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Win2K driver saga: HP staff not happy bunnies

'Bill and Dave's lifeless bodies would be more inspiring than the current leadership'

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A number of HP insiders have kindly responded to our questions earlier this week about the continuing lack of Windows 2000 drivers HP Win2K OfficeJet drivers slip again.

Some point to mysterious gaps in the San Diego parking lot once occupied by the vehicles of the folks who had been working on the older 500, 600 and 700 series OfficeJet all-in-ones, while others suggest these engineers have been reassigned to work on the newer T, R and G ranges which "marketing really like as they are far superior to their predecessors in every way but price."

Motivation is reputed to be "really low" at the San Diego office. With one insider going as far as to suggest that a number of employees believe that "Bill and Dave's lifeless bodies would be more inspiring than the current leadership."*

To be fair to HP, the OfficeJet 500, 600 and 700 series were originally intended for the home office, which the Lew Platt regime didn't expect to be a hotbed of NT and W2K usage at the time. And we are now informed that nobody at the San Diego office even likes using the things because the W95/W98 drivers were "Packed with undocumented features, aka bugs".

While you're on the subject…
A number of readers have written in with their Win2K driver sob stories, and it's not just HP taking the flak, although the first honourable mention does indeed go to the Great Stan of Printers.

The Register has mentioned the shortage of Win2K drivers for HP CD writers previously (see links below). So we were not entirely surprised to hear that the HP 8100 burner was still causing aggravation to Win2K users. Angry users bombarded the HP support website complaining about the $25.00 plus shipping cost, lack of on-line ordering and the fact that upgrade packages are "sold out" and will be at least a month in arriving.

HP seems to have on-line forums for all of their products, but the forum for their CD writers is reported to have mysteriously disappeared - under a barrage of flames?

As reader Torrey Hoffman says:
"HP has certainly lost me as a customer - a move that will cost them far more than the $25 dollars they are extracting from me now. What are they thinking?"

Other companies accused by readers of being slow off the mark with Win2K support include Logitech with its QuickCams. Reader Barry Dorrans reports that its support page first promised them of the end of April, when the date changed to the end of May, and last week it changed to have no dates at all.

"They do say that two of the cams are supported as native drivers under Win2K, but these are the cheaper end of the line, which isn't the one I have *sigh*

"Go on, give them a poke, I'll bet HP would be relieved that someone else is getting mocked."

Other honourable(?) mentions go to Matrox for the Millennium G400 Max, for which users have been promised WHQL drivers for the past few months, but nothing has shipped and Intel for the i740 graphics chip which still only has wobbly beta drivers, plus the Create & Share and ProShare video cameras which have absolutely no support and none on the horizon.

Compaq sticks up for HP

But what's this? Galloping to HP's defence comes - gasp - Compaq.

"As a former Windows 2K driver writer for Compaq, I can tell you that it is very difficult to rewrite drivers for Windows 2k. In fact, you pretty much had to start from scratch again for most products. This has partly to do with the new rigid features of Win2k and partly to do with the changes to the driver manager.

"HP was probably caught off guard thinking they would be easy and putting it off until it was too late." ®

*Doctor Spinola adds: In fact, Hewlett is 87 and still very much alive.

Related Stories

HP Win2K OfficeJet drivers slip again
HP Win2K drama continues
HP eventually wakes up to Win2K
Michael Dell takes The Register out to lunch

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