Canon Printer Software Problems

A fellow geek purchased a Canon printer recently and, much to his dismay, discovered that it was impossible to operate without first installing the required software. This is one of the reasons I’ve been extremely gunshy about recommending Canon’s consumer products as of late (I’ve about had it with their PowerShot digital camera series, too). He wondered if I had the same problem with a specific HP printer previously reviewed…

So I just stumbled on your review of the HP Photosmart C6380. It’s probably kind of old by now, but I have a question about the required software and drivers, and I think you might be the only reviewer out there who would be interested in listening.

Have you been able to install the C6380 without using the provided software CD? I recently got a Canon PIXMA MP620 which seems to be pretty much the same printer on paper (and I have to agree with you, wireless scanning is something I’ve waited way too long to get). But I was disappointed to find that I had to install a ton of software just to print. Scanning, I can understand the need for some software (although I hope there comes a time when it’s unnecessary), but printing should work right away. I used to have an HP Photosmart 2610 and all I had to do to add the printer to my system was type in the ip address in the “ipp” field. In fact, now that I think about it, I believe Bonjour found it even before I had the chance to think about typing it in.

A network printer is a great thing to have around, since anyone can use it anywhere in my apartment, even neighbors down the hall who need to print out an e-ticket quickly before going to the airport or train station, or a teammate who comes over to work on a project one afternoon and wants to print out a diagram or a proposal so we can draw on it and discuss it together. But if they have to install a bunch of software just to print one thing, it kind of negates that ease of use. Canon, unfortunately, only supports their proprietary “bjnp” protocol, which means there’s basically no way to use the printer without installing their software. Getting it to work on linux took me two hours of googling, downloading, configuring, rebooting, and trial and error. If the C6380 can at least print without installing a bunch of junk, I would immediately box this thing up and pay the difference to swap it for the HP. Have your tried to use it without the provided software, or do you know if it supports ipp or something similarly universal?

Thanks for your time, and for the great video reviews!

I could certainly use the printer outright – and yes, it was quite available on the network. Of course, it was good to have the software installed – but I didn’t feel I needed to in order to access basic printing functions. I’ll actually be doing a future comparison between that HP printer and a similar Kodak model (to test ink cost theories).