Monthly Archives: August 2013

Install Brother DCP-7020 Printer on Debian or Ubuntu

Here are some super easy steps for getting your Brother DCP-7020 printer to work with Debian or Ubuntu.  Note that getting the scanner to work is a separate effort, which I might detail in a later post.

  1. Download the print drivers from this link (if they change the download page location, just use a search engine to find them, or possibly try the files attached to this post):
    You will need both the LPR driver and the CUPS Wrapper.
  2. Once you’ve downloaded the drivers, open up a command window, and become super user (use the “su” command; you can probably just use “sudo” with these commands too).
  3. Issue the following commands to (1) install the LPR driver, (2) install the CUPS wrapper, and (3) verify that your installs were actually installed:
    dpkg  -i  –force-all  (lpr-drivername)
    dpkg  -i  –force-all  (cupswrapper-drivername)
    dpkg  -l  |  grep  Brother
  4. One more verification step:
    Open a web browser and go to http://localhost:631/printers to verify that your printer is found.
  5. Type some text in a text editor and print a test page!

The DEB files that worked for me are zipped here:

I presume I’m allowed to publish those DEB files here since the code itself is open source; I hope I’m correct.

Note: These steps are published by Brother in a very straightforward manner, and I highly recommend you check their page for some extra detail. My writeup just flows from my wanting to capture my own experience in case I need to repeat the steps for my personal setup.

Another note: I’m running a 64-bit system, and a long time prior to setting up the Brother printer as described in this article, I took some other steps to get printers working in Firefox. I’m not sure if those steps had any impact on making the procedure outlined in this post successful, but you might want to review it anyway.

Upgrade Debian 6 “Squeeze” to Debian 7 “Wheezy”

I’m no linux guru, so when it came time to upgrade my 2 linux boxes, I was a little nervous at first. In the past, I had never stuck with the same distribution for very long, so “upgrading” really just constituted installing and trying out another distro (Salix, Mint, etc.) where a previous distro used to be. Turns out, Debian is particularly easy to upgrade with the following steps, many of which were borrowed from here.

(Forgive my laziness about formatting this post; I might come back and spruce it up later, but for now I’m just capturing my notes.)

  1. In a terminal screen, login as the “root” user by issuing the “su” (Super User) command.  This is important, and it was absent from where I was getting my instructions.  My first time through, I attempted the first few steps with “sudo apt-get…”, and that just didn’t seem to be working.  The rest of these steps should be executed as ROOT.
  2. #bring your Squeeze package listings up to date
    apt-get update
  3. apt-get upgrade [upgrades your packages]
  4. apt-get dist-upgrade [upgrades all distribution-specific files, presumably]
  5. If you want to be really careful, run a few other checks, as described at the link above, such as the “dpkg –audit” command to make sure everything’s in good order.  Assuming all is well, move on.
  6. Using vi or another text editor, modify /etc/apt/sources.list, and replace each occurrence of “squeeze” with “wheezy”.  Save file.  Now that Aptitude/Synaptic will be looking at the Wheezy-specific distro files, next steps actually install them.
  7. apt-get update [brings your package listings up to date for Wheezy]
  8. apt-get upgrade [upgrades your packages to their Wheezy best]
  9. apt-get dist-upgrade [upgrades your OS and kernel files to Wheezy (I think)]
  10. reboot
  11. Verify the version updates were recorded by running “cat /etc/issue” and “cat /etc/debian_version”

Notes along the way:

  • (upgrade/dist-upgrade) You’ll be prompted to approve some disk space usage.  [Y]es, you should approve it.
  • (upgrade/dist-upgrade) You’ll be prompted with some update notices for certain software.  Advance through the notices by pressing the spacebar until you get to the end of the notices, then press “q” to quit from the notification.  Upgrade will resume on its own
  • (upgrade) You’ll be prompted to overwrite “/etc/dhcp/dhclient.conf”.  I said [Y]es to overwriting with the maintainer’s version, because I didn’t see anything special/custom in my own version.  This was not the default option; I’m not sure this one mattered to me.
  • (upgrade) You’ll be prompted to overwrite “/etc/sudoers”.  I took the default option, [N]o, because I had added some users and didn’t to overwrite with a generic version from the maintainer.
  • (dist-upgrade) You’ll be prompted to restart a bunch of services after they’ve been upgraded.  Do it, of course.
  • (dist-upgrade) I got some firmware warning suggesting that the new kernel might need libraries/files that weren’t available in the “free” version, and tell me I might want to add “contrib non-free” to the sources.list lines.  I had already added those “contrib non-free” modifiers though, so I’m not sure what the issue was.
  • (after reboot) I was offered to reuse my old XFCE desktop panel config, and I chose to do so.  I did, however, have to change the resolution for my monitor to get it back to how it was.

Follow up notes:

  • When booting, Grub still offered the old kernel (2.6.x I think), but defaulted to the new kerkel (3.2.x I think). I found that when booting into the new kernel, the system would freeze 10-15 minutes into the session. I didn’t see this if I booted into the old kernel. To fix this, booted into the new kernel and disabled the screensaver. That appears to solve the issue, so there must be something screwed up about the XFCE screensaver in my update.

  • Perhaps related to the screensaver issue, my system seems to have started detecting 2 monitors, because when I right-click on the desktop and enter the “Desktop Settings” dialog, 2 monitor tabs are listed. I think this might be why I was seeing the weirdness described above whereby the resolution was screwed up. I don’t really know what’s going on, but perhaps you’ll see something similar. Good luck.