Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It All Works in Linux!

A Gawd Awful Picture, But It Doesn't Matter...

... because I scanned it using my Ubuntu Operating System!

Yes, my life is really that exciting. I reckon having a physical disability makes me accept that my activities have to be different than normal Canadians, who like to go outdoors hunting, or playing hockey. My thrills aren't nearly so physical - they simply can't be. But this is an accomplishment that make me feel smug. I got both my Epson V500 Scanner and Canon Pixma Pro-100 Printer to work under Linux. Now I don't need to re-boot to Windows-7 in order to scan or print. After being a long time Linux user, and seeing  the huge improvements that have come to this platform over the years, I always get a knot in my stomach whenever for various reasons I need to go to the utter bloated chaos that is Windows.

Linux always is under one huge disadvantage compared with Windows or Mac, and that is in the area of hardware support. Linux development is always focused on the "Core" of the system, not the peripherals. In actual fact, this is true of Windows also - Microsoft does nothing to develop the software necessary to make a Canon printer or an Epson Scanner work; but Canon and Epson, and every other hardware manufacturer do! They develop the "Drivers" and other (useless) peripheral software to run each and every device they make under both Windows and Mac, but very seldom Linux. Actually, Epson is one who does put some attention into developing Linux Drivers for their machinery, and that's what saved my bacon here. I simply didn't do enough exploring on the internet to find the three files needed for various versions of Linux to run the V500 Scanner, until today. They call it "iScan", and you need to look here and here to get the three files required. Once I had these downloaded and installed, which by the way is incredibly easy to do with Ubuntu, or any Debian based Linux, my Scanner began to make it's wonderful "whirring" sound as it came to life. The GUI Interface for the Driver is very similar to the one that comes with the machine for Windows, but it does things in a slightly different order, and also actually has more "goodies" in terms of manipulating the look of your final scan, which can mean less Post-Processing downstream.

Now, when it comes to the printer, things are a little different. Canon to the best of my knowledge, has never made Linux Drivers available for their products, and the Pro-100 is a relatively new product, being released just last year. So all Canon Printer Driver development for Linux is left to "the community", meaning the long-hired computer enthusiasts to whom us Linux lovers are forever grateful. The Printer Driver community is called the "CUPS" project, meaning "Common Unix Printer Software" or something like that. Typically, we have to wait patiently a couple of years for them to create new printer drivers; don't forget- these people work for no pay, and live off donations only. So, at first when I tried to install my Pro-100, I didn't have much hope I'd be able to find the right Driver under CUPS, at least not yet. But I did notice they have a Driver for it's immediate predecessor, the Pixma Pro-9000 Mk-II.

All I had to do was Google for a solution, which is how I discovered "Turbo-Print for Linux". They're a little different, in that although they're Linux, they don't work for nothing. They offer you a free 30 day trial, after which you can pay for the Print Driver. It will always be true that paid people work faster, and so, indeed, the Linux Driver for a Canon Pro-100 was added to their list in February of this year. I've downloaded the freebie, and I must say, it works incredibly well. As for paying them, there are two options - a "Pro", for around $35, and a "Studio" for around $75. I wouldn't mind paying the $35, just to be able to avoid going into Windows, but $75 is pretty close to what I saved on buying the printer in the first place, by asking the store to do a price match. You see, when I save money, I like to keep it just that way - "saved". So what's the difference? The Studio-package adds a CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) color space in addition to the usual RGB (Red, Green, Blue) standard. Fortunately, the 30 day freebie includes the CMYK option, to help you decide. I printed off two of the same picture, one with RGB and the other with CMYK. I can see very, VERY little difference - maybe a wee bit more shadow detail in the CMYK print, but not near enough to make me want it. However, the Studio version has something that I think I will be wanting in the future - the ability to add additional ICC color space profiles, which allow a printer to self-optimize for various brands of photo paper and canvas. Maybe if I'm going to use an odd-ball media, most likely a photo-canvas, for the odd time I'll be doing so, I can tolerate using Windows for that. Hmmm....

Why am I so hyped on Linux? Because once you discover how fast and smoothly it runs, without the constant churn that Windows does to your hard drive, and there is no constant interruptions when Windows demands that you re-boot right in the middle of you're doing something, not to mention that Linux is virus proof and utterly secure by nature, there's just no going back. 

In summary, my film scanning workflow can all be done with these Linux applications from beginning to end now: 1) iScan, 2) the Linux File System, 3)GIMP and / or Photivo, and 4) Turbo Print. I love it when things get simple!

Don't forget to look at my Print Catalogue. You can reach me by email at average_saxon@hotmail.com

7 comments:

  1. I'm no programmer.... But if CAnon software (Digital Photo Professional) or even if there was something similar that worked with Linux.... I love GIMP and use ii religiously. But, last time I checked there was no simple way to process and organize RAW images on Linux.

    Linux would be my OS of choice if it worked better for Digital photographers.

    Linux has come leaps and bounds in the past few years... But the support for software and peripherals just isn't quite there yet. :(

    --- Mark ---

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  2. Actually Mark, this might be your day! There are two truly great programs (IMHO) for RAW in Linux. One is RawTherapee, which is great for Batch organizing and converting RAW to whatever you want, with some editing capability. The second one is for ultimate 16-bit depth editing on a single RAW file - one at a time, called Photivo. Between these two and GIMP 2.8 with the G'Mic Plug-in, it is definitely all you'll ever need. There's also rumours that GIMP with 16+ bit-depth is right around the corner.

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  3. Dave,
    Thanks for the post. I was considering moving back to Linux for one of my laptops but the Canon Pixma Pro-10 support was a concern. Think I'll give it a go and see what happens with the printing support.

    Additionally, I know I'm a year late to the game, but with Linux (and on a few of my Macs) I use Darktable for photo organization, editing, etc. It's still not as nice as LR for organization, but it's free.

    Though LR5 has a gold rating with Wine currently...

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  4. Unfortunately, LR5 has gone into the "clouds". If you are willing to pay a monthly or an annual subscription. Go ahead, it may be your way of spending money on something that you have already paid for.

    For Linux fans there is a very good alternative to that: Darktable. In certain aspects it is better than LR, for example the equileze module and path editing. However, the GUI is quite clunky and requires a steep learning curve. To their credit there are good user manuals and video tutorials that can teach you various tricks and get you up to speed. There is no way back to LR for me. It was good as long as it lasted. Bye LR!

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  5. I'm a professional photographer who hates Windows, loves Linux and used to love LR. Then I discovered Darktable. It's brilliant! There are a couple of things that LR does better, but generally you can work round them and there are many things that Darktable does better. So I've dumped LR and Windows. Joy!! I also use Turboprint with my Canon Pro-10. Excellent.

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  6. I have FujiFilm X-T1 which has a non-standard RAW format, not supported by gimp or any RAW file comverters I've tried.. I found Lightzone, a photo editor works great, ant its free you just have to redgister. I also have a Canon Pro-100 and up till now I was going to go back to Windows just to get the Canon to print. I dislike Windows it is way slow and getting it to see my NAS on re-boot is a pain. So, thanksfor the above info!

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