How to Setup A Brother Scanner In Linux Mint 17

While Brother's Support Site has generally accurate and up-to-date instructions and information as to how to get your scanner set up and working under basically all popular Linux distros, the way the information is organized (spread across arcane portions of the site, and across at least 7 pages), has irritated me enough over several deployments over the last year or so to the point where I thought I'd finally bite the bullet and take a moment to transcribe my notes for my most recent installation of a document fed Brother Scanner (specifically, an ImageCenter ADS-2000) on Linux Mint 17.

I don't go into adding the full functionality for the unit's scanner button (which requires setting up and configuring a seperate driver from Brother called the scan-key-tool), and I don't go into the super-awesome depths you can go to should you choose to take advantage of the impressive scripting and automation capabilities that Brother makes available for power users and others with unique requirements and demands (I've automated some sawheeet document processing handling routiunes, both for myself and others), but we will get ya up and running. Also, these basic steps should work (YMMV lol) with most of Brother's scanner models, and the basic steps are (roughly) the same regardless of distro.

The only major assumption we're making here is that you already have cups installed and configured for printing on your system - which is (oh, thank frigging GOD) now generally how most post-Neolithic distros ship. If you run into trouble (or just want to run into trouble), you can read all about what deploying and configuring cups CAN BE LIKE over at

So then: HTH you, cheers, and let's get to it!

Satisfy Dependencies:

-Before dealing with Brother's drivers, make sure you have the following packages installed:

sudo apt-get install xsane sane-utils psutils sane

-Then make sure you have the following directory and path on your system (should be there if you have cups, but best to be sure):

sudo mkdir /usr/share/cups/model

Plug In the Scanner:

It really sucks if you forget this step (which has happened to me)... nothing like trying to troubleshoot driver installs that SHOULD BE WORKING PERFECTLY only to realize an hour later that you forgot to plug the machine in, connect it to your computer (via USB), and turn the unit on (by opening the feeder tray). Also, I have had some setups and configurations get just a wee bit eccentric in some distros if the scanner isn't connected and powered on before continuing further (Ubuntu 12 most memorably).

Download Brother's "brscan" Linux Drivers:

-Go here and select the .deb flavor of the drivers, then pick between 32 and 64 bit flavors (here, we'll be assuming the 64bit drivers cause, well, we're not a frigging "Tandy Company" here anymore and have actually moved over 1.5 10ths of the way into the 21st Century, lol).

-Save that .deb package to your Downloads directory, then, back ensconced in the safety and efficaciousness of your terminal, type:

sudo dpkg -i --force-all ~/Downloads/brscan4-0.4.3-3.amd64.deb

(...that's the name of my driver file and version as of 2016-02-15, but be sure to check that you type the filename of YOUR dl accordingly)

-Check to see that the drivers actually installed:

dpkg -l | grep Brother

-If that outputs something that vaguely resembles the following, then so far so good:

ii  brscan4   0.4.3-3               amd64        Brother Scanner Driver

Test Scan As Super User:

-Don't worry about the scary warning box you get after this next command; it's perfectly safe for us to do just this once to test that that we can actually can scan stuff:

sudo xsane 

-Click on the "I wanna do it anyway" button, and then wait for a few moments while xsane tries to find your scanner (this can take as long as a minute or so, so be patient). 

-The main Xsane windows should then appear, one for setting your job specifications and a preview pane in the other. Click on "FILE," --> "Info" and check that the resulting window says something about Brother being your Vendor.

-Throw a few pieces of paper into your scanner, then, in the top left of the control window, enter the number of pages you want it to scan, the destination directory where you'd like them to be saved, the format ("Type") of file you'd like to save the scans as (I recommend JPEG for simplicity's sake during our first test), and then select "Automatic Document Feeder (left aligned,Duplex)" from the menu in the middle.

-Press the "Scan" button in the bottom right of the window, and then wait the 15-30 seconds for the scanner to actually (hopefully) begin imaging your documents. Take a look at the pages as they pop up in the preview pane; if they're not blank, then excellent!: We're almost done! Once it's done scanning, and you are satisfied, close Xsane (and tell it to discard all the images).

Make Scanning Available For Non-Superusers:

-We're almost done, but first, go here and scroll down to the section marked "Ubuntu 10.10, 11.4, etc. and download the nicely packaged udev rule .deb package. Then:

sudo dpkg - ~/Downloads/brother-udev-rule-type1-1.0.0-1.all.deb

Restart Your System:

-Reboot your machine. After logging back in, open Xsane again, this time though, using your normal every day user account. It should detect your scanner and open up like before. Run another series of test scans to make sure that everything is working smoothly for your "regular" user(s).


If you get a dialog box with red text saying that Xsane can't find scanner such and such at such and such address, close it down and see if doing it as Superuser still works. For some reason, I've had to restart my machine twice before the udev rules took affect for my normal user (tho I have no frigging idea as to how or why, lol). If THAT doesn't work, then check your work, making sure you didn't skip a step. If you find that you may have, go to Brother's Linux-Specific Information page and try following the instructions to Uninstall The Scanner Driver before trying to repeat the steps outlined above. 

And hopefully that should get you well on your way to enjoying this (imho) really impressive, super fast, remarkably affordable ADF Scanner on Linux. If you want to go further (and get into writing your own automation scripts for more complex document processing requirements), I recommend starting with the brscan-key installation page (to get that front button working on your scanner), followed by checking out the "Use Scan-Key-Tool" page (which will give you a broad overview of what and how you can customize all kinds of behavior from the unit. Finally, be sure to check out some of the ways you can change the way the scan-key-tool's behavior (like automatically converting images to pdf files on output, amongst a myriad of other awesome things).

Hopefully soon I'll have time to set up the accounts and comments features of this site so you can post problems or corrections or suggestions here alongside this thread, but for now, if you run into probs or just want to holler at me, the best way is through twitter (@Vegaswriter) and I'll do my best to help. Cheers and happy scanning!

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