The big dive

Ok this is the big Question……

To be in Linux

or not to be?

that is the Question.

So this is my situation. I have a sign making industry that runs two main pieces of equipment.

  1. An Epson 7600 printer
  2. An Roland Camm-1 vinyl cuter
    These two pieces of equipment are designed for windows and the only one that works in linux, with my wisdom, is the Epson. The software that is needed to make the images that will be both printed and cut is the Adobe products, Illustrator mainly. Windows is needed, or so I think.

Now the way that Linux works with files is by far superior to Windows, and this I like. The way that it works with the Internet, and filing photos, is again far superior to windows. But the big down fall that I have is that running the printer and cutter is done best in windows. I do not have the knowledge to make the printer work the way that I need it to in Linux and if need be we can address this issue. I also do not have what it takes to make the windows software run in wine nor to have virtual box run right {at this point at all} to do what I need to do in Linux.

It seems that I have three options:

  1. Forget Linux and erase the dual boot that I have and surrender to MS’s high cost
  2. Trudge my way though the lack of knowledge that I have and learn the programming that I need to make the following work in Linux
    a. Roland cam 1
    b. Adobe Suite
    c. Microsoft office- mainly outlook
    d. Running and understanding CUPS Unix printing system
    e. Personal utilities like palm software for syncing files The Dataviz Suite
  3. Sending it to a professional that could make it work and have them send it back to me
    So witch big dive do I make?


The Epson will probably run fine under OpenSuse.

The vinyl cutter is another matter. You could email Roland asking for a linux driver, but don’t expect a useful answer.

Another approach is to get an old Windows box, and create a shared print queue folder on it for the cutter.

Then do your signs on your Linux box, using Inkscape, Karbon14, Scribus, OpenOffice Draw or whatever, save them (or convert them using ghostscript) as encapsulated postscript and drop them onto the print queue folder.

I used to do this all the time for Postscript RIPs (commercial printing and Graphic Design companies) and it works well. The trick is to find out what format the Roland supports - ie does it have its own Postscript RIP or does it use PCL etc.

oh…and most Palm OS devices are supported in KPilot (KDE) or the equivalent in Gnome, and of course there are lots of options in Linux for Office type applications (OpenOffice, KOffice, AbiWord …)

Yes I know of these software’s but they do not compare with the Adobe suite. If down grading is that the wise thing to do then so be it?

I have thought of having a print client that would serve the cutting jobs, and perhaps this needs more revisiting.

The open office suite is one of the best software that I have used and recommend it so I am acquainted with that as well. but the Palm software also has something left to be desired.

So in this case do I expel the time to switch over the software that I currently use to a different software and relearn?

  1. Forget Linux and erase the dual boot that I have and surrender to MS’s high cost
  2. Trudge my way though the lack of knowledge that I have and learn the programming that I need to make things work in Linux
  3. Sending it to a professional that could make it work and have them send it back to me

What would be wisdom and an effective use of my time as a novice at suse?

Cheers and thank you for your help,


Sounds like you really need two computers.

Windows computer:

Runs the Adobe software and drives the printer and sign cutter
Mounts a shared Samba filesystem from the Linux computer
Exports the printer to the Linux computer

Linux computer:

Runs Samba to export a share to to Windows
Prints to the Epson via printer sharing
For all your other work

So you can back up your work on Linux. Essentially the Windows computer is just to run Adobe and drive the devices.

It’s unsatisfactory to have to run two computers from the standpoint of capital and running costs, but sometimes this is more palatable than the hassle of trying to get it to all work under one OS, dual booting or virtualisation.

well the onething that I think that I would want to do is shair the files through an FTP shairing. SAMBA has glitches but FTP has been around since the 80’s and it is trided and true. the other reason that I wold lean to FTP is that it is not just subjected to the local net work.

we could have a file in the following directory

Also why not have the printing to the Epson done in linux? Then we could just use a smaller client for the windows need.

what are your thoughts about this?

one thing else that could be added is that I wanted to do a site like this Aucellus and run the Gallery software hosting the images that we have avalibele.

Samba works fine. It;s been hammered out over the last > 15 years. Search for “Samba history Linux”. Samba is used by big corporations like IBM (who sponsor some of Andrew Tridgell’s work) for corporate file sharing. In fact it’s often more reliable than MS’s file sharing implementation. Only if you have extreme requirements, like > 4GB files, would you encounter issues.

If you need to share beyond the LAN, I would use neither Samba nor FTP, which send data and passwords in plaintext over the WAN. I would look at sftp or scp, or perhaps a VPN.

If you can get printing to the Epson on Linux, well why not, go for it.

Shouldn’t be any problem running a webserver on Linux. Just make sure any PHP apps are patched and up to date. Holes in PHP software are notorious.

If I understand you correctly, you want to have an Internet facing web server, which also runs a photo-image database (MySQL?) on the same box as you’re using for creating signs and printing to the cutter?

I know it’s tempting to put lots of applications (and services) onto the one box, because it appears you’re geting more value for money from that box, but I really don’t recommend it.

My advice is to separate the services you need, and put them onto different boxes according to your priority. You reduce the impact on your business (ie spread the risk) of one of the services failing - or worse causing issues with another service.

Any old cheap Pentium II box will run Linux as a web (or file and print) server just fine (no need to install a desktop environment on it).

If there is no rush to change then what is wrong with where you are at the moment?

I would not erase your dual-boot set-up until you have a workable solution in place - ie don’t get rid of it until it is no longer being used. Even while you are testing the new set-up there may be times when you need to boot into Windows to get that “urgent” job done.


The last post was well put and I think that I have found the wisdom that I need to make the Dive. Thanks for all of your help.

Cheers and safe and clean surfing


I kinda chuckled when I read your original post. I’ve been there, several times in fact. I tried with SUSE 9.2, 10.3 and now with 11 and always had to give up and go back to getting out my work before I could work it all out. Now I’m retired and have more time to play, so I’ve been revisiting the very same issues you describe. Here’s what I’ve found out so far.

  1. the biggest hangup for me was the vinyl cutter. no luck there so far.
  2. Samba was a PITA at first, until I stopped thrashing around on my own and followed the excellent advice offered by Swerdna at Linux HOWTOs and Tutorials: Suse Linux 10.0, 10.1 openSUSE 10.2, 10.3, 11.0 Now I’m definitely a believer. Note: I didn’t have much luck 'til I stopped being creative and followed his suggestions EXACTLY.
  3. My most basic problem had been doing vector drawing in Linux. I tried all the software out there, but I held off on trying Inkscape for a long time. I’d read a few less than positive reviews. Then I tried it myself. It’s not perfect and could use a little fine tuning, but I quickly found it’s as good as Illustrator… better is some ways, not so good in others, on balance very good for vinyl, as most of my problems involved gradients failing to scale with the rest of the drawing, and that’s not an issue with vinyl.

Suggestion: By all means stay with dual boot or dual PCs to protect your productivity during the learning curve. (You’ll probably need to get into Windows from time to time to get jobs out quickly 'til you’re up to speed with anything new.)

I think you could set up a linux based system for most work and a windoze box just for cutting. That second system need not be fancy, I’ve run the Camm1 on win98 with a pentium2 and 256Mb RAM. It need only have a basic windoze OS, software to open an EPS file and a cutter driver.

I’ve never used WINE or VMware, but I intend to check them out soon to see if one of them would offer a better way to handle the cutting without the need for a second system.