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Old 11-07-2005, 01:21 PM   #1
shinyblue
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Red face dist-upgrade leaves me unable to start X


running Debian Etch (testing).

dist-upgraded and I think in "upgrading" to XOrg from the perfectly working XFree86 I now cannot use my machine (well, can't start X).

The error is "Xsession: Can't write to /tmp" in an X dialogue box.

* /tmp is not mounted anywhere special - just a directory in /
* df shows 6Gb space free.
* /tmp has every permission possible set. (and why would a dist-upgrade change that anyway?)

What's worse is that XFree86 seems to have gone completely, so I can't downgrade to it, which I would have liked to do until Xorg becomes a little more stable (moving to XOrg on my laptop gave me lots of headaches too, so have pinned to XFree86).

Can anyone help? I've seen lots of posts of people saying "oh, I see, my disk is full" but this isn't me!

thanks in advance!
 
Old 11-08-2005, 03:50 AM   #2
bobbens
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try copying your /etc/X11/XF84Config-4 to /etc/X11/xorg.conf . It might work. Besides that, what graphic card are you using?
 
Old 11-08-2005, 04:12 AM   #3
shinyblue
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Quote:
Originally posted by bobbens
try copying your /etc/X11/XF84Config-4 to /etc/X11/xorg.conf . It might work. Besides that, what graphic card are you using?
Thanks, I'll try that tonight (it's my home machine). Graphics card (?!) - will find out, can't remember off hand.
 
Old 11-08-2005, 02:32 PM   #4
shinyblue
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Question

Quote:
Originally posted by bobbens
try copying your /etc/X11/XF84Config-4 to /etc/X11/xorg.conf . It might work. Besides that, what graphic card are you using?
Tried that, made no difference whatsoever.

Graphics card: (from lspci) ATI Technologies Inc RV280 [Radeon 9200 SE]

I can get X going as root, if that's useful?

thanks.
 
Old 11-08-2005, 03:25 PM   #5
shinyblue
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OK, here we go, this is driving me mad...

This is from /etc/X11/Xsession:

----------------------8<-------------------
WRITE_TEST=$(tempfile)
if ! echo "*" >>"$WRITE_TEST"; then
message "warning: unable to write to ${WRITE_TEST%/*}; X session may exit" \
"with an error"
fi
rm -f "$WRITE_TEST"
----------------------8<-------------------

Now, this is what fails. BUT the weird thing is that I CAN write to "${WRITE_TEST}xxx", and any other filename I make up for /tmp

aaaaaaaaaaaargh! please, can anyone help?!!
 
Old 11-14-2005, 10:17 AM   #6
bobbens
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Quote:
Originally posted by shinyblue
Tried that, made no difference whatsoever.

Graphics card: (from lspci) ATI Technologies Inc RV280 [Radeon 9200 SE]

I can get X going as root, if that's useful?

thanks.
Mmmm, i sincerely don't have any idea what's going on. I got a RADEON 9600 working outta the box (using default ATI module and only software 3d) and most of my graphic card tests have gone well. To tell you the truth, unless some extreme guru who knows about this can fix this, i'd say the best thing you could do is save configuration files and all important things (unless they are on separate partitions) and re-install debian. I had gone without reinstalling for 5 months now (record, including summer though in which i wasnt able to use the current computer) and have found it goes muuuch smoother after reinstalling, and it fixes some strange quirks that appear without an apparently logical reason. If the permissions are set to 777 on /tmp (like mine, but i havent touched that so it must be default). I had an almost perfectly smooth transition from XFree86 to X.org a while back (on SID) and basically just had to redo the xorg.conf, but no tmp problem. Maybe try updating again or reinstall...
 
Old 11-14-2005, 10:46 AM   #7
shinyblue
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Red face

ohmylife. "reinstall debian"? I have not heard that sort of thing since my enslaved Windoze days where your first call for debugging was repeat, reboot, re-install the entire operating system. Thanks for your help, but I really don't want to do that. Not that it would/should matter, but I'd like to maintain my support for debian, and if it came to a reinstall I would probably ditch it and try something else.

:-(

thanks for your post anyway.
 
Old 11-14-2005, 11:07 AM   #8
bobbens
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Quote:
Originally posted by shinyblue
ohmylife. "reinstall debian"? I have not heard that sort of thing since my enslaved Windoze days where your first call for debugging was repeat, reboot, re-install the entire operating system. Thanks for your help, but I really don't want to do that. Not that it would/should matter, but I'd like to maintain my support for debian, and if it came to a reinstall I would probably ditch it and try something else.
But before you try anything have you tried an apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade? maybe a newer version of x.org will fix it. Or try some "apt-get remove --purge" and reinstall the x-server and such.

I don't see re-installing as the way you see it. I find it can actually speed up and clean a computer quite a bit. Especially once you've been trying alot of things, since debian is a binary distribution and the package maintainer's aren't perfect, so sometimes in updates and stuff you can get some files left around here and there, plus if you forget about something or so on. Of course this is with my testing machines and my main one (running SID), my server and "stable" machines running debian stable run perfectly and only get apt-get dist-upgrade for security patches. Even though debian Etch seems like a rock stable distro, don't forget it *is* testing so it's technically not stable and wierd things like this can happen.
 
Old 11-14-2005, 11:17 AM   #9
samael26
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Hi,

May I add something ? I agree with the previous poster about re-installing periodically. Why not ?
Each time it helps you understand a bit more about the process. This time, if you install apt-listbugs
right after the OS, you will see that it warns you against problematic packages.
Also, never, IMO do a full dist-upgrade, but with apt-listbugs, examine each package as it asks for
upgrading. Why upgrade, unless you have new hardware, anyway ? Stay on what you're comfortable
with, and get the things you need. You can run sarge with any package or kernel of your choice by
modifying your sources.list and restore them once you 've got your new toy in etch or sid...
As long as it is not the full new KDE or Gnome...
cheers
 
Old 11-14-2005, 11:42 AM   #10
Xian
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What are the permissions on your /tmp folder?
Mine are below:

Code:
$ ls -ld /tmp/
drwxrwxrwt  13 root root 4096 2005-11-14 11:38 /tmp/
 
Old 11-14-2005, 06:19 PM   #11
kushalkoolwal
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yeah try the following:

chmod 1777 /tmp/


Good Luck
 
Old 11-14-2005, 08:02 PM   #12
Tons of Fun
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Another option would be to go back to xfree86. You could remove x.org with the --purge option and the simply apt-get install xserver-xfree86.

Is there a reason that you wanted to switch to x.org? I read a lot about people being very happy that x.org is finally available for Debian, but I cannot find anything wrong with xfree86. If there is a good reason to switch, and maybe there is, I would look into it, but so far noone has been able to explain why x.org is better.

Good luck!

 
Old 11-15-2005, 03:45 PM   #13
JeromeP1
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I had the same problem after a dist-upgrade in etch but it was because of a hardware detection problem with udev and hotplug ! See your boot messages.
I removed and purged hotplug and reinstalled udev (and automatic hotplug too) and the xserver (xorg) started again.

Give it a try.
 
Old 11-15-2005, 07:21 PM   #14
macondo
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I just dist-upgraded from Sarge to Etch after reading your post.

Assuming you changed the sources.list to testing and inmediately after did a ' apt-get update' and 'apt-get dist-upgrade', it takes quite a while (something like 230 packages). A dialog box comes pointing to xorg by default, so I took it, (never used xorg before). After a while it gave me an error suggesting to install x-window-system or x-window-system-core, which i did. Them gave me an error suggesting to include a couple of more packages, which i did. Then i did a Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to get out, did a 'startx' and that was it. Perfect!
 
Old 11-16-2005, 04:47 AM   #15
shinyblue
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thanks, all posters!

I'd done most of the stuff you guys said before posting. To answer some of the other questions/opinions:

* I didn't want -specifically- to upgrade to xorg, but I do do regular dist-upgrades, which is what did it. I'd hoped that later dist-upgrades would've fixed it but they didn't.

* I'm aware that sarge is stable and that I'm playing with fire and should expect stuff to break occasionally. I don't resent this, I hope to help by learning more. I'm more gung-ho than you who would read every bug list before updating because -while important to me- these are personal machines and I don't have the time (of course you can argue, given this post, that "a stitch in time saves nine" and all that...!)

Ok, here's a bit more on the mystery, and then what I did to get it working again, in case this is of use to anyone in the community.

In case it was something in my /home/user, I deleted EVERYTHING in /home/user (after backing up!), all the hidden files and folders, too. Still got same error, couldn't boot.( Along the way I found that Gnome would boot where KDE often wouldn't.)

Ok this is what I did to get my stystem back:

1. create new user account, userA (my original user account I shall call userX)
2. start X for that (it works)
3.
su
cd /home
tar -czf working.tgz userA
mv userX/* userA/ -f
tar -xzf working.tgz
rm working.tgz
4. started X again, to check. yes still working.
5.
su
cd /home
rm userX -rf
mv userA userX
chown userX.userX userX -R

Set up all my stuff again.

The keyboard stuff is a regular headache with updates of the X display manager (I use kdm) and I found problems getting my UK keyboard functioning properly, in fact I haven't mastered it yet which means that it's impossible to switch to a text console from within X (Ctrl+Alt+F2 etc don't work).

:-|
 
  


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