Brother printers: how to install them in Ubuntu and Linux Mint


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A Brother printer is nowadays easily installable in Ubuntu or Linux Mint. You can apply this how-to:

1. Connect your printer to your computer by means of a USB cable (even when you intend to use it as a network printer later on: for initial installation a USB cable is often needed). Then turn on your printer.

2. Sometimes it's necessary to add a printer or scanner to the system yourself, by means of the application Printers. In that case the application Printers already contains the driver for your printer, but you have to "indicate" the printer first.

So launch the application Printers. You can use the search box in your menu to find it; it's present by default in all editions of Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

In Printers, click the button Add (with the + sign) and follow the steps it offers you.

But in some cases this driver doesn't work well: the printed characters are deformed. Or if you have a multifunctional printer, this doesn't get the scanner part operational: you can only print. Or your printer might simply be too new for the database in your version of Linux Mint or Ubuntu. In either of those cases, proceed with step 3:


3. Installing the driver manually isn't very difficult either, because Brother has issued a generic install script for that: the Driver Install Tool.

With that, you can install not only the printer driver, but also (for a multifunctional printer) the scanner driver.

You can use it as follows:


4. First remove any existing instance of the Brother printer in the application Printers.


5. Go to the download section of the Brother website and look up your printer model.

For "OS Family" you choose Linux.
For "OS Version" you select Linux (deb).
Click the Search button.

Then click the Driver Install Tool and download linux-brprinter-installer.

Save the downloaded file in the folder Downloads. Don't extract the zipped file, but leave it there just as it is. Note: don't use the installation how-to on the Brother website, but use the installation how-to on my website instead (see below)!


6. Launch a terminal window.
(You can launch a terminal window like this: *Click*)


d. Now copy/paste the following command into the terminal, in order to unzip the downloaded file (it's one line):

cd ~/Downloads && gunzip -v ~/Downloads/linux-brprinter*

Press Enter.


7. Use copy/paste to transfer the following line to the terminal:

sudo bash ~/Downloads/linux-brprinter*

Press Enter. Type your password when prompted; this will remain entirely invisible, not even asterisks will show, which is normal.


8. Follow the steps that the installer script presents you. When asked for the printer model name, type it and press Enter.

An example is best: for a Brother DCP-1610W you type:
DCP-1610W

Note: is there at the end of the model name a letter between brackets? Then you probably have to omit that last letter (including the brackets).

Example: for the Brother MFC-L9550CDW(T) it becomes:
MFC-L9550CDW

At the question about the Device URI, you answer N for a USB printer and Y for a network printer.

For a network printer, you select in the next question the last option:
(A): Auto. For that, you type the number of that option and you press Enter.


9. Reboot your computer.


10. Now you may have to solve a problem with the scanner. In 64-bit Linux Mint 18.x and Ubuntu 16.04.x the location for the supporting library files has changed, and the driver for the scanner feature doesn't always take that into account. The Brother driver puts them in /usr/lib64, whereas your operating system expects them in /usr/lib.

So for a 64-bit system, you now need to execute the following three commands in order to make your scanner work well (use copy/paste to transfer them one by one to the terminal, and press Enter after each command):

sudo ln -sf /usr/lib64/libbrscandec*.so* /usr/lib

sudo mkdir -p /usr/lib/sane

sudo ln -sf /usr/lib64/sane/libsane-brother*.so* /usr/lib/sane


11. Then add yourself to the scanner user group. You can use a click-click-click graphical system tool for that, but this varies amongst editions. The terminal works in all editions....

An example is easiest. If your name is Johnny, your username is johnny (no caps), so the terminal command would be:

sudo usermod -a -G scanner johnny

Press Enter.


12. Download this modified configuration file, which contains an essential line for Brother scanners. Leave it in the folder Downloads.


13. Now replace a configuration file by the modified file you've just downloaded, with the following command (it's one line, use copy/paste to transfer it to the terminal):

sudo cp -v ~/Downloads/60-libsane.rules /lib/udev/rules.d/

Press Enter.


14. Reboot your computer.

Do you wish to bring this about without a downloaded file? Then open /lib/udev/rules.d/60-libsane.rules. Almost at the end of the text in that long text file, add the following two lines before the line "# The following rule will disable USB autosuspend for the device" (use copy/paste to transfer them):

# Brother scanners
ATTRS{idVendor}=="04f9", ENV{libsane_matched}="yes"


Reboot your computer.



15. Printers with wifi: for wireless setup, it's necessary to configure your printer to connect to your wireless network automatically. If your printer has a small display of its own, you should be able to set this up by means of that little display (see your manual).

If your printer doesn't have a display of its own, you might need to boot Windows for this. One time only, because you only need to configure the printer to connect to your wireless network automatically when you turn it on. Reboot into Linux, launch the application Printers, and you should be able to select your network printer wirelessly.


16. You're done! Your printer should work fine now, including the scanner part (when present).


Note: some reports indicate that it might be necessary to run Simple Scan once (and only once) with root permissions, in order to have it recognize the scanning feature of your Brother MFC. So if Simple Scan can't use the scanning feature yet, execute this terminal command:

gksudo simple-scan

This launches Simple Scan with root permissions. Now it should recognize the Brother scanner. After the recognition, close Simple Scan and launch it again normally, i.e. without root permissions. It should work fine now.



Want more tips?

Do you want more tips and tweaks for Ubuntu and Linux Mint? There's a lot more of them on this website!


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