Packaging Brother printer drivers

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Brother supplies Linux drivers for its printers, however they are not in an easily packaged format. This article explains what adjustments to the contents of the RPM packages supplied by Brother will need to be made to create a PKGBUILD for the printer driver. Additional example PKGBUILDs for Brother printers can be found by searching in the AUR.

Really short overview of CUPS

CUPS handles printers using a .ppd file and a filter binary. Once those two files are installed, the printer can be added in CUPS. A simple example PKGBUILD that does this is samsung2010pAUR[broken link: archived in aur-mirror].

About Brother drivers

Unfortunately, Brother's drivers have some issues:

  • The CUPS driver is built on top of the lpr driver.
  • The CUPS driver package contains a single installation shell script with an embedded ppd and filter. It is executed by rpm during installation. It extracts the ppd and filter, and performs some installation procedures in a Red Hat-specific way.
  • The CUPS driver package uses paths that are not compliant with the Arch packaging standards.

Preparing a PKGBUILD

These issues can be worked around.

  • The lpr driver does not need to be installed, so the PKGBUILD can just extract the files in the lpr driver's RPM package.
  • The CUPS driver's RPM should contain a single shell script. For instance, for the brother-hl2030AUR package, the PKGBUILD changes three things:
    1. The paths are changed.
    2. All commands are disabled except "cat <<EOF" or "echo > ..." or whatever there is that emits *.ppd or filter to separate file. It was done by wrapping irrelevant instructions by if false; then ... fi.
    3. The target file names for the ppd and filter are changed so they are installed into the same directory as the PKGBUILD. Note that paths to the embedded filter where also changed.
  • To fix the paths to conform to the Arch packaging standards, sed or similar can be used on all text files unpacked from both the lpr and CUPS drivers. Look at the patch in the brother-hl2030AUR package to check which files are affected.

Effectively after the changes described above the script will just output a ppd and a filter to some known location. The PKGBUILD will then copy them to the proper directories in $pkgdir:

 install -m 644 -D ppd "${pkgdir}/usr/share/cups/model/HL2030.ppd"
 install -m 755 -D filter  "${pkgdir}/usr/lib/cups/filter/brlpdwrapperHL2030"

The lpr driver files will also need to be copied into $pkgdir!

Other changes

Edit the installation script:

 -#PSTOPSFILTER=`which pstops`

As pstops is not installed in a standard location, the path will need to be hard-coded.

Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: The original author "could not remember" why this is needed, or whether it was required at all (Discuss in Talk:Packaging Brother printer drivers#)

This may also need to be added.



Because some of the supplied binaries are 32 bit only, on an x86_64 system some additional multilib packages such as a 32 bit version of glibc (lib32-glibc) may need to be installed.