Short Tip: Using Brother MFC-5840nc printer in Linux/Fedora

Tux
Brother printers are usually not supported out of the box on Linux. However, the company provides drivers for Linux which are working. In this case the printer is a Brother MFC-5840nc connected via LAN.
Brother provides two packages (rpm and deb) which have to be installed in that case: the lpr drivers and the a cups wrapper. Both packages for the appropriate printer must be downloaded. Afterwards, a new printer is already registered with the system but must be configured right: by default it is registered as a USB connected printer which in case of a LAN connection is of course wrong.
The easiest way to configure the printer is to access http://localhost:631/printers/ which is an interface to the printing system. In case of Fedora the root password is needed to store the configuration changes. When everything is set up a test page can be sent to the printer.

The printer also appears in other applications like in KDE/GNOME apps.

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10 thoughts on “Short Tip: Using Brother MFC-5840nc printer in Linux/Fedora

  1. Why aren’t you saying WHY those printers “are usually not supported out of the box on Linux”? Those drivers are NOT Free Software!

  2. @Kevin Kofler
    And why aren’t you saying that those drivers are free software? Yes, they are not Free Software, just free software.

    I am so tired of this mentality

  3. Just installed a Brother MFC-9840CDW on Ubuntu and got some tips for someone else that tries the same thing.

    Step-by-step:
    1. Install lpr from apt
    2. Install the lpr-driver and then the cups-wrapper
    3. Run ‘sudo aa-complain cupsd’ to make AppArmor stop complaining (see https://bugs.edge.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/cupsys/+bug/133818 for more info)
    4. Add the printer, if you are using kde/kprinter/system settings/kcontrol you should add ‘Other printer type’ and there you should see a brother device.

    Best regards
    Peppe

  4. Don’t forget to install csh first. At least with my printer (Brother DCP-310CN), I had to. After installation, both USB and network worked fine. I agree on the printer install: do it over the CUPS website interface, I’ve had bad experiences both with kprinter and with the GNOME tools.

    Best,
    Stephan

  5. Kevin, when I downloaded the drivers I had to accept two licences: the first one (for the wrapper) was the GPL, the second one (for the lpr driver) was a licence giving me all rights to do whatever I want to – without warranties. Why is this not Free Software?
    To me the problem seems to be that they provide this ugly cups-wrapper solution which would not fit into the usual openprinting drivers.

    Alex, actually I don’t get what you mean. Do you want to imply that it is ok as long as you personally don’t have to pay for it?

  6. You technically get the right to modify the software, but as all you get to download is a binary RPM (or deb), I wish you good luck trying to exercise it.

  7. Well, many distributions do ship binary blobs. While I’m not sure if it can be compared technically, it does indeed reminds me of the various wlan firmware binary blobs for example shipped with Fedora.

  8. I only buy postscript printers. I find that they are usually higher quality anyway. Also, they support my favorite printer software, lpr. I went through hell trying to get cups to work.

    Since I use lpr, I had to figure out how to configure /etc/printcap.

    Imagine my suprise to find that after installing lpr and plugging my printer in, it just worked. I didn’t have to do anything to install nor configure it.

  9. My printer had low ink and i only replaced the black one. Can any one help me? I do not know why it will not print. Do I have to replace all the other ones too?

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