Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

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Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

Postby HyperHacker » 2010-01-30 01:04

I'm a programmer who's been using Xubuntu for nearly two years, and finally switched when 9.10 seemed to re-introduce a huge number of bugs and (as usual) break sound, and support was nowhere to be found... anyway I have a few questions about Debian.

1) One thing I notice is that the repositories seem to be missing a lot of packages/updates compared to Ubuntu. Many Pidgin plugins are not there, for example, and Transmission is out of date. I tried adding the Ubuntu repositories from the sources.list in my backup, and that seemed to not work out very well (suddenly 1500 updates that couldn't be installed), so I reverted it. Is there a way to get these additional/updated packages in Debian without it trying to turn into Ubuntu and breaking the update manager?

2) I use sudo often for editing config, testing programs that need root access, installing/removing packages, etc; is it a bad idea to add myself to the sudoers file? Having to open a separate "root terminal" window is a bit annoying, and I can't do that in text mode. (I like to mount my Truecrypt volumes in text mode, as TC seems to have trouble if you mount them from within X and then crash/restart X.)

3) Gnome seems to be rather lacking in customization, so I think I'd like to go back to Xfce. What's the best way to do that, that won't leave clutter or break things?

4) I have a crazy 10-button mouse (Logitech MX518) which worked in Xubuntu, but in Debian, button 10 is being read as another button 2. The mouse section in xorg.conf is the same, and I've tried adding Option "Buttons" "10". How to fix that?

5) Xfce has some nice window border themes such as Totem, but Compiz uses the setting from gnome-control-center, which can only see a few of them. Any way to use the others?

6) How to get Japanese characters to display? I only see boxes. A few things like quotes show up as boxes in 'screen' as well.

Maybe more to come (probably after getting Xfce installed). Thanks in advance.
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Re: Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

Postby refracta » 2010-01-30 02:22

1) if you want newer software then you probably want either the testing flavor of debian or the unstable flavor
2) setup sudo or use su
3) debian leaves customization up to the user, you can have both install and select one on the login page
4) use a xorg.conf file that works
5) no idea
6) ???
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Re: Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

Postby Absent Minded » 2010-01-30 02:36

I will try to offer some help with question # 1. there is a backport repository to update some of the things that have been updated since the release of the last stable. Debian has an 18month release cycle so things tend to get a bit old after a while. If you are interested in continually having more up to date packages you could concider using the testing branch. Things do break occationally though. It is however my experiance that testing is still more stable than ubuntu's final releases. Unfortunantly things getting out of date is the price one pays for stability from time to time.
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Re: Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

Postby smallchange » 2010-01-30 02:53

To get rid of gnome use aptitude purge on the most basic gnome libraries. I suspect that dpkg-reconfigure locales will allow you to select a japanese locale.
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Re: Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

Postby HyperHacker » 2010-01-30 20:33

I don't want to switch everything to Japanese; I just seem to be missing East Asian fonts (Chinese and Korean I notice as well).

I do have backports set up, but there still seem to be some packages not present there (e.g. pidgin-awayonlock). Also it sounds like "apt-cache search foo" won't by default look at the backports? I might want to switch to a test version, but can I do that without downloading and running another install disc?

The xorg.conf is the same as in Xubuntu so I don't know why it's not working here. Everything else works, just that one button (which I use all the time in Compiz bindings) is not detecting correctly. :-/

Purging the basic Gnome libraries sounds like a bad idea... a lot of programs depend on GTK, Glib, etc. It looks like I can remove gnome-desktop-environment and install xfce4. Worth a shot...
...but I think I'd better wait for this stupid connection to speed up or it'll take forever :(
Last edited by HyperHacker on 2010-01-30 23:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

Postby 62chevy » 2010-01-30 21:22

Read the testing release note first, it will save you a lot of headaches. If you you have nothing to lose on your partition then I would recommend using the debian-testing-i386-netinst.iso. Lenny and Squeese are to different animals and makes upgrading difficult at times.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

Postby smallchange » 2010-01-30 21:28

Gnome and GTK are not synonymous. Thankfully, I can install many things like wicd and not be forced to install all the bloated gnome libraries.
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Re: Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

Postby HyperHacker » 2010-01-31 02:24

Is it possible to change repositories to get the latest test versions of things, without having to download the ISO? For some reason the installer wants to wipe my hard disk before beginning, which takes hours. :-/
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Re: Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

Postby blasicle » 2010-01-31 04:29

HyperHacker wrote:I don't want to switch everything to Japanese; I just seem to be missing East Asian fonts (Chinese and Korean I notice as well).


For Japanese, install ttf-sazanami-mincho and ttf-sazanami-gothic.
For Chinese, ttf-arphic-uming.
For Korean, install ttf-unfonts.
(there might be others... these are the ones I use)

HyperHacker wrote:Is it possible to change repositories to get the latest test versions of things, without having to download the ISO? For some reason the installer wants to wipe my hard disk before beginning, which takes hours. :-/


You need to change your sources.list to point to "squeeze" or "testing", rather than lenny/stable. Then do a full-upgrade.
Make sure you know what you're getting into: http://www.debian.org/releases/
Enjoy!
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Re: Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

Postby HyperHacker » 2010-01-31 05:17

You mean to replace all of "lenny" with "squeeze" like this?
deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 5.0.3 _Lenny_ - Official i386 DVD Binary-1 20090905$

deb http://ftp.ca.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main non-free
deb-src http://ftp.ca.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main

deb http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main contrib

deb http://volatile.debian.org/debian-volatile squeeze/volatile main contrib no$
deb-src http://volatile.debian.org/debian-volatile squeeze/volatile main contrib

deb http://www.backports.org/debian lenny-backports main contrib non-free
I get some 404 errors from that:
# apt-get update
Ign cdrom://[Debian GNU/Linux 5.0.3 _Lenny_ - Official i386 DVD Binary-1 20090905-08:48] lenny Release.gpg
Ign cdrom://[Debian GNU/Linux 5.0.3 _Lenny_ - Official i386 DVD Binary-1 20090905-08:48] lenny/contrib Translation-en_CA
Ign cdrom://[Debian GNU/Linux 5.0.3 _Lenny_ - Official i386 DVD Binary-1 20090905-08:48] lenny/main Translation-en_CA
Ign cdrom://[Debian GNU/Linux 5.0.3 _Lenny_ - Official i386 DVD Binary-1 20090905-08:48] lenny Release
Ign cdrom://[Debian GNU/Linux 5.0.3 _Lenny_ - Official i386 DVD Binary-1 20090905-08:48] lenny/contrib Packages/DiffIndex
Ign cdrom://[Debian GNU/Linux 5.0.3 _Lenny_ - Official i386 DVD Binary-1 20090905-08:48] lenny/main Packages/DiffIndex
Get:1 http://ftp.ca.debian.org squeeze Release.gpg [835B]
Ign http://ftp.ca.debian.org squeeze/main Translation-en_CA
Ign http://ftp.ca.debian.org squeeze/non-free Translation-en_CA
Get:2 http://ftp.ca.debian.org squeeze Release [89.5kB]
Get:3 http://security.debian.org squeeze/updates Release.gpg [835B]
Ign http://security.debian.org squeeze/updates/main Translation-en_CA
Ign http://security.debian.org squeeze/updates/contrib Translation-en_CA
Ign http://security.debian.org squeeze/updates/non-free Translation-en_CA
Get:4 http://security.debian.org squeeze/updates Release [44.6kB]
Hit http://www.backports.org lenny-backports Release.gpg
Ign http://www.backports.org lenny-backports/main Translation-en_CA
Ign http://www.backports.org lenny-backports/contrib Translation-en_CA
Ign http://www.backports.org lenny-backports/non-free Translation-en_CA
Hit http://www.backports.org lenny-backports Release
Ign http://www.backports.org lenny-backports/main Packages/DiffIndex
Ign http://www.backports.org lenny-backports/contrib Packages/DiffIndex
Ign http://www.backports.org lenny-backports/non-free Packages/DiffIndex
Hit http://www.backports.org lenny-backports/main Packages
Hit http://www.backports.org lenny-backports/contrib Packages
Get:5 http://security.debian.org squeeze/updates/main Packages [13.3kB]
Hit http://www.backports.org lenny-backports/non-free Packages
Get:6 http://security.debian.org squeeze/updates/contrib Packages [14B]
Get:7 http://security.debian.org squeeze/updates/non-free Packages [14B]
Get:8 http://security.debian.org squeeze/updates/main Sources [4209B]
Get:9 http://security.debian.org squeeze/updates/contrib Sources [14B]
Get:10 http://ftp.ca.debian.org squeeze/main Packages [6160kB]
Ign http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile Release.gpg
Ign http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/main Translation-en_CA
Ign http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/contrib Translation-en_CA
Ign http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/non-free Translation-en_CA
Ign http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile Release
Ign http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/main Packages
Ign http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/contrib Packages
Ign http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/non-free Packages
Ign http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/main Sources
Ign http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/contrib Sources
Ign http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/main Packages
Ign http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/contrib Packages
Ign http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/non-free Packages
Ign http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/main Sources
Ign http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/contrib Sources
Err http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/main Packages
404 Not Found [IP: 86.59.118.153 80]
Err http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/contrib Packages
404 Not Found [IP: 86.59.118.153 80]
Err http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/non-free Packages
404 Not Found [IP: 86.59.118.153 80]
Err http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/main Sources
404 Not Found [IP: 86.59.118.153 80]
Err http://volatile.debian.org squeeze/volatile/contrib Sources
404 Not Found [IP: 86.59.118.153 80]
Get:11 http://ftp.ca.debian.org squeeze/non-free Packages [100kB]
Get:12 http://ftp.ca.debian.org squeeze/main Sources [3399kB]
Fetched 9813kB in 5min44s (28.5kB/s)
W: Failed to fetch http://volatile.debian.org/debian-volat ... 6/Packages 404 Not Found [IP: 86.59.118.153 80]

W: Failed to fetch http://volatile.debian.org/debian-volat ... 6/Packages 404 Not Found [IP: 86.59.118.153 80]

W: Failed to fetch http://volatile.debian.org/debian-volat ... 6/Packages 404 Not Found [IP: 86.59.118.153 80]

W: Failed to fetch http://volatile.debian.org/debian-volat ... ce/Sources 404 Not Found [IP: 86.59.118.153 80]

W: Failed to fetch http://volatile.debian.org/debian-volat ... ce/Sources 404 Not Found [IP: 86.59.118.153 80]



[edit] OK, so removing "gnome-desktop-environment" and installing "xfce4" gets me... Gnome, but with a much slower startup and even buggier panels. What. Oh, and PulseAudio no longer works reliably.
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Re: Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

Postby Absent Minded » 2010-01-31 08:26

Personally I think I would reinstall things using your desired DE as the install only takes mere minutes.
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Re: Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

Postby higgins » 2010-01-31 13:39

I get some 404 errors from that:


there is no volatile repo for squeeze

http://www.debian.org/volatile/
http://volatile.debian.org/debian-volatile/


how about some more information regarding "even buggier panels"
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Re: Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

Postby izar » 2010-01-31 13:53

Your sources.list file should look like this:

deb http://ftp.ca.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main contrib non-free
deb-src http://ftp.ca.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main contrib non-free

deb http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main contrib non-free

Your present sources.list file has entries for the Lenny CD-Rom and for Lenny backports, so they should be commented out (add # to the beginning of the lines for those entries). As already pointed out get rid of the volatile lines.
Don't forget to do "aptitude update" after any changes to sources.list
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Re: Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

Postby HyperHacker » 2010-01-31 18:36

Absent Minded wrote:Personally I think I would reinstall things using your desired DE as the install only takes mere minutes.
I might, but in my case the install takes over 8 hours. It insists on completely wiping the hard disk before beginning, and downloading all the updates on this connection also takes a while.

higgins wrote:how about some more information regarding "even buggier panels"
I have vertical panels, which had some issues to begin with - the window list would not use the full height available to it, and some of the notification icons became huge at times. Now, the clock is rotated (which would be nice, except it's using more space it doesn't need); the notification area icons have all become massive and only one shows at a time; the window list switches between one column and two randomly at various events (window focus changing, windows wanting attention, mouse movement over it), sometimes several times per second.

That's one of the reasons I want to go back to Xfce; its panels worked better in vertical mode and they (as with file manager, window manager, and desktop) generally had more customization options.

Don't mean to sound rude, was just a "wait, what?" reaction when I logged in again and still saw the Gnome DE. O.o
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Re: Various questions after moving from Xubuntu

Postby Absent Minded » 2010-01-31 18:54

You "should" be able to avoid the hours and hours of wiping done when formating if you use the expert/advanced install instead of the standard install. For the most part you can just accept the defaults suggested by the expert/advanced install and just make changes to the partitioning process.
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