I was looking for a cheap laser printer that “just works” under Linux (Ubuntu). I happened to be at Officeworks and saw the Brother HL-2040 on sale for $AU149. A flyer for it mentioned Linux support (via driver download) so I figured I could return it if it didn’t work at all. The only shortcoming was that the Linux driver only supports up to 600dpi (also clearly mentioned on the flyer).
Setup was very straight-forward and the instruction manual was surprisingly useful. Unpack, shake drum to distribute toner, insert drum, insert paper, plugin, press the “GO” button, watch Brother test page get printed.
Now to see if it works from Ubuntu. “System > Administration > Printing”, “New Printer”, “Use another printer by specifying a port:”, “USB printer #1”, “Brother”, (now the tricky bit) “HL-5140”, just use the recommended driver, HL-5140 shows up in the Printers window, double-click, “Printer > Print test page”, watch Ubuntu test page get printed.
The tricky bit was finding the correct driver. The HL-2040 wasn’t listed in the printer selection dialogue, so I did a quick google to find a compatible printer driver. Got all the info I needed in a reply to a post on Rachel’s Knowledge Base
Conclusion: Cheap, easy to set up, works, quiet. Limited to 600dpi, but what do I care? Recommended.
Update: Downgraded to Recommended (from Highly Recommended). Printing is normal volume (not super-quiet) and the the “economy” modes don’t seem to work under Linux. Excellent value at $149 though.