I finished integrating a Brother MFC-7860DW into my Fedora 14 workstation environment and I’m very happy with the results. Brother supplies (unsupported) Linux drivers for printing and scanning, and both work well. For scanning, I’m able to open up GIMP and scan via the built-in X-SANE support; it’s very nice. The duplex black and white laser printer seems to work well. The only negative is that support isn’t already baked into Fedora. Hopefully that’s just because it is new.
For me, the best part of the device is the scan-to-ftp feature. I setup vsftpd on my workstation so that files uploaded anonymously are automatically owned by my normal user id. From the MFC-7860DW, it is trivial to select the scan-to-ftp feature, press a few buttons, and scan; the file shows up in the incoming directory on my workstation. Really, this is how things should always work.
The scan-to-ftp feature has one critical feature that pulls it all together: profiles. Via the web interface, you can define different scan-to-ftp profiles. I defined three: “pdf, color”; “pdf, b/w”; and “image, jpeg”. These do what you would expect; if I select the color PDF option, I get a color PDF. If I select the image option, I get a jpeg image. The interface on the printer makes choosing the profile easy and it works well as part of the workflow of scanning in documents. Further, there are a lot of settings, such quality, that can be tuned on a per-profile basis. Well done.
I’ve not tried it with Windows.
There is also an Android app that I tried on my phone. It did not work. I got it to scan once out of probably 30 attempts. It would not print either. Although it is able to discover the printer over the wifi network, it states it can’t connect to the printer. This could be some weird thing to do with my wireless router setup, and I haven’t looked into it closely yet. If Android Market comments are any indication, many people have similar issues with the app. And if that’s the case, maybe an update will fix the problem.