Epson Stylus C90 with CISS modification

Update: I withdraw my recommendations for CISS on Epson printers. And on Epson inkjet printers altogether.

In need of a color printer, I settled on the relatively inexpensive Epson Stylus C90 a couple of months ago. The C90 is a staple among computer retailers, and has been so since a year ago. I had my eye on it for a long time but held off a purchase because of some glitches with Ubuntu 7.04. However, unable to hold off my needs, I finally had to risk it and get one from my next-door neighbor Electroworld.

Surprise, surprise! It works well enough with Ubuntu 7.10!

As you can see from the picture above, I've already had it converted with the Continuous Ink Supply System. It has always been my intention to do so, and I only waited to finish off the supplied cartridges before going with the conversion. Just got it back from the shop yesterday, and no problems so far. Sweet!

Now, a few words about the Epson Stylus C90 and Linux:

If you have a hard time looking it up under its designation, its because "C90" seems to be a unique code for the Philippines and a smattering of countries. Elsewhere, it's known as the Epson Stylus D92. Go figure.

As I said, it works relatively well with Gutsy Gibbon. I won't go so far as to say it's perfect. First of all, Epson does not provide any native Linux drivers for the C90/D92; however, the Stylus C68 Gutenprint driver that ships with Ubuntu works well enough. The alignment between what you see onscreen and what actually comes out, down to the borders is perfect; the color output is quite faithful.

What you don't get in Linux that you otherwise get under Windows and Mac is the printer support software. This is the utility that's supposed to tell you how much ink is left in your cartridges, and when it's time for a replacement. However, since, I'm using CISS, that's not an issue at all.

And most important of all: since I bought this printer for the purpose of printing pictures (on glossy photo paper and on iron-on paper), I've found that the most effective application to print photos with is Eye of Gnome. No problem as this is the default image viewer in Ubuntu. However, do keep this in mind as I've had less than stellar results printing from The GIMP and from gthumb.

Another upside: printing from and Abiword has not been a problem.

More thoughts on selecting a conversion shop and CISS care tips in the next post.