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How to get X installed properly ( was: Debian woes )

On Sun, 15 Jun 1997, Tim O'Brien wrote:

> Please pardon the rant, but I gotta let this out.
> It looked like it might work, but it crapped out big-time when it cam time
> to install X. In fact, errors to the degree that there were missing links,
> and xf86config couldn't run. 

This is a pain indeed. You can get it to install correctly though, if you
install the packages in the right order. After trying it a couple of times
I found that the following procedure in dselect should get everything
installed correctly:
- first time you run dselect, don't select any more packages than are
  already selected. run "install" and go back to "select" to select more.
- only select xbase and run "install" again, then return to "select".   
- if you want to use the XF86Setup program (recommended):
  - select xfnt75 and run "install" on it, return to select and
  - select xserver-vga16 and the server you need for your card and run
    "install". Here, you'll be asked some questions after each of the
    servers are unpacked. Say "no" to using the xserver-vga16 (unless you
    actually need it) and say "yes" to using the server that fits you
    videocard. Say "yes" to running XF86Setup. 
  otherwise, only install your xserver and manually run xf86config later.
If you get XF86Setup running without error notices, you should have no
more hassles installing lots of other X packages. 

If you already installed X and did not carefully follow the above steps,
try running dpkg -i on xbase, xfnt75, xserver-vga16 and xserver-<your
chipset> from the prompt. This will force a reinstallation and
reconfiguration of possibly broken packages. 
One more quirk, with xdm (if you chose to run it on your display): 
When you chose to install shadow support, xbase did not take notice of
that and forgot to replace xdm with xdm-shadow.  running 
  shadowconfig on 
should fix this.
If you've already found yourself at a xdm login widget and cannot login,
just switch to the console with ctrl-alt-f1 and log in as root. type:
  /etc/init.d/xdm stop
  shadowconfig on
  /etc/init.d/xdm start
This should fix xdm permanently.
In 1.3.1 this will not happen anymore because xbase is fixed (at least
with respect to xdm and shadow, I don't now about the dependencies issue.)
> I've used debian before, and it worked great! I like it! Is there something
> I've done wrong? All I did was a new install...

Most problems with x seem to be related to the fact that so many x
packages depend on the existance of configuration files, that are only in
place until after xbase has been unpacked and configured. 
These problems don't surface when doing an upgrade because then the
necessary configuration files are already in place.

I don't know if this is a bug in the packages information or a shortcoming
of dselect. I did notice other problems, which are clearly caused by
dselect imperfections:  You might have noticed that dselect iterates
through the stable, contrib, non-free and local trees in that order. It
only iterates each next tree if the last one ended without an error. Thus,
if a package in stable has a problem, then none of the packages in the
other trees gets installed. This gives a catch-22 if the package in stable
did not install because it depends on the presence of a package in, say
contrib. Of course, the latter one never gets installed because dselect
bails out because the package that depends on it gives an error. 

An example: you select pinepgp, then dselect indicates that it notices
dependencies on pine, pico and pgp. So you select all of those and want to
continue with the installation. Now, notice that pinepgp is in contrib,
pine and pico are in non-free and pgp is in non-us (which I mirror as
local.) See what happens? The only way out is to select pinepgp for
removal, install pine, pico and pgp and then reselect pinepgp.  Only
rerunning install does not solve the problem.
Other example: gv or ghostview (stable) and gs-aladdin (non-free).

Generally, don't select too many packages at once for installation, just
be patient and sit through dselect cycling all those packages (there are
only 1000 of them after all ;-) .)

But lighten up, almost all the other stuff installs just fine. 

Good luck with your installation (and have some fun too),


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