Running an OkiData MB471 in Ubuntu Linux

okidata MB471

Despite being told by someone at Okidata that the MB471 multifunction would work great in Linux, it's not so awesome out of the box.  I did get it to work though…

December 12, 2012

I was at a customer’s business location getting email straightened out on three of the Linux laptops they’re running (xubuntu 12.04 all around — one of them is the Acer I talked about in What is the Best Laptop for Linux) when W.B. Mason showed up with the MB471 he ordered.  I’d been looking forward to this, since it was supposed to be one of the easiest printer installs I’ve ever done.  The HP M1212nf MFP he got a few months ago starting making a grinding noise, and he’d had good luck with Okidata in the past.  We unpacked it without too much trouble (I realized in short order why the instructions show a picture of TWO people carrying it) and at last it sat all nice and pretty on a short file cabinet.

I found a CD in the printer box, that did NOT contain a driver, and ended up online to look for one. Once I found it I was able to print to the MB471 over a network with no problem whatsoever.

Scanning, however, was a problem.  Sane and Simple Scan saw nothing on the network for scanners, and chatting with someone at Okidata revealed that I was not spoken to truthfully over the phone.  There was a bit of FALSE to what I was told when I’d first called in about this printer. According to the person I had right now (and hunting around online so far confirms it), there is NO WAY I’m scanning to this printer the way I’m used to scanning with something like a Brother MFC 7840.

It turns out (sorry folks — I guess I’m out of the loop working in a lumber yard) that another way to set up scanning is to configure the printer/scanner so that it scans to a shared directory on a network.  I discovered this while at the customer’s site, and realized this would have to be the way to go.  It made sense, and wouldn’t work any other way anyway.  My wife told me after I got home that this is how they do it where she works and it’s a great setup.

It requires a SAMBA share.  I don’t tend to worry about security too much on a private network that’s encrypted when there aren’t knuckleheads involved, so the SAMBA setup I described in Easy File Sharing With Linux, Samba, and a Firewall was what I used here.  The trick then was getting the printer to see the share I’d set up.

There are two ways to do this.  One is standing at the printer, the other is from a Windows computer.  While the idea of Option #2 aggravates me, there happened to be a Windows7 box on the premises, and it was a lot faster to set the printer up with that than using the interface right on the printer itself.  It’s very clunky with LOTS of button pressing.  Using a Windows box is kind of like messing with a router — very much “point and click.”

First of all, the default passwork to get into the printer is aaaaaa.  That’s six lowercase a characters.

Next, the printer needs to know where the share was.  In the case of my customer, there were three laptop computers that were potential scan “clients,” so I had to set up all three.  Sometimes Windows is a bit numb about shares showing up and disappearing from a network (like when a computer shuts down, or starts up with a new name) and it seems that the Okidata MB471 is just as “temporarily oblivious.”

Here’s the first setup screen in the Okidata, as seen from Windows using the setup program:

okidata config tool device info

From here I went to the User Setting tab and entered data in just a couple of text boxes.

okidata config tool user setting2

I’ll walk through this screen…  This is the actual screen I saw at my clients.  dawn-acer means nothing; it’s just how the printer is naming the share.  \\DAWN-ACER\share is important though, as this is how the cifs (SAMBA) share is broadcast to the network and the printer.  In the example I gave (back in my Easy File Sharing post) this would have been \\DEV-BOX\other-share.  This is all I changed via the Okidata config interface.  After that, it was merely a process of choosing which share (via the printer’s GUI) to send a scan to.  Here’s what that looked like…

First, I made sure everything was on.  Then I went to the printer and hit the scan button on the left of this screen:

okidata MB471 choose scan

I used the arrow keys to pick Network PC, hit OK, and landed here:

okidata MB471 choose profile

Then hit OK again when Select Profile was highlighted.  On the next screen:

okidata MB471 choose computer

I picked the computer I was trying to scan to.  The final scan showed up in the directory I specified. In the case of the SAMBA example I gave in the Easy File Sharing post, it would have been /share on the Linux box.  In the case of Wilfrid and Dawne, that was also the case, except that I also made a link to /share from each of their /home directories ( ln -s /share /home/dawne/SCANS did it for her, ln -s /share /home/wilfrid/SCANS for him ) so that they could see scans from their home directories.

Once I arrived at the above screen, I hit the black and white (called  mono maybe?) scan button on the right of the screen, and all went well.  I also tried the color button, and got a color scan, even though the printer only prints greyscale.

Other Points of Interest

These are just some other little ditties you might find interesting…

I own the same HP that my customer did, and have had no trouble with it.  I’ve got no idea what happened to his.  I was going to have to dig into it quite a ways before I got to whatever was grinding.  We just threw it away rather than fart around with HP’s warranty department.  Who knows what a ruckus THAT would have been.

I can NOT find the ppd file on Okidata’s website anywhere.  I ended up on Okidata’s Belgian site and grabbed this zip file containing the ppd file for the OkiData MB471.  When I tried to contact Okidata while getting this blog post done, I ran into a couple of things.  The person in live chat said she could only support America, and that there was no ppd file for this printer.  I mentioned the Belgian link.  She said to call support.  I waited for over half an hour and gave up on waiting for support to answer their phone.

The Brother MFC 7840 I use at work does not scan to a share, but it will scan to an ftp server.  I set one up, and serve out a directory that is also a SAMBA share that everyone can get at.

12 responses to “Running an OkiData MB471 in Ubuntu Linux”

  1. Matt says:

    Thanks for your write up on the Oki printer. I’m looking for an all-in-one (Fax/Scan/Print/Copy) laser printer and had it narrowed down to the Oki MB471, Canon MF4880, and the Brother MFC7860. I found your site through a search for “ubuntu Oki mb471.”

    Currently our home setup is a Ubuntu 10.04 desktop (will probably upgrade to 12.04, but may look at other distros), a Windows 7 laptop, and a LinuxMint 13KDE mini laptop.

    Our current printer is (was, now dead, Canon MP530) was hooked directly to the Ubuntu10.04 desktop, and shared through the network on a Samba share. I was able to scan directly to the desktop using SimpleScan with no trouble. Never had a need to scan to one of the laptops, so I don’t even know if that was possible or not.

    Anyway, sorry for the long ramble. Any thoughts on the 3 printers I have it narrowed down to, or any suggestions on something I may have overlooked?

  2. Craig says:

    I've been prejudiced against Canon for a long time because of bad experiences years ago. As a result, I have no experience with anything Canon has made in the last ten. I should probably get over it, but haven't yet. 

    I use a Brother at work and after setting up the OKI I reproduced the setup on my PC at the lumber yard. Now anyone can scan and just go look on the share (the FTP directory is shared via SAMBA) to find their document. I've noticed with the MFCs I've used that pdf printing over a network is very slow. No idea why, and it only happens in Linux (using drivers Brother provides).

    That said, I think I'd lean you toward the OkiData. I'm hoping their laser are even remotely as robust as their impact printers, which seem to last longer than my beef with Canon…

  3. René says:

    You can also setup Profiles over the web interface if you don’t have (or don’t want to use) a Windows machine (“Administrator Login” -> “Skip” -> “List” -> “Profile”).

  4. George says:

    I have the MB451w model and I’m using Ubuntu 1204. I can do pretty much everything that the device is capable of. i.e. Scan to network PC, scan to my gmail account, copy at the device and print from the Ubuntu PC. I was able to get what is supposed to be a scanner driver from the OKI UK web-site which is supposed to allow me to scan from my Linux PC using a small utility called ‘okiscantool’. However, even after I run the ‘okiscanadm’ utility to set up the MB451 scanner device, it won’t scan a document. It fails with ‘Scanner error (runtime error)’.
    Anyway, with the ability to scan to my network PC, I don’t really need the scanner tool running from Linux.

    • Craig says:

      I’d be a little nervous about any manufacturers own special utility used for running their hardware.  I keep having trouble with what HP’s, and those “always running daemons” are one of the reasons I switched off Windows to Linux all those years ago.

  5. Larry says:

    I found the same utilities that George did. Here is the list.


    The okiscanadm tool sets up the scanner on your device and works perfectly. The okiscan is their command line scanner. I haven’t been able to get either to work. I think it’s a firmware thing. There is more consumer protection in the EU. Here microsoft calls the shots.


    I think it’s not just the tools. I think they scr*wed us on the firmware. Scanimage now finds the scanner (after using the okiscanadmin tool but it still doesn’t work.

    hp-desktop# scanimage -L
    device `oki:OKI’ is a OKI MB471 multi-function peripheral

    hp-desktop# scanimage -d oki:OKI > test
    ** WARNING(6071:7f666c562740) [oki:products] ** ERRORSTATUS.ind error_status=Scanner Error (Runtime Error)(-197)
    ** WARNING(6071:7f666c562740) [oki] ** sane_start: error — Access to resource has been denied
    scanimage: sane_start: Access to resource has been denied
    ** ERROR(6071:7f666c562740) [oki] ** sane_close: illegal handle. handle=0x1f3ae20

    I would like this to work. I like to change the scanner settings on the fly as needed and miss the ability to do so; without having to manually do it at the scanner every time. Let me know if anyone has better luck.

    Thanks Great article.


  6. Kurt Jensen says:

    My setup was a piece of cake.

    The PPD file is located on included  CD in /Drivers/PS/ENU

    Setup of IP address and admin password was done at printer control panel.

    Remainder setup was done using web browser interface.


  7. Markus says:

    I had the same difficulties like Larry to get scanning working on a MC362 with okimfpsdrv-1.1.3. (ERRORSTATUS.ind error_status=Scanner Error (Runtime Error)(-197) )

    However, the solution was simple: The scanner must be switched to scan mode, and wait for PC requests: SCAN -> Scan Menu ->  Remote PC -> TWAIN.

    Then start scanning with sane, works perfectly.

    (BTW: The hint for the solution came from the german OKI support.)




  8. sean darcy says:

    Great thread.  The only place I've been able to get any clue how to set up an MB451 on linux.  Great hardware, but remarkably poor docs/instructions. Actually I didn't mean poor, I meant none. So I'll describe I've done to help anyone in the same place I was this morning. I did find a manual on scanning in linux with the okidata software: Oki Japan But your Japanese will need to be lot better than mine. In any event, I got some to work. I used okiscanadm and followed the prompts. For the benefit of anyone who hasn't done this: okiscanadm Network Scanner Utility  1)  Add Network Scanner  2)  Delete Network Scanner Please select option: 1 Searching for network scanner . . .:  ([y]/n) n Please enter scanner IP Address: Please enter scanner name: OkiMB451               Please enter scanner port #[9967]: Please enter PC Domain Name[toshiba2.hidden]: Please enter PC IP Address: Please enter PC port #[9968]: Scanner added . . . IP Address : MAC Address : 00:25:36:46:a7:64 Model name : MB451 Scanner name : OkiMB451 Scanner port # : 9967 PC Domain Name : toshiba2.11hidden PC IP Address : PC port # : 9968 Proceed? (y/[n]) y * Added a network scanner on this PC. * Added this PC on a MFP.   Set the Oki as described in ealier post by Markus (thank goodness we have a German speaker who contacts German OKI support!). Then used scanimage: scanimage -vvv –format pnm -x 215.9 -y 279.4 –mode ‘Black and white’ -d oki:OkiMB451 –resolution 300 –source Flatbed -p  > test.pnm scanimage: value for –x is: 215.9 scanimage: value for –y is: 279.4 scanimage: value for –resolution is: 300 scanimage: scanning image of size 2552×3304 pixels at 1 bits/pixel scanimage: acquiring gray frame scanimage: read 1053976 bytes in total Closing device ** ERROR(5246:7fba7d176840) [oki] ** sane_close: illegal handle. handle=0x7fba7eddffa0 Calling sane_exit scanimage: finished Even though I got the ERROR the scan file was OK. I'd file a bug report, but where ???? I haven't tried the ADF yet, but I'm concerned that then the sane_close error will be a problem, only allowing the scan of one page.  

  9. I was very pleased to find a scanner driver for my MC352 on OKI's website (okimfpsdrv-1.1.3). I created a Arch Linux (AUR) package for it (

    Amazingly, most features seems to work well (scan to folder, scanning using XSane). Note that /usr/libexec/okimfpdrv/scand needs to be running for some things (or everything?) to work.

    The only problem I have run into is that okiscanadm doesn't always save it's configuration and needs to be rerun.

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