The process of moving countries appears to involve a lot of paper. The intended workflow is that you download a file, you print it out, you scribble on it, you scan it back in. It’s a bit ridiculous.
The main obstacle to this is that I didn’t have a printer, or a scanner. I’ve resisted having one for a long time: I just don’t need to print much, and printers have a tendency to break if you don’t use them for extended periods of time. Also, printing under Linux has a tendency to be… variable.
But this seemed to have become a necessity, and I figured worst case scenario I can just buy the printer then gift or sell it on after I’m done with it. If I can’t get it working on Linux I do have a Windows machine (it’s intended purely for games).
So, I gave in and bought one, the Epson XP-312.
The verdict? Actually surprisingly good. Admittedly given how bad I was expecting it to be, not being eaten by sharks is a surprisingly good outcome.
Getting the printer on the WiFi was a complete pain. On setting up it basically says “Here are 5 SSIDS. Want one of them?” (These were not the 5 strongest. It was sitting literally right next to my router when I did this). If those are not the ones you want, you have to manually enter the entire SSID one character at a time selecting the character by pressing up and down on the controls. It took a while. Once I’d done that though it did manage to connect just fine.
I solved the problem of printers not working well with Linux by just not using either of my laptops and doing virtually everything via my phone.
The printer supports Google cloud printing natively, which works rather nicely. There was some WTF about the complete lack of integration between drive/docs and cloud print on the web (it works fine on android), but it wasn’t too much of an issue.
Scanning was a little more challenging. There’s Google cloud printing but they don’t support the dual operation of scanning. So it was either figure out how to get my scanner working under Linux (nooooo. Also this would have required me to use the shit kind of USB cable that no one ever wants and only printers think is a good idea which naturally I don’t have and they don’t include) or installing the software they provide under windows (noooooo).
But then I spotted the existence of Epson’s cloud services which claim to support scanning. On “select printers”. Apparently mine is not one of the select printers, but I only found this out after installing the cloud services. Well… I guess now I have two ways to print from the internet? Yay?
So, that plan failed, I noticed that there’s an android app for Epson printers. Called “iPrint”. Amusing misbranding but whatever.
And… you know, it works pretty well. Using my phone I can activate the scanner, get the scanned file on my phone and upload that to Google drive. The UI is like something out of the 90s, but it works remarkably well despite that. It isn’t using the cloud services either – it just detects it on the local network and connects to the printer directly.
So… printers are still a bit clumsy, but it seems to be possible to bypass CUPS these days, at least for this particular model. All told it could have been a lot worse.