I just bought a new printer, the Brother MFC-9120CN. It’s also able to scan and to copy documents and to send them by fax. Since the installation instructions are win/mac-only I’ll shortly explain how to setup the device in a Linux environment.
Decision for this printer
First of all I was searching for a printer that is in any case compatible to Linux systems. You might also have experiences with this driver f$ckup, or at least have heard about it. The manufactures often only provide drivers for Win or Mac, so you generally get bugged if you want to integrate those peripherals in your environment. The MFC-9120CN scores at this point. It is able to print and scan via network. Drivers for the printer are available and the the scanned documents can be sent at any FTP server. So you don’t need to have special drivers for scanning, just setup a small FTP server. This model is also a very cheap one compared to other color-laser MFP’s, and with the ADF it completely matches my criteria.
I already noticed some disadvantages. One is the speed, the printer is somewhat slow. Since I’m not printing thousands of pages it’s more or less minor to me, but you should be aware of that. Another issue is the fact, that the device always forgets the date if it is turned of for a time.. And the printer is a bit too noisy.
The printer comes with a large user manual (>200 pages). It well explains setup the fax functionality, but the installation of the network printer and scanner is only described for win/mac, so I’ll give you a small how-to for your Linux systems.
To use this device via network you have to connect it to a router. It should be able to request an IP via DHCP, but if you don’t provide a DHCP server you need to configure the network manually (my values are in parenthesis):
If this is done you should be able to ping the printer:
If you browse to this IP using your web browser you’ll find a web interface for the printer. We’ll need this website later on.
Big thanks to the CUPS project, it’s very easy to setup the network-printer! If you haven’t installed cups yet, do it now:
Just browse to your CUPS server (e.g. http://localhost:631 if it is installed on your current machine) and install a new printer via Administration->add Printer (you need to be root). Recent CUPS versions will detect the new printer automatically and you’ll find it in the list of Discovered Network Printers. Just give it a name and some description, select a driver (I’m using Brother MFC-9120CN BR-Script3 (color, 2-sided printing)) and you’re done! Easy, isn’t it!? ;-)
For those of you that have an older version of CUPS: The URI of my printer is
As explained above, the printer is able to send scanned documents to a FTP location. That is, there is no need for a scanner driver! Just install a small FTP server, I decided for ProFTPd:
Make sure, that the
/etc/proftpd/proftpd.conf contains the following lines:
and create a new virtual FTP user:
You will be asked for a password. The scanned documents will be stored in
/PATH/TO/FILES . This command creates a file
ftpd.passwd . Move this file to
/etc/proftpd/ , if you didn’t execute the command in that directory.
You should be able to connect to your FTP server:
If that was successful, let’s configure the scanner to use this FTP account. Use your web browser to open the interface of the printer (e.g. http://192.168.9.9/) and go to Administrator Settings->FTP/Network Scan Profile (you have to authenticate, default login is admin and the password is access). Here you’ll find 10 different profiles that can be configured. Click for example on Profile Name 1 and modify the profile:
- Host Address: The IP of the FTP server (e.g.
- Username: The username of the virtual FTP user you’ve created (e.g.
- Password and Retype Password: The password of the virtual FTP
- Store Directory:
If you submit these values you’ll be able to scan to your FTP server. Just give it a try! ;-)
I recommend to configure your firewall to drop all packets of your printer that try to leave your own network.
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