Got starhub to come fix a cable modem and SCV today. Tried to turn my old computer into a server for the Canon Pixar MP150 Printer+Scanner afterwards. Had originally tried to install a genuine version of Windows XP on it, but could not find the product license keyr anywhere. I had another pirated WinXP cd with me, which I had the product license key for, but there was a problem trying to reinstall it with the original version half installed.
So I decided to download Ubuntu to deface the hard disc so that Windows would initiate the installation at the beginning when I popped the pirated WinXP cd in, but the installation was so quick that before I had the chance to be satisfied that the hard disc had been sufficiently defaced, the Ubuntu installation was already complete.
So decided to explore if Ubuntu would be able to fulfil the functions I had intended Windows to do… it turned out that it more than exceeded the expectations!
Firstly, setting up the printer was a breeze. A couple of intuitive clicks (which I have now forgotten), and out popped a test page from the printer.
Next, I googled about linking the printer to a network, and found this page which immidiately made my printer available to serve requests over the network. Setting it up on my windows laptop was as easy as following the instructions further down the page, with the following characters respectively swapped
local IP of computer connected to the printer
name assigned to printer when setting it up
Pleased at the ease with which the task had been achieved, I thought it would be a waste if did all these, but could not be set up to utilise the scaner. If that had failed, I would have to make the very difficult decision of either reinstalling windows or sticking with ubuntu. but to my immense delight, a quick google yielded simple instructions for the scanner which worked without a hitch!
So the verdict is: ubuntu won hands down! To think I actually spent hours trying to figure out if there was a way to find the WinXP license key on the disc itself, and even wrote to Microsoft Support to ask if they provided a solution to such problems.
Now I can even think of how I would like to make the disc space on this computer accessible from other computers, and think of setting up a (semi)permanent web/email server. And btw, the server for sharing printers over a network is called CUPS (C Unix Printing System).
Also, this is a far cry from my earlier experience with printing on linux… looks like things have come a long way since then… dunno who to cheer, but the community sure deserves a pat on the back! And I’m happily reaping in the fruits. :D