired of these toys anyway, since I began to see the convenience of printing from all my devices anywhere in the LAN. A week ago, I've thus acquired a Hewlett Packard LaserJet Pro 200. It speaks Postscript, has an ethernet connection and 128 MB memory, resolves 600 dpi and turns out 14 pages per minute. For €140.

I knew, of course, that these low-end business-class color lasers have become quite affordable over the past few years. To see one in action, and to see with your own eyes that the print quality is quite on par with the enterprise-class model from 2010 in the office, well, that's different. At present, I cannot deny an entirely unjustified feeling of grandness when issuing Ctrl-P . ;)

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