Magazines and Web Sites that review printers should make special note of which brands supply updated drivers. It's a terrible waste to have to chuck a perfectly functional printer just because you have updated your operatign system. Manufacturers who cause this should lose business.
I first experienced a variant of the problem years ago. My first laser printer was a NEC SuperScript 1260 that printed at 600x600 resolution, at a much better price point than anything else out there at that time. But, when Windows XP came out, NEC wouldn't release a driver for the printer, and you had to use the default windows driver, which limited the printer to 300x300. Somehow the old Win 9x driver did some magic to get the 600x600 resolution.
I also got bit again a few years ago for not doing my homework. I bought a new USB 2.0 flatbed scanner from Canon (CanoScan 4400F) and didn't check if it was compatitable with Linux. I hadn't had a problem with anything else not being supported under Linux but you guessed it; the chipset on the 4400F had no support (and still doesn't) under Linux. Oh well, the machine is still dual-boot, so I could use the scanner, but I primarily run Linux, so that was annoying.
Similar thing happened to me when I upgraded to Windows Vista. Our perfectly good Lexmark printer did not have a Vista driver at the time and I had to buy a completely new laseret printer. Word to the wise... when upgrading your operating system, check on driver compatibility for your existing printer.
I have an old printer that worked beautifully for many years. But when I changed from a Windows XP machine to Windows 7, a new printer driver available on the web didn't work. When that happens, it seems like there's not much you can do. I went to user forums and found that many users had the same problem, but no one seemed to have a solution.
It is officially an anti-counterfitting measure, and a real life example of steganography. They use a pattern of single yellow (usually) dots scattered across the page, to encode the printers serial number. The idea is that if you run off your own batch of $20's, they will be able to prove that they were made by the specific printer they siezed from your spare bedroom.
I don't know if this is a requirement for sale these days, or voluntary action by the printer makers.
Oh yea, about that ancient printer -- don't forget hardware obsolescence - I haven't had a native parallel port for more than a decade, and of the last three, none have had a native serial port (one did provide one on its docking station). Yea, I know about USB adapters, but they don't work with things like a proprietary machine control system, that wants actual bits to twiddle.
Printer was and will be always a hot product to sell all along. Now as for the question of who emerges as the king wholeheartedly depends upon the user and its requirements. Still, if laser printers can be cheap then nothing will be able to beat it. http://www.surfschool.net
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