KDE printing disasters

Anne Wilson cannewilson at googlemail.com
Sat Oct 25 12:22:04 BST 2008

On Wednesday 15 October 2008 21:17:46 John Layt wrote:
> Hi Anne,
> Sorry for the late reply, but I've been away on holiday.
And by this time I was away on holiday, too :-)

> The print dialog is no longer provided by KDE and kprinter is no more :-(,
> instead we use the Qt print dialog.  

I like some of the ideas in the new dialog, but I'm sad to see the baby going 
out with the bathwater.

> This gives us cross-platform printing,
> but means we are restricted to the features provided by Qt.  So any bug
> reports (if you are sure they are not app, distro or CUPS related) or
> feature requests need to go to the Qt bug tracker rather than b.k.o.
I'll bear that in mind, thanks

> One such missing feature is KDE no longer automatically saves the last used
> printer settings for each application, it is now up to each app to save and
> restore the settings, so needless to say I know of no KDE apps that do so
> as yet (I'm planning a way of making this easier to do inside KDE, but I'll
> also add it to my list of features to request from Qt).  Also, if the app
> keeps the same QPrinter instance to use each time the dialog is called,
> then the settings will persist so long as the app is running, but again
> most apps don't do this either.
Considering how important printing is to us, it does seem surprising that 
there is no concensus about what makes for ease of use.

> There's two lots of settings, the CUPS settings and the application
> settings. The stuff in the Properties/Advanced dialog are the CUPS settings
> and it picks up whatever the defaults are in CUPS for the currently
> selected printer instance.  All the other settings in the main dialog and
> the Properties/Page dialog are the sole responsibility of the app to set up
> each time.
> As for brochure printing, there's no hope for that at the moment as Qt
> doesn't appear keen on implementing post-filtering like kprinter did 

Hmm - lack of brochure printing is a serious problem.  Enough to send some 
people scuttling back to M$Office :-(

> and
> there's no clever hack I can do to make it happen either.  My personal
> opinion is that this should be a feature provided by CUPS like n-up after
> the app has created the print file.
> If you're looking for an easy way to 'persist' a set of CUPS settings for
> an app or across all apps, I create multiple Instances within CUPS for my
> printer with different sets of default settings, so I have one instance for
> 'A4 Draft Grayscale' for most printing and another for '6x4 Colour Photo'
> to print on the photo paper in the photo tray, etc.  Then it's just a case
> of selecting which printer Instance to print to in the dialog, no need to
> mess with that awful Qt Properties/Advanced dialog.
I've done that in the past, and may do so again.  It just feels like a work-
around, clumsy.  I really don't mind the new dialog so much, but I don't want 
to have to do that every time I print.  It does sound as though there are some 
real difficulties here.  Has anyone ever done in-depth study comparing 
persistent defaults with individual applications saving defaults?  It sounds 
to me as though it's a real usability issue.

> I'm not sure if you resolved your issues, but it does sound like an issue
> between Qt and CUPS.  Have you tried printing using a 'pure' Qt app like Qt
> Assistant to see if it also has a problem?
I'll look into that, once I've caught up.

Thanks for the explanations.

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