I did a fresh install of Ubuntu 9.10 and now my Brother MFC 210C won't scan (printing is fine).

I installed the following packages according to the instructions on the Brother site:


When I start xsane and click "Scan", I get the error:

failed to start scanner: invalid argument

This scanner was working fine on 9.04 (and previous versions).

EDIT: I also did:

sudo chmod a+w /dev/bus/usb
sudo chmod a+w /dev/bus/usb/*

Didn't help!

  • For me, other scanning programs besides xsane were working, even acquiring a preview in xsane was working, but this error would pop up at the end of trying to scan. The solution was to delete ~/.xsane (it seems that the old settings file was the source of the problem). – Ron Kaminsky Feb 15 at 21:54

Is your account member of the scanner group? I had the same error message with brscan3 (for a DPC-185C), adding my account to the scanner group did the trick.


This is described in a Launchpad bug. What seems to be happening is that xsane is getting mixed up between the webcam and the scanner.

Here is the workaround from Launchpad:

  • Open /lib/udev/rules.d/40-libsane.rules file.

Add the following two lines to the end of the device list, before the line # The following rule will disable ...

# Brother scanners
ATTRS{idVendor}=="04f9", ENV{libsane_matched}="yes"
  • Unplug webcam from the USB and reboot

  • Install (or reinstall) the 3 Brother packages for the device

    • mfc210clpr-1.0.2-1.i386.deb
    • cupswrapperMFC210C-1.0.2-3.i386.deb
    • brscan2-0.2.4-0.i386.deb
  • Plug the webcam back in

  • Reboot

  • xsane then offers a choice of whether to scan from webcam or scanner. Choose scanner. It will then work.

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