Cannot log into GNOME or TWM after package update

UncleDumu's picture

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Hi folks

I have Squeeze running on an AMD 64-bit powered Toshiba Satellie Pro A300D multi-booting with Win 7 on an extended partition.

The Problem

After a problematic upgrade, I can boot up OK. I then see a new desktop picture with vertical blue stripes apparently replacing the old "Star Fun" rocketship theme. The "doing something" wheel rotates constantly but I can use the mouse. When I log in, I get a choice of GNOME or TWM.

When I tried logging into GNOME the first couple of times, I got an error saying that I could not log into GNOME. I could log into TWM, (a window mgr?) which has a basic UI with no taskbars but a Debian menu via left-click. This worked OK.

But I tried restarting a couple of times, and now I cannot log into X at all.

However I can log into the ttys, and run apt-get. I tried apt-get check and it returned:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done

The Background
Last night I was trying to install Claws Mail using Synaptic and noticed that there were a lot of packages waiting to be removed, upgraded or installed when I went to apply changes. The "upgrade" icon was on in the task bar so I presumed this meant Synaptic was also installing the available upgrades.

The first time I ran the apply procedure there was an error. Sadly, I can't remember the message - just something like "not all packages could be installed."

I closed the apps I was using (just Iceweasel and the standard PDF reader) in case that was something to do with it.

I got a message asking if I was happy to upgrade glibc (?) as this would require stopping PostGreSQL. I used my iPhone to check how to stop the DB properly, as neither Iceweasel, Epiphany nor were working at this point. (the GUI browsers wouldn't open and elinks wouldn't open Google UK.)

After Synaptic finished it told me there was an error. Sorry, forgot to write down the exact message (for the last time ever, you can be assured!) though I think it might have been the "e16" error reported by another user in this apt forum recently. I ran the 'Fix broken packages' menu command, and it told me that the packages had been fixed. I think I then ran Apply again.

I restarted the PC but found I had the problem described above.

So, if anyone can suggest anything, I would be most grateful.

Re: Cannot log into GNOME or TWM after package update

1's picture

I find that aptitude handles complex situation better than other package managers. I'd first go again update/upgrade cycle with: (sudo) aptitude update, (sudo) aptitude upgrade. It may recommend removing obsolete packages and resolving conflicts.

Try installing another window manager/environment like fluxbox, xfce or lxde. Maybe it brings with itself some dependencies which were not satisfied.

Re: Cannot log into GNOME or TWM after package update

UncleDumu's picture

Thanks very much.

Right after you told me about this I managed to run an update & upgrade with aptitude. Things seem to be problem-free regarding updates now.

I installed LXDE and am now happily using it. GNOME is still broken, but it's great that I can just replace it so easily! Try doing that on Redmondware.

If LXDE is good enough for Klaus Knopper, it's good enough for me.

Re: Cannot log into GNOME or TWM after package update

1's picture

Now that you are using a different environment, you might want to get rid of Gnome (evil cackle here).

This is what i found at http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=38121 :

aptitude purge gnome gnome-core gnome-desktop-environment (my modification, aptitude instead of apt-get)

if you use network-manager, you can pull it back in afterwards, as well as any other gnome specific apps you can't do without.