Waaay too close to home.
Simon missed the grand-spawn of Codethulu epic wretchedness that are printer drivers. They are more picky and recalcitrant than a bad date and require an impossibly delicate balance of printer firmware revision (126.96.36.199.r1), server operating system (Win2k3 r2, 32bit, must be connected to a domain controller), and possibly celestial alignment ("The house of Mars is in the ascension, and the Jovian meridian lies within the 7th cusp. You may run the installer now.").
It's like the electronic equivalent of those seemingly impossible, gravity-defying acts that Shaolin monks perform. The drivers will suffer naught but the most wizened and skilled grey bearded guru to successfully change their configurations. Only they know the secret lore, and have the strength of mind and clarity of soul to bend the rebellious drivers to their will. Those of us who have yet to attain this near-mythical apotheosis must struggle through the trackless fens of labyrinthine download sites, hidden options, incompatible/conflicting options, broken UI, and abysmal UX like a modern day Sisyphius.
- Want to use PostScript? Make sure you have firmware version 188.8.131.52 flashed on your controller and you use the 32 bit version of the driver. Otherwise you will not be able to call trays 1 and 3 and your media types will be limited to "vellum" and "waxed crepe paper".
- Want a newer driver that was written sometime this decade for an OS later than Windows 2K? Or even *gasp* a 64 bit version? Sorry! No can do! (Our last intern who wrote the drivers just graduated from community college.)
- Want to use PCL? Hope you have a Fiery controller with version 184.108.40.206-99h installed, otherwise the UEL will reset the printer to its default, factory state! Regardless of what you do, the driver will always rasterize every page and rip it as uncompressed bitmap scanlines or as a long sequence of HP-GL drawing commands, whichever results in the greatest file size.
- Linux? Sure we have a fully compatible, full featured driver for Linux. You'll have to compile it yourself using headers, libraries and compiler that we provide gratis. (By the way the code was written for System z9 and is in EBCDIC...)
I swear, given all the hassle and difficulties our company and our clients have faced with printers of all stripes, I could burn the regional distribution centre and head quarters of a certain printer manufacturer and not a jury in the world would convict me.
"Mister Ammabamma, the you stand accused of 37 counts of assault and battery with a printer fusing unit, 2 counts of grand theft auto, and 11 counts of arson. Do you have anything to say in your defence?"
"Yes your honour. Let it be known to the court that my accusers, Ute Osser, and Hugh Anchor, are service technicians for RICOH, the vehicles I stole and torched were their delivery vans, and the office park I set alight was RICOH's regional distribution centre and headquarters."
I'm going to go and relax with a nice pint or 7 of IPA before I give myself an aneurysm.