Well, it seems Brother printer drivers will make it into Hardy (Ubuntu 8.04, coming up next month), under GPL and Brother Software Open License Agreement – all driven by the community and with some help from Canonical.
Although I’d rather have 100% free Brother printer drivers, it’s still nice Brother has made their license clear about what can be done with their drivers, effectively opening the door to packaging by anyone:
This Agreement provides terms and conditions for license grant from Brother Industries, Ltd (« Broher »). Brother, who owns all copyrights to the software that is distributed with this Agreement (« Software ») to recipients thereof (« User »), for use of the Software. User shall have the right to use the Software only in accordance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement. Any use by User of the Software shall be deemed as its agreement hereto.
Please click on « I Accept » while holding down « Shift » or right click on « I Accept » and select « Save Target As,,, » from the menu.
Brother retains any and all copyrights to the Software. In no case this Agreement shall be construed to assign or otherwise transfer from Brother to User any copyrights or other intellectual property rights to whole or any part of the Software.
Brother grants User a non-exclusive license: to reproduce and/or distribute (via Internet or in any other manner) the Software. Further, Brother grants User a non-exclusive license to modify, alter, translate or otherwise prepare derivative works of the Software and to reproduce and distribute (via Internet or in any other manner) such modification, alteration, translation or other derivative works for any purpose.
Even nicer is actually seeing the first mention of these drivers a bit over two years ago and the path and work leading to its final packaging and testing just hours ago by many community people and even Canonical through the bug report on Launchpad and a corresponding wiki page.
I hope this raises the importance of supporting Linux properly for Brother and, who knows, perhaps they will be more visible for scanner and PC to Fax support in Ubuntu (and generally, Linux) in the near future. I would bet increasing Ubuntu + Brother customers would already justify this.
I do own an MFC model at home and it makes me think of the same comparisons I hear about the » readiness of the Linux Desktop « . Compare this to all Hewlett-Packard does to support its printers under Linux, there still is a lot to do before both can be compared on equal grounds. Or is it ?