Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
If I had to give a general summation of printing in Linux I would have to say "better than dismal, but not much." Hardware vendors barely produce tolerable drivers for Windows, let alone us weirdo hippie Linux users.
Strangely enough, many of them are finding it in their hearts to support Mac OS X. It's a much shorter leap from Mac OS X to Linux than it is from Windows to Mac OS X. Odd little world, isn't it, with fodder for conspiracy theorists everywhere.
However, with a bit of care one can find a printer that is happy to use, instead of one that is expensive, time-wasting, and vexing. The key is to shop carefully; it's a Darwinian world out there. Buyer beware, count your fingers, watch your back. Don't pay more than $7 for a USB printer cable. Printer vendors are misers for not including cables to begin with, then they have the gall to charge $30 and up. You don't need gold or silver connectors, you don't need fancy plastic packaging that requires a chainsaw to get into, and you certainly don't need to get ripped off. (See Resources for some excellent online stores to shop in.)