How to Make a Brother Printer and Scanner Work in Ubuntu

*THIS WILL UNDERGO SOME EDITS BETWEEN OCT 31st and Nov 4th, 2016.  If you can get some answers below, great, but hopefully next week it will be more clear and helpful to more models of printers.

*Make sure to read my edits below this before starting as some things have changed…

*many edits below!  don’t start till you’ve skimmed them all

*PRE-note: if you can buy HP it’s probably better for you.  If you like pain like me, or already have pain, read on.

For some reason Brother printers are kind of hard to make work in Ubuntu for me.  Especially the scanner part.  They claim to support ‘linux’ but it’s not typically plug in play for me.  However, they are ghetto cheap so I buy them and pay for the savings in set up pain.  Oh well.  But this time I’m wising up and I’m blogging this for myself (and mom) so that we can get it set up quicker when we do upgrades or machine changes.  The main issue always seems to be this:

  1. Install the drivers with the command line as per the ‘pretty decent’ generic software from Brother found here: LINK TO UBUNTU BROTHER PRINTER DRIVERS
  2. select ‘linux’select ‘Linux (deb’)’Choose ‘driver install tool’ if you can which gets both the printer and the scanner going.

    ‘Agree to the EULA and Download’

    save file.  it will go to your ‘downloads’ folder if you have not told your browser to download it somewhere else.  You will need to know this for the next part so take a moment after the download to confirm it downloaded and you know where it is.

  3. follow instructions that appear on brother site right after downloading drivers, but here they are as of today (make sure on their site it’s up to date and don’t fully trust mine).Step1. Download the tool.(linux-brprinter-installer-*.*.*-*.gz)The tool will be downloaded into the default “Download” directory.
    (The directory location varies depending on your Linux distribution.)
    e.g. /home/(LoginName)/Download

    Step2. Open a terminal window and go to the directory you downloaded the file to in the last step.

    Step3. Enter this command to extract the downloaded file:

    Command: gunzip linux-brprinter-installer-*.*.*-*.gz

    Step4. Get superuser authorization with the “su” command or “sudo su” command.

    Step5. Run the tool:

    Command: bash linux-brprinter-installer-*.*.*-* Brother machine name

    Step6. The driver installation will start. Follow the installation screen directions.
     

     When you see the message “Will you specify the DeviceURI ?”,

     For USB Users: Choose N(No)
     For Network Users: Choose Y(Yes) and DeviceURI.

    The install process may take some time. Please wait until it is complete.

  4. Do this:
    1. Open “/lib/udev/rules.d/40-libsane.rules” file with ‘sudo nano’ command
    2.  Add the following two lines to the end of the device list. (Before the line “# The following rule will disable …”):
    Copy to your computer memory this:
    # Brother scanners
    ATTRS{idVendor}==”04f9″, ENV{libsane_matched}=”yes”   <–Paste it in with the special ‘control+shift+v’ (don’t use just regular control+v) feature in terminal
  1. Reboot the machine (you can just type sudo reboot if you are still in terminal and want it done fast…)
  2. open simple scan software from dash and try a test scan

For me, without doing step #2 above the printer will usually work but not the scanner.

Which makes me wonder if there is really any Ubuntu support at all…

But my ghetto printer/scanner is doing its job so oh well.

Hope this helps!

 

——————————-

EDIT: May 30, 2016

So go figure. Based on my long history with Brother I didn’t even try the ‘plug and play’ approach with Ubuntu but I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I plugged in a different laptop to the network.  Here is what I did to nearly *instantly* connect the laptop to the printer (assuming you have already setup wifi option on printer):

  1. press super key and type ‘printer’
  2. add printer
  3. click my mouse on ‘network printer’ and wait (key is wait a few seconds)
  4. the brother printer (two options) showed up in the list.  I couldn’t see the IP address option one because my window was so small so expand the window. When I saw the one with IP address, I selected that one.
  5. do the next window and next, next whatever.  Test print? Yes.
  6. boom. I got paper.

Note: I had an issue with the printer working via wifi and then not the next day so stay tuned here as I battle this out.

Note 2: This method above *ALSO* worked for my USB plugged in computer (the one that is actually plugged into the printer with a wire.  I did not need to seem to run through all the command line stuff as long as I wait a few seconds for the printer to show up.  The print function now works and it was near instant and plug and play.  Let me know if you have similar success or some issues.

——————-

EDIT 2: May 30, 2016

Unlike the advice from the post I found step #2 on originally, the Brother website has more detailed instructions as follows and I may have pasted the Brother lines into the wrong part of the file:

Ubuntu 9.10, 10.04, 10.10, 11.4, 11.10, 12.04, 12.10
1. Open “/lib/udev/rules.d/40-libsane.rules” file.
2. Add the following two lines to the end of the device list. (Before the line “# The following rule will disable …”):
If there is “LABEL=”libsane_rules_end””, add the following 2 lines before “LABEL=”libsane_rules_end””.The lines to be added—————————

# Brother scanners
ATTRS{idVendor}=="04f9", ENV{libsane_matched}="yes"
 
3. Restart the OS.
—————————

EDIT 3: JUNE 1, 2016

My new advice is to first simply try to install the printer with the ubuntu printer +Add printer option.  If you just need to print it seems, after all, that you can just just click the ‘network printer’ thing on the left and if you wait a few seconds the Brother printer will just magically appear.  The key is to wait a few seconds as it doesn’t appear right away.  If you need to scan you need to do all the steps above and make sure the scanner drivers are installed (command line).  So, if you have a laptop in your home network, for example, that just needs to print, you can do this:

  1. make sure brother printer wifi settings are done and it’s connected
  2. go to ‘printer’ from dash
  3. add printer
  4. click ‘network printer’ on left
  5. wait <— key
  6. when printer appears, select it (the one with the IP address if multiple ones show up)
  7. continue install wizard
  8. do test print

This worked for me.

I tried the same method of install for the scanner – USB plugged computer, and it worked, *except* that the *colour* scanning didn’t work.  So, if you only ever need B&W scanning and simple printing, you could also do the same method above with the native Ubuntu generic drivers and it should work like it did for me.  However, I needed colour scanning so I had to go back to my tutorial above, do all the command line things, and then boom. Colour started working following OS reboot.

Hope this helps.

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4 thoughts on “How to Make a Brother Printer and Scanner Work in Ubuntu”

  1. Or you could support HP; the hands down best Linux support by any printer manufacturer. You can save a few dollars with Brother but isn’t it better to support a company that supports the community?

    1. linux is a kernel
      ubuntu is an OS
      i agree HP is better supported. I also noticed EPSON and Canon have good support in there.

  2. Hey Wayneoutthere- hat’s off to you. I’m running ubuntu 16.04 with my “free” 24″ imac (almost entirely rebuilt myself) computer from a friend, and I too am a sucker for “ghetto” cheap BROTHER printer (ie: the mfc j480DW) and on my old MAC g4 the scanner never worked no matter how many of my few remaining hairs I pulled out, but thanks to your nifty “magic” little bit of code ( and – my uncanny ability to follow directions) – BINGO – my ghetto “brother” actually scans and quite well. A GOLD STAR to WAYNEoutthere!

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