[Novalug] Score on Brother printers under Linux.
joshua.newton at ironhavoc.org
Thu Oct 8 10:07:17 EDT 2009
With the caveat that I'm playing with CUPS 1.4.1 and recent Foomatic and
all that, and haven't tried CUPS 1.3.x at all: Brother printer support
seems to be excellent under Linux. I thought folks would like to know,
after my post. They don't seem to have any projects like HPLIP going
on, but they have a support section dedicated to Linux, RPMs and DEBs
(x86), raw PPDs, mention of GPLv2 here and there, and so forth.
The HL-5370DW in particular that I bought: on sale now at my local
Office Despot, who are also doing a USD$50 any-printer trade-in toward
(presumably) all printers. Sadly, I junked my Samsung before I
considered this angle, and did not get to test. However, the printer is
MSRP USD$250, less USD$50 on sale. I think Brother are EOLing the 5370
and a couple other units, and it looks like HP are doing the same,
including one *very* nice small mono laser and several rather nice
colour lasers. Or else Office Despot is rearranging things. At any
rate, several printers had gone to "clearance," which means "Here, have
this display model which *might* be under a manufacturer warranty; we
won't guarantee it." I got one of the last two boxed 5370s.
Also, this particular unit seems to be made of win. It has quite a few
surprises in the embedded web interface that I've only seen before on
notably more expensive workgroup printers, and some things I don't
recall seeing at all, like considerable tweak-ability of the EPSON
FX-580 and IBM PP XL emulation. (In addition to 802.3, 802.11b/g, and
USB, it has Ye Olde Centronics.) Looks like you can configure
"services" to listen on ports, which apparently translates to "filters,
control characters, JetDirect vs. IPP (or both), a couple other nuggets,
and a port to listen on for that." By default, it seems to handle
plaintext, PCL (5? 5e? 6?), PS3 (I assume 3-- doesn't say), and PS3
binaries (firmware?) all on 9100/tcp. I'm going to test the "5W
standby" claim wtih my Kill-A-Watt, and consider leaving it turned on if
that's close to reality.
Also? Brother seem to favour a thing called "BR-Script," in particular
"BR-Script 3" on this printer. From the size of the Windows drivers,
plus the (4KiB gzipped) PPD, I'm wondering, more than a little, if
Brother simply did not want to pay Adobe licencing fees for PostScript.
Or else it's a cleverly disguised GDI (Windows) printer and "BR-Script"
means as little or as much as "Samsung Printer Language." For examples
of SPL, check out the SPLiX project, which supports some rather
expensive Dells and Xeroxes in addition to my craptastic ex-ML-2250.
If you still have an ML-2250 or similar, and it works, I have a great
deal (free, or you can pay me) on a boxed toner cart, plus you can have
the used one, if you like. Also, possibly of interest: I don't recall
it ever being mentioned, but from an examination of the printer board,
the ML-2250 (and similar?) seems clearly upgradeable with network
daughterboard, plus there are two unused slots that look sort of like
they would take SIMMs, except I don't recall ever having any SIMMs with
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