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Year of the Linux desktop

Posted in Linux on 02 Mar 2009 at 09:43 UTC

Every year people say "Is this the year of the Linux desktop?", well I think 2009 is it. Ease of installation has come far since the 1990s, as I prove with the following install story.

After binman180 installed Debian 5.0 (lenny) on his "new" laptop (Celeron 1.3, circa 2000 BC) he wanted to install KDE instead of GNOME, which is the default. Installing the 'kde' metapackage resulted in GDM refusing to start, with some error that neither of us can remember. The error log, had nothing helpful (since GDM was written by the GNOME devs they probably thought error messages would be too cluttered/complicated for users). After purging and re-installing GDM it decided to not even give us an error on the screen, still nothing in the error log.

Clearly GDM wasn't going to work without a huge hassle, so we decided to install XDM instead. Joy! We managed to get the login screen working again! Pity it was still loading GNOME. My next thought was "Maybe if we uninstall GNOME, XDM will load KDE, since it's the only installed DE".... Wrong! After running `aptitude purge gnome` and restarting XDM, it attempted to load a (broken) installation of GNOME... I have no idea why.

After poking around my own homedir, I remembered that mine did the same, in order to make XDM run KDE, this is all that had to be done:

cat > ~/.xsession << EOF
#!/bin/bash
startkde
EOF
chmod +x ~/.xsession

I mean, it's so obvious that you should create a shell script that runs 'startkde' named ~/.xsession, how could I have overlooked it in the first place? 2009: Year of the Linux desktop


Comments

From chrism on 23 Mar 2009 at 00:36 UTC
Sounds like what I went through to get X running around '96-97. Nice to know all the little bits are still the same under the polished distro stuff.

The first PC I ever built I shoved in an old linux hard drive just to test it. It installed. Linus is the future hehe
From Lisi on 27 Mar 2009 at 22:54 UTC
When I install Lenny, as I have on several machines, I either opt to select my own software and install KDE instead of Gnome in the first place; or do a base install and then add. Much easier!
From raz0 on 15 Jul 2009 at 22:30 UTC
Debian never was the most user-friendly distribution. If you want that (which you probably won't, since you chose Debian in the first place) just choose something like Ubuntu? :) Debian is for people who know what they want and are not afraid to to use Google and/or RTFM.

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