[SOLVED]Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh install

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[SOLVED]Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh install

Postby cds60601 » 2019-06-17 13:55

Hi folks -

When installing a fresh copy of Debian, we are prompted for an environment. I think the default is the 1st listed of the choices (II want to say that it may be a stripped down version of Gnome?) but others are listed. For example, Gnome (assuming its ALL the Gnome bits) etc.

My questions;
1. If you wanted to install an environment that is not listed of the choices, what is the best way to do this. Would it be simply to uncheck the 1st radio button and not install any environment (mainly its just a Debian install without X and all the other bits that go along with it).

2. If you allow the first option to be installed and opted to install something after a reboot etc, What is the best way to actually remove that version of Gnome without removing other dependencies like Xorg etc.

I hope I articulated my points correctly and am hoping there is a way to remove the default desktop without ripping out what other DE/WM need.

Thanks!
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Last edited by cds60601 on 2019-06-18 11:56, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh install

Postby CwF » 2019-06-17 15:00

#1. Yes.
I've done this from a netinst without internet access and decided it was the best way. Let it dump you to a command line and go from there. I do install xorg and aptitude and then a startx gives me an xterm to lauch aptitude with an active mouse. If you happen to be connected to another machine, ssh, or in a vm with vdagent you even have cut-n-paste at this point. After some base utilities are installed, users set, and still no WM or DE, make an image of this = it can be smaller than a CD. Then, experiment...
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Re: Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh install

Postby Bulkley » 2019-06-17 15:17

Then, experiment...


+1. There is no "best" procedure. When starting out from scratch there is no serious loss if you have to start over. It's your machine and your system so what you do is up to you. Have fun with it.
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Re: Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh install

Postby cds60601 » 2019-06-17 15:20

Perfect! This is what I kinda thought #1 would be. Kind of like an Arch install with all being done manually (and I happen to find that more advantageous to install only what I need/want).

I am curious on #2. That would save some time with a current build that is now complete and would rather not have to add one more build to the others but, it that has to be the way it goes, then it must. I am still hoping that someone might have done something similar and can point out pitfalls before I go off and destroy a perfectly good and working install ;)


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Re: Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh install

Postby 4D696B65 » 2019-06-17 15:37

#2 requires a bit of meta-package and intermediate package management knowledge.
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Re: Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh install

Postby cds60601 » 2019-06-17 15:42

4D696B65 wrote:#2 requires a bit of meta-package and intermediate package management knowledge.


While I don't profess to know a poop load, I think the best way to experiment with #2 on the completed build that I have is to simply clonezilla the thing, then try ripping out the meta-package of the default Gnome install and see what breaks. Of course if all fails miserably, I simply revert to the image.

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Re: Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh install

Postby cds60601 » 2019-06-17 23:24

UPDATE: Well, I was able to work my way through moving much of the Gnome from my working install simply leaving my i3 wm intact. I am currently using GDM3 as a login manager. I would have preferred lightdm but the crazy thing just brings me to a flashing cursor in the upper left corner. The odd thing, if I hook up an HDMI monitor to this laptop, I can cycle through the virt terms and end up getting the LightDM login.

If anyone happens to lend some insight on why LightDM (and Slim for that matter) do that in this instance, I would be happy to hear how to get past that. Of course, GDM works flawlessly and comes up but as I mentioned, removing GDM and installing either of the other 2 mentioned results in the anomaly I experience. It almost seems like GDM knows where to pop the login but the other 2 just dont seem to know or put it outside the "visible" connections on this device.

Sorry about not being able to articulate this oddity but damned if I ever saw anything like this!

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Re: Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh install

Postby GarryRicketson » 2019-06-18 02:06

I use 1>
1. If you wanted to install an environment that is not listed of the choices, what is the best way to do this. Would it be simply to uncheck the 1st radio button and not install any environment (mainly its just a Debian install without X and all the other bits that go along with it).

I just use the base install, and install Xorg, WM of my choice, etc , after.
A little of topic, but I wish Debian would provide a base ISO, that had everything needed for the base system, essentials, but not Xorg,X , etc,... the netinstall , is ok, but if you can not , or do not have a internet connection, your out of luck, as far as I know.
For example , some OS's have a ISO that is only 388.3 MiB, and it has everything needed to have a minimal working OS.
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Re: Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh install

Postby Dai_trying » 2019-06-18 05:15

cds60601 wrote:I would have preferred lightdm but the crazy thing just brings me to a flashing cursor in the upper left corner. The odd thing, if I hook up an HDMI monitor to this laptop, I can cycle through the virt terms and end up getting the LightDM login.

If anyone happens to lend some insight on why LightDM (and Slim for that matter) do that in this instance, I would be happy to hear how to get past that.


I am not sure if this is related but I have recently reported a bug against the kernel (4.19.05) that would not allow me to get to a login screen when installing Buster Xfce version (using lightdm) report here during my testing it worked fine with Gnome but not Xfce or Lxde, I had to create an xorg.conf file using the below procedure to be able to get to login, after that everything worked fine. I am now wondering if it might be a bug in lightdm and not the kernel but it started after a kernel update originally.... :?

  1. Switch to console mode: Ctrl+Alt+F1
  2. Kill x server:
    Code: Select all
    sudo service lightdm stop
  3. Generate new xorg.conf file:
    Code: Select all
    sudo X -configure

    This will create xorg.conf.new file in your current directory.
  4. Rename and move:
    Code: Select all
    sudo mv xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf
  5. Return to GUI:
    Code: Select all
    sudo service lightdm start
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Re: Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh install

Postby cds60601 » 2019-06-18 11:55

@Dai_trying

Your reply was super helpful, thank you! I now have have things the way I want on this particular build. I am going to try Garry's method as this appears to be a more straight forward approach.

This small project for a friend has been fun! Its been about a year since I last installed/played with Debian (well, not counting my server).
I may have to reconsider my current Arch setups :wink:

Thanks everyone - most helpful!

C
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Re: [SOLVED]Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh ins

Postby Dai_trying » 2019-06-18 12:08

You're welcome :)
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Re: [SOLVED]Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh ins

Postby None1975 » 2019-06-18 12:20

cds60601 wrote:1. If you wanted to install an environment that is not listed of the choices, what is the best way to do this.

This! Simply select which components you want to install. If you want build your system, choose only standard system utilities (uncheck all boxes, but leave checked "standard system utilities"). When you login to the new system with your username and password, install xorg metapackage and your wm of choise.
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Re: [SOLVED]Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh ins

Postby CwF » 2019-06-18 12:35

#2
Simple, I did say to image that basic install. For practice, take it to a full system, then blow it up...Remove things until you're dumped to a prompt...try to clean it as best you can, then compare it to that clean base image. This will show you the difference between remove and purge, will show you how much is actually left in system directories. This is the basis for me harping on people to learn to fix rather than reinstall, because the learning exercises are straight forward. Yes you can strip a frankendebian down to nothing and start over, and yes it's often faster than a reinstall.

I use one of four images, all were originally Jessie, all now >80% Buster. I've broken them many times, blank cursor, grub-rescue, lots of examples. I haven't reinstalled ever. Things do need broken down into steps, DO NOT rely on sweeping commands to do it magically in one step. APT is really smart, but not that smart. As long as it boots and gets to something, even an empty blinking cursor, it can be fixed. I don't know if it's cheating, but having the image capable of running as a vm, or at least mountable on another machine is sometimes necessary. All four of my images (except i386) run on every machine I use. When I upgrade an image it is usually in a vm, but is always run through on bare metal before it becomes the current. I consider them living images, they will someday be bullseye. I don't allow any auto updates, these do not 'ROLL', they are pushed, pulled, towed when I feel the need and have the time.

On lightDM it seems some video cards do things different. It's best not to have a user xorg.conf if possible. LightDM does jump from screen to screen following the mouse when things are working right, you do have to move the mouse. I run multiple cards each with multiple monitors each without an xorg file, and I've seen it work differently depending on specifics.

For images I use qemu-utils. On all images, any image can be used to re-image any image....
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Re: [SOLVED]Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh ins

Postby cds60601 » 2019-06-18 12:36

None1975 wrote:
cds60601 wrote:1. If you wanted to install an environment that is not listed of the choices, what is the best way to do this.

This! Simply select which components you want to install. If you want build your system, choose only standard system utilities (uncheck all boxes, but leave checked "standard system utilities"). When you login to the new system with your username and password, install xorg metapackage and your wm of choise.


+1
and noted for future use, thank you!

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Re: [SOLVED]Installing another WM/DE not listed at fresh ins

Postby cds60601 » 2019-06-18 12:45

@CwF -

This was pretty much the plan of action I took for a working install. I spent a good portion of last night doing exactly what you mentioned. Little bits here and there and writing down the known bits I know I will need. In the end it all worked out well. I may have some residual Gnome libs but in time I may weed them out (if time allows but as long as they pose no interference - Meh).

You are correct, it is a great way to learn some of the inner workings - but for the future builds, I plan on just a base install with manual additions to get where I need to be for the rest of this project.

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