Saturday, November 15, 2008

Answering a Patent Lawyer

There is an interesting article/thread on Groklaw on software patents. Those interested should check it out here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

HP LaserJet M2727nf

Been a long time since I posted something. We had a HP 1020 Laser printer, but considering the fact that we print a lot in our lab, the limited capacity of its cartridge increased our printing costs. Moreover we tend to print duplex, hence printing would consume a lot of time. On top of it, any mistake in manual duplexing would cause us to lose paper, time and toner. So finally we settled in for the HP LaserJet M2727nf the successor to the HP Laserjet 3390. The only drawback was the lack of scanning support in Linux unlike the 3390. But hoping that sooner or later hplip would include support for it, we ended up buying it. For scanning we would use Windows XP running under VirtualBox. The only problem we discovered (after buying it of course) was that although it supported duplex printing and copying, it would not support duplex scanning. The ADF does indeed do duplex while copying. It was therefore surprising that duplex scanning was not supported. It did not seem logical at all. Moreover this is not documented at all in the specifications. Any sane mind would think duplex scanning is supported as well.

Some days back I decided to upgrade my laptop's HDD to something more than the 120GB I had. So after installing Ubuntu 8.10, I just decided to check for the latest version of hplip. (Ubuntu came with 2.8.7). I was presently suprised to find in the release notes of hplip 2.8.10 that scanning was (finally) supported in Linux (through a plugin). So downloaded it immediately and installed it. Was also suprised to find that scanning in Linux was much faster than it was on Windows XP through the network interface.

While going through the Ubuntu repository, (which I generally mirror on one of the lab systems) I discovered gscan2pdf, and application that scans documents to PDF. There was also a Duplex option listed along with Flatbed and ADF. Not expecting it to work, I just tried scanning with the scan mode set to Duplex. Well did it work? ...

... Actually it did. I was able to scan both sides of the sheet. Looks like SANE really brings some sanity to scanning. Considering the fact that I recommended this printer, that scanning and that too Duplex scanning works sort of gives me (finally) some (more) bragging rights.

Update: It seems xsane also lists the Duplex option, but I somehow missed it.