November 20, 2005

Bonjour is magic!

A while ago we picked up a Brother 5440CN (printer/fax/scanner) for Barb's tutoring business. I didn't do much research beforehand, but it had a $30 rebate! And last week my trusty Okidata laser printer died so it was time to see how difficult it would be to hook up the Brother to the network.

It has both ethernet and USB interfaces, so I plugged it into the router and followed the instructions for Windows. Followed the directions and while there was no autodiscovery it was pretty easy.

Later, Barb wanted to print from my Powerbook and I figured if XP could hook into it, surely OS X could. So I fired up the printer configuration screen and clicked add, figuring I'd have to plugin the IP address.

But it just showed up! I didn't know the printer came with Bonjour (aka Rendezvous, aka Zeroconf). I still had to grab the driver from the Brother website but it just worked.

BTW, why is it that printers need new drivers? Don't we know enough about printing technology by this point to make a handful of driver classes per manufacturer and allow the printer to advertise itself as belonging to one of them?

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