[cups.development] Canon UFR-II drivers

Markus Wanner markus at bluegap.ch
Tue Dec 7 00:25:43 PST 2010


(I hope to post to the correct mailing list, took me quite a while to
figure out where to subscribe. It's well hidden behind a
less-than-user-friendly forum webinterface...)

> As the CUPS libraries are LGPL2, they are permitted to distribute =
> binary-only drivers.

Oh, that's good to know. I'm wondering why Canon (partly) uses GPL2 at
all, then.

> However, if the vendor is supplying source under the GPL with a required =
> binary module that is not part of the OS, that actually *does* violate =
> the license they have chosen for their drivers, however they can also =
> include an exception in their copy of the GPL (like we do for certain =
> things in CUPS) to specifically allow it for their driver.

I'm not quite clear on what license applies to what parts of their
source code. They request you to agree to multiple licenses [1], some of
them seem a lot more restrictive than GPL is. However, GPL (v2) is also
quoted. (I didn't check for modifications, though). But I guess it's up
to Canon to answer these questions.

However, their driver sucks on pretty much anything except x86 on rpm.
For amd64 on .deb you already need to tweak the packaging. I didn't
succeed with compiling from source on amd64 (those parts that are
provided in source). On any other architecture, you are out of luck
anyway, because their binary only parts are missing.

The driver itself feels neither very stable nor efficient. I recall
having trouble printing large JPEGs with the driver hanging in what
looks like a converter process (pstoufr2cpca, IIRC).

That rant gotten out now, does anybody around here have a similar itch?
Anybody else up for checking whether or not an open source driver is
feasible to do or not? Or bug the Canon people enough to release their
binary parts as open source? [2]


Markus Wanner

[1]: Australian Canno Support Site with the UFR-II download:
(Also note that the site claims: "Canon Driver Downloads is for the
support of Canon Products SOLD IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND ONLY." I'm
only wondering why the drivers are then available in an UK and as US
version... Maybe they mix Letter and A4 down under?)

[2]: Although that might be counter-productive in case Canon decides to
simply retract the GPL and release binary-only in the future. Which is
fine with CUPS, as Michael pointed out.

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