I first tried using a Linux distro when the old Mandrake Linux was around. I quote liked it, and could see its potential. Designers of Linux distros then (about 2004) were already thinking about making their distros as easy to use as Windows.
But one factor alone made me not want to make the distro a permanent feature. It was the extreme difficulty of getting the CUPS system to work to link to printers.
Roll on a few years, to the launch of Ubuntu. I was enthusiastic about this. I even used it regularly on a little Netbook. Netbooks running Windows were useless, but a netbook flavor of Ubuntu made it sing, so that I could even run all my presentations from the little device, which I did from about 2009 – 2011. But one factor alone made me not want to make the distro a permanent feature. It was the extreme difficulty of getting the CUPS system to work to link to printers. In the years following, I occasionally looked at Linux Mint and Linux MX, but wasn't impressed.
So, this last week, I wanted to get an old laptop up and running again (the ability to work well on computers, too old to run Windows, has always been a great feature of Linux). I decided to look again at Ubuntu, and downloaded version 17.10.
I can confirm that it was easy to install. As expected, LibreOffice and Firefox were installed by default, and worked well. Then, I installed Scribus and GIMP. But was it going to be able to cope with printers?
I opened up the settings, and typed in printers. To my delight, a special dialog opened, with an option to select Network Printers. I have 3 printers on the network – a Brother monochrome workhorse, a Samsung color laser, and a canon color inkjet, for printing labels that get stuck in the Samsung.
I can therefore report that we now have a Linux distro as easy to use as Windows.
It quickly recognized the printers. For the Canon and Brother, it simply found the drivers online and installed them. The Samsung was a little more difficult – I had to download the package, and extract it. But then it did the job!
I can therefore report that we now have a Linux distro as easy to use as Windows. With the increased availability of new software, it might be possible for me to switch completely to Linux now – Ubuntu, of course!