Sorry, to bring some solid facts along, but maybe it helps in this discussion: The amount of memory Gutenprint claims is not excessive at all, it is mainly a result of the high resolutions we have today. Of course, if that system had been written for RISC OS compromises would have been made in terms of quality in order to save memory but as it stands, the Gutenprint library very cleverly uses just the amount of memory needed to deliver the quality it was designed to deliver.
Druck: Your latest argument goes in the wrong direction because it implies, as others have suggested, that due to VM being available, the library is sloppy about its memory claims. This is not really the case for the bulk of the memory needed. Have you ever figured out how much memory would be needed for a full page buffer at 5760dpi? That would be about 12GB, far too much for any system around.