HP has effectively blocked the use of third party ink cartridges

Live from Davos, it's shady business practices!

MajorLinux - Editor-in-chief

When I was in the market for printers, I was a heavier Linux user than I am today. So, I needed a brand that would work with Linux out of the box. That’s when I discovered that HP was like the ThinkPad of printers. When it came to Linux, all I needed to do was plug it in, add the printer and I was off to the races. I was able to go further by making it a network printer by installing CUPS. This allowed my wife to print from Windows with no issue.

However, as my Linux usage went down, and our need for a more all-in-one solution went up, we switched up and bought a Brother printer (my aunt bought it for me for taking her to get one). It did not live up to our standards, so we went back to HP. It was at this point, I discovered how shady HP was becoming. Now, as someone who’s gone mostly digital, I will never replace my printer with another HP.

HP and its shady ink practices

Outside of my issues with HP’s proprietary nonsense (Instant Ink), HP has pushed down an over-the-air (OTA) update for their line of printers. This update will brick your printer if it detects that a non-HP ink cartridge is being used.

HP has stated that this isn’t to designed to lock you into their expensive ink ecosystem, beit through a subscription or not. This measure is being taken to protect you from the many viruses you can catch that would be embedded in the ink cartridges.


In the above CNBC clip from Davos (hopefully, it starts at 162 seconds (2:42) in), HP CEO Enrique Lores is asked about the class action lawsuit brought against HP about third party cartridges. He initially states that its about protecting intellectual property (IP) before spouting the virus claims.

It can create issues [where] the printers stop working because the inks have not been designed to be used in our printers, to then create security issues. We have seen that you can embed viruses in the cartridges, and through the cartridge, go to the printer; from the printer, go to the network.”

HP CEO Enrique Lores

ArsTechnica asked a bunch of security experts how likely this could happen. They mentioned that the chances are so low, it would have to be a state-sponsored attack on specific individuals.

It is amazing how these companies will twist themselves into pretzels in order to make their anti-consumer moves make sense. It’s even worse when you are sitting in the Swiss Alps with other billionaires spouting nonsense like this. The unfortunate problem is that we have let them get away with this for far too long.

These practices need to stop now!

Source: 9to5Mac

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By MajorLinux Editor-in-chief
Marcus Summers is a Linux system administrator by trade. He has been working with Linux for nearly 15 years and has become a fan of open source ideals. He self identifies as a socialist and believes that the world's information should be free for all.
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