Re: No X configuration offered during install of Woody (30r1)
Andrew Borland wrote:
[New User Alert]
I've just, sort of, completed my first installation of Debian and I'm
ready to start asking questions.
Installation is Woody 30r1 from the .iso images with apt-get configured
to use CDs and also http, so I ended up with quite a bit of stuff
automatically fetched from the security site.
1) Can anybody suggest any obvious reasons why I was not offered any of
the X setup screens during the original installation?
The installer has issues?
Seriously, it's been a while since I've done a newbie-ish install of
Woody, so I'm not familiar with what you've seen during the install. But
I tend to quit the installer as soon as I have a bare minimum setup, and
then work from there. I've had better results that way.
First off, if this is a server, you want to stick with Woody (but then
why X on a sever?). If it's a desktop workstation, and it won't hurt you
too bad to have some breakages here and there along the way in exchange
for newer more recent versions of a lot of the software, I'd suggest you
upgrade to testing or unstable. I have all my boxes on unstable, and
aside from one serious breakage a year or so ago for about a week when
something was broken in PAM preventing logins, and a host of little
stuff like some little program not being installable for a couple of
weeks or etc, it's been quite usable as a desktop environment. Much
better than stable would have been, with its older versions of all the
good stuff, like Mozilla.
Also, you probably have a 2.2 kernel; I'd upgrade to 2.4.
Following advice read elsewhere on this list, I attempted:
but this complained about X not being fully installed - not that I'd
seen any message to this effect during base installation. I'd have
expected a fairly prominent warning about something as fundamental as X
So, in accordance with further instructions on this list, I installed X
apt-get install xserver-xfree86 followed by
apt-get install kdm
(not sure if kdm was essential but it was recommended)
Nah; KDM is just a graphical login screen. Not essential.
After that, when I rebooted, KDE started but I couldn't do anything
with it. The mouse couldn't get more than about an inch away from the
bottom left hand corner
Sounds like you have an issue with your mouse. See the "mouse" thread
and none of the keyboard shortcuts listed at
kde.org were being actioned.
Hmm; keyboard shortcuts. I need to look into those.
2) When faced with such a fatal problem in X, how does one persuade
Debian to boot to a console display given that you obviously can't edit
any of the configuration files.
Uninstall or disable in some manner (several ways to do it) KDE. Or
alternatively, just switch from the graphic console (usually on VT7) to
a text console on the first virtual terminal, by pressing something like
Ctrl-Alt-F1 to switch to VT1. If you want to get back to the currently
running graphical session on VT7, press [Ctrl-]Alt-F7 (the Ctrl is
necessary when going from a graphic session, but optional when going
from a text session).
3) I played with Mandrake a couple of years ago, and I seem to recall
there being separate entries in LILO for KDE or TEXT sessions, can
anything similar be achieved in Debian? I think it was something to do
This was most certainly in /etc/inittab, although LILO may have had some
hooks to call the different runlevels. It's pretty trivial to do once
you understand the basics of LILO and runlevels.
Yes, you could tweak your run-levels to accomplish this, but most Debian
users find it easier to leave them at the Debian defaults and instead
use tricks like the above Ctrl-Alt-F1 technique to manuever around. Once
in a text VT, you can kill KDE with the command "/etc/init.d/kdm stop",
and then start it again later with "/etc/init.d/kdm start" (or you could
reboot, but why?). About the only time the Debian defaults cause
problems is when you have a session manager that automatically loads on
boot-up and X has something wrong that causes the machine to freeze; in
that situation, rather than having different options in LILO, we just
run "linux single" at the "boot:" prompt to start up in single-user
mode, and then fix the problem.
I managed to sidestep the problem on this occasion by SSH'ing in from a
Windows PC (3 cheers for the installation routines configuring the
network) then running dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86 and trying a
different set of keyboard/mouse options. Interestingly I was asked a
slightly different series of questions than I was when I first
I believe the installer's routines for setting mouse/etc up are a bit
different than the routines in the relevant packages that were installed
and/or configured after the installer's routines ran. As you update to
newer packages in the future, you may find that process changes again.
4) Does anyone know which driver I should be selecting to support a MS
Trackball Explorer. At present I have it as a basic PS2 mouse so I
lose the use of the wheel, the extra buttons etc. I originally tried
the iexplore driver but that clearly wasn't what I wanted and, given
the mess it got me into, I'm kind of reluctant to apply trial-and-error
to any of the others.
Not sure, but you might try "imps2" as the protocol rather than "ps2".
Experimentation with mice is one of the reasons I like to run gpm in
addition to the standard X mouse driver; it's easier/quicker to get
results with gpm than with X. See the "mouse" thread earlier today.
5) Unrelated to the foregoing, is there an apt-get command (or any
other command) that basically says "go and get all the security patches
applicable to anything I've got installed" such that I can keep the
system up to date?
Make sure you have the "security" line in /etc/apt/sources.list, then run:
This will update any new packages, including security-related packages.
If you stay with stable, you'll mostly get only security updates. If you
upgrade to testing or stable, you'll get lots of new stuff often, so you
might want to tweak your commands above to just get the stuff from
"security"; I've never played much with limiting the downloads/upgrades
that way, but others can probably guide you on this.
You'll have to run this every so often (daily, weekly, whatever you're
comfortable with). You can even set up a cron job to do it for you
automatically, or with a bit of work, set up a cron to download the
packages, but not install them until you decide to install them manually.