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Bug#253806: xvfb: Xvfb fails to start: could not open default font 'fixed'

Branden Robinson wrote:

open("/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc/fonts.alias", O_RDONLY) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)

There's your problem.

I suspect xfonts-base failed to configure; another package which
dumps fonts into /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc failed to configure; or
another package which dumps fonts into /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc is
horrendously broken.

I have a few questions that may help track the problem down:

1) What does "dpkg -s xfonts-base" say?

Not sure since we fixed this particular problem since then (see 2)
However, it was a) installed, b) not broken, and c) the same version as what was current in the repository at the time. I know this for sure.

2) If you reinstall xfonts-base, does the problem go away?

Yes. Though a normal reinstall wasn't enough, but purging it and re-installing it then did work.

3) Are any other packages shipping files in
     dpkg -S usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc

root@hq:~# dpkg -S usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc | cut -d : -f 1 | sort -u
xfonts-base, xfonts-bolkhov-cp1251-misc

Not sure what those bolkhov fonts are doing there. We sure as hell don't need them ..

4) Is anything other than an official Debian package putting stuff in


This one took us some time to figure out and debug, especially since xvfb was not really helpful in telling us what was going wrong and why. Since reinstalling xfonts-base did help (but it needed a purge!) maybe it's a good idea to put the purge-and-reinstall option in the documentation or something..

Floris Kraak
"Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place.
Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are,
by definition, not smart enough to debug it."
   - Brian W. Kernighan

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