Ubuntu 14.10 and the Brother HL-2140

I have a Brother HL-2140 Laser Printer which was working previously but for some reason gave me a CUPs error when I tried to print today (I think this was the first time I'd tried to print since upgrading to Ubuntu 14.10). I searched for the error on the web and found this forum post that didn't address my problem directly but did address a problem I had when I set up my printer before (on Ubuntu 14.04, I'm using 14.10 now) where the printer would churn out blank pages instead of printing what I wanted so I decided to give it a try again. There are a few suggestions on the page but the two I tried both suggested using a different driver.

The first suggestion I tried was to use the HL-2170 instead of the HL-2140. This worked when I printed the first test page but after that it just silently failed no matter what I tried to install.

The next suggestion I tried was to use the Brother HL-2140 Foomatic/hpijs-pcl5e driver. This didn't print any pages for me and gave a `Idle - filter failed` error in the printer properties dialogue box. I don't know what the message means, but since I fixed it without knowing, I guess I don't need to know.

Sandwiched between the HL-2170 and the HL-2140 models in the list of available drivers was the HL-2142 model. Since it seemed close enough to the 2140 (only off by two) I decided to try it and for whatever reason it worked. I'm pretty sure I used one of drivers the forum post suggested when I was using 14.04 (and the default HL-2140*driver before that) but something seems to have changed again.

There's two lessons here:

  1. Use the HL-2142 driver for the Brother HL-2140 printer on Ubuntu 14.10
  2. Try drivers for similar models if you upgrade your Ubuntu installation and the printer stops working