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The Brother MFC-8820J is a black/white laser printer/scan/copy/fax machine that was apparently released only in Japan. Its better known international cousin is the MFC-8820D, which is probably identical in design. There are several ways to make this multifunction device work under Linux, depending on your distribution and your needs.

The easiest case is if you just need printing. Ubuntu and most other distributions include drivers for many Brother printers, though in some cases you need to install them from the repositories first. Check this page to find out which package you need to install for your printer ("brother-cups-wrapper-laser1" and "brother-lpr-drivers-laser1" in case of the Brother MFC-8820J). Alternatively you can download the official drivers from the Brother homepage (which are harder to install, are proprietary and somewhat bloated, but offer more features and are reported to work very well).




Making scanning and faxing work requires a bit more effort, but not too much. If you want to scan via USB, it suffices to install the official scan driver from Brother (check the list to find out which driver is the correct one for you). If you need to scan over network, you will additionally need to apply some command line magic (scroll down to Step 5). Finally, Ubuntu users will have to modify the udev rules in order to make scanning work. This is done slightly different depending on the Ubuntu version, but the above link covers them all.

Now to a problem that bugged me personally: I couldn't get double-sided printing to work on the MFC-8820J. My Canadian colleague who uses Gentoo has experienced the same problem. A Google search reveals that users of the MFC-8820D experience this problem too. After trying out a wide variety of drivers and settings, I've already given up when my colleagues finally found a workaround in a Japanese forum. Using the printer driver of the MFC-9050 which is included by default in Ubuntu should make duplex printing work on the MFC-8820J. However, you might encounter a "DX LEVER ERROR" during double-sided printing. In that case you need to shift a lever on the back side of the printer to the right (or left) to relieve the error and get the document printed. This error is related to the different paper sizes A4 and letter. Depending on which paper format you are using, the lever has to be in the correct position. For some strange reason it doesn't matter which paper size I choose in the driver options, as for me the lever has always to be set to the right. This is particularly annoying as the default position for the Windows users among us seems to be the left position (for A4 paper anyway, which we're using). If anyone knows more about this problem and how to fix it, please let me know!