Semi-)T: how do printer drivers get into distros?

Gene Heskett gene.heskett at
Sun Jul 20 14:26:53 UTC 2008

On Sunday 20 July 2008, Anne Wilson wrote:
>The reason I ask is that, about 18 months ago, I discovered that Brother's
>website provided linux drivers for many models, including the mfp that I
>wanted to install.  Yesterday I had reason to go back to that site, and
>noticed that before every download you are required to accept the gpl and
>source code is available in a separate download.  In view of that I would
>have thought that getting them into distros would be good.  So, what is
>needed for them to be included?
>We complain enough about hardware vendors, so we really need to encourage
>those that try

In this I concur.  Recently, because I needed a decent printer for a legacy 
computer, I rigged a $120 B&W Laser, a model HL-2170 Brother, through a bunch 
of USB adapters & extension cables so that old machine can send its text output 
at 9600 baud to this machine, then this machine renders it through lp3 for 
output there.  On looking for drivers there were none, so I went to the Brother 
site, and sent them a query as to what driver I should use with linux.  They 
replied very quickly that I should go get a slightly different driver from 
their download site and try that till they had finished one for this printer.  
I did, and it works flawlessly, at 22 PPM.  Fastest printer in the house.  
Whomever I was conversing with was very courteous and knowledgeable and 
obviously had no corporate windows bias at all.

These people at Brother really are trying harder, and the linux distro's really 
should take notice that Epson is not the only one who should be given a ticket 
to ride our wagon.  In fact, from my experience, I'd say they were MUCH more 
aware of linux than even Epson, who only seems to notice us when they have a 
driver shootout at their HQ, and we beat all the windows drivers for quality 
output by what one person said was obvious margins.  We've done that scene at 
least twice that I've read about.  I do know that my elderly C82 has done work 
I have sold on several occasions, pretty good for a 4 color printer.  So far 
its been a hockey puck, but when it dies, Brothers Color Lasers will certainly 
be given consideration as its replacement.

Cheers, Gene
"There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:
 soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order."
-Ed Howdershelt (Author)
Paradise is exactly like where you are right now ... only much, much better.
		-- Laurie Anderson

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