I am leading the OpenPrinting project
and with this I am responsible for the printing stack of Linux and generally all Posix-style operating systems.
On the Ubuntu Summit 2023 in Riga @Daniel_Schaefer from Framework has given a nice talk about Frameork’s repairable/upgradable laptops:
After the talk I had a nice hallway session with him where he has shown me the repairable laptops from Framework and how easy it is to (hot-)swap parts. Now I am looking into whether I continue with Thinkpad on my next laptop upgrade or switch to Framework …
During several chats on the conference weekend I came to an idea: Why could Framework not perhaps also make repairable printers and multi-function (printer/scanner) devices? And with free software as firmware, like some IoT Linux (Ubuntu Core?) and PAPPL (Printer APPlication Library, michaelrsweet/pappl on GitHub). The latter is not only for software-emulating IPP printers as replacement for printer drivers but also for running it as an actual (network and/or USB) printer’s firmware (for that it has a so-called USB gadget mode, to be a USB device and not a USB host).
The printer could be composed of modules like laser and inkjet print engines, paper trays, scanners, document feeders, finishers, … All compatible and exchangeable. Also it could have ink and toner tanks to be filled with supplies from bottles …
I love the idea. Especially if the repairable items list expanded to power supply, main board, WiFi module, Ethernet module, etc. In my current case I have a 7 year old brother laser that is preventing me from going to all WPA3 network, because the firmware and/or WiFi chip in it does not speak WPA3.
Economics make the printer space a difficult one to introduce a new, different, more complex, and by necessity slightly higher entry price point product. It would have to be paired with sufficient advertising, media coverage, etc to really sell the long term total cost to own advantage. Probably pretty easy for a professional IT department to do the cost analysis, effect the repairs, etc. A self managed small office, typical home office is certainly capable of the same but many will prefer to stay with commodity disposable hardware unfortunately.
But yes from an e-waste and TCO standpoint, I love the idea of a repairable, upgradable, open source, etc paper printer, whether Framework or some other company decides to make it.
It would be wonderful. However, it would be a pretty large new business segment. I’m not sure it would be wise Framework to do something like this just now. Printers are notoriously finicky and difficult to get right, as is evidenced by every printer on the market.
Still it would be awesome. Perhaps one day with fingers crossed.
Not sure if anything has changed since this reddit post:
And therefore HP advertises their printers as “Made to be less hated” … And a Framework printer would be a loved one …
I prefer my tech companies to concentrate on being really good at one thing than poor at everything.
Just look at HP…30 years ago…best printers! Then they bought out Compaq and decided to get into everything…now they are a mess at everything.
The insurance company I used to work for was considered the best in the country…then they decided 25 years ago to get into selling cars, white goods, all sorts of products, their main business withered and they found other companies were better than them at selling goods cos you know…we only did insurance for 200 years!
Diluting your business by expanding your range doesnt always work.