JP Vossen on 12 Aug 2009 22:46:50 -0700

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[PLUG] Brother Linux & tech support

Summary: Brother supports Linux well, if quietly, and has been very 
helpful and responsive to problems.  I'm pleased and impressed with both 
the company and the printer.


I've previously posted about my search for a relatively high-end color 
multi-function laser printer that would work well with Linux, including 
scanning over Ethernet.  I finally settled on a Brother MFC-9840CDW and 
I've been very happy with it.  [1]

Linux is still a second-class citizen, but at least it's a citizen, and 
once I found the *.debs they installed easily and everything (and I mean 
everything) Just Worked [2].  That is, until my Ethernet port stopped 

So I tried sending some email via a web form which had previously 
worked, but no one ever got back to me.  I finally called Brother tech 
support and after a relatively painless few minutes of t-shooting, I was 
asked what OS I used.  I said "lots" and we narrowed it down to what I 
could easily plug into the printer USB, which turned out to be Linux.  I 
was then told that that precluded any more software testing (which is 
presumably Windows/Mac only), so I was authorized to take it to the 
closest service center for a warranty repair.

Note that the "Linux" word did not cause any "what?", or "I'll have to 
transfer you to a whole other department even though this is obviously a 
hardware problem that the OS has nothing to do with (I'm looking at you 
Dell!)" issues.  It was just, "OK, well in that case we'll do this."  Nice.

I called a local service center and talked to the guy there.  I was not 
impressed with his phone presence, but...  Then I took the printer there 
and, let's just said it did not go at all well and I did not leave the 
printer there.  When I got home I sent am email to a different address 
at Brother with the details.

The next day I got a call that Brother was dispatching a tech to my 
house to fix the printer, which happened and it's now working after a 
main-board replacement & some minor fiddling.  I also got another call 
from someone following up on the shady practices of the service center 
(which may not be one much longer), and a later follow-up call from the 
same person on the repair itself.

I was and am pleased and impressed with Brother's support and 
responsiveness to problems and with the printer itself.  I highly 
recommend it to anyone interested in something in it's class.

My $0.02,

[2] For various values of "Just Works" given that there was a minor 
AppArmor problem.  See [1] for details.
JP Vossen, CISSP            |:::======|
My Account, My Opinions     |=========|
"Microsoft Tax" = the additional hardware & yearly fees for the add-on
software required to protect Windows from its own poorly designed and
implemented self, while the overhead incidentally flattens Moore's Law.
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