Things wrong with HPLIP’s systray applet

I’m not even sure where to start. In HPLIP-2.8.5 there is a new ‘hp-systray’ program which is meant to be started at login.

Its purpose is to ask the user for a fax number when it receives a D-Bus signal from the hpfax backend. That’s all — so why does it sit there with a big fat ‘HP’ logo all the time? Unlike Windows, our notification area is not an advertising board.

Not that the logo is even in the notification area. Instead, it gets placed like a window, just anywhere there is space on your desktop. Nice.

That’s all disregarding the fact that none of this is any use at all if your fax queue resides on a networked CUPS server. It can send D-Bus signals if it likes, but they won’t be heard over the network.

7 Responses to “Things wrong with HPLIP’s systray applet”

  1. troll says:

    HP is known for notoriously bad software. At one point they bundled full-blown Apache tomcat with their Windows “drivers” for a few laser printer models. It installed automatically without asking the user, as a service running with SYSTEM rights. On top of that the version installed had already multiple known security vulnerabilities, and had the bad habit of dossing Windows NT domain controllers down.

    I seriously don’t think they will ever learn… That’s what you get for allowing pointy haired bosses to lead development while the developers are some underpaid interns that just passed Windows C#/.NET programming 101 at some local college, or “did some PHP for the local mom & pops shop” as their resumes likely say…

  2. jam says:

    I agree with you. It should not be that way.
    I have not seen it, can the user opt not to have that program loaded at all ?. It should be the default not to have it loaded, in which case it could open a window asking for the same information.

  3. tim says:

    No, I don’t think it can be opted out of (except to remove the package), although it will at least immediately exit if there are no HPLIP print/fax queues configured.

    For Fedora I think we’ll ship the hp-systray program but not the desktop launcher so that it won’t start automatically.

    I’ve been told the icon-as-window problem is avoided by running it with the −−qt4 option. *shrug*

  4. Kevin Kofler says:

    @tim: I agree that just not enabling hp-systray by default (by omitting the .desktop file) is probably the best solution for Fedora.

    That tool sounds like a well-meaning feature, but unfortunately with some fatal design flaws.

    @troll: While it’s obvious that hp-systray has design flaws which I’d consider showstoppers, I’d think twice before spitting on HPLIP if I were you. What other company develops GNU/Linux drivers for their printers and even multifunction devices (which is what this problem comes from in the first place, seeing that this tool interacts with hpfax) and releases them under a Free Software license, not as some binary blob?

  5. troll says:

    Oh, I didn’t say it shouldn’t be included. It’s better than nothing. I’d just rather block the systray icon ever from appearing via some mechanism.

  6. Strain says:

    Hello. If you want to stop the icon from loading, in ubuntu go to: /etc/xdg/autostart/ and mv or delete the hplip-systray.desktop file. That should stop it.

  7. Particlese says:

    Thanks for the tip, Strain!

    I was impressed by how effortless the printer installation was (I literally just plugged my printer in and did file>>print>>OK) and do find the applet useful, but I was disappointed by the persistence of the tray icon. It may be useful, but I rarely need it, so I don’t think it deserves a permanent place in my systray.