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Old 05-29-2015, 02:08 AM   #1
Lagamorph
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Debian now only booting to command line


Hi all,

I'm once more trying my hand at Linux, but it's been so long that I've forgotten everything I learned last time and going back in again as a total newbie.

I tried out SteamOS first, but found it much too clunky for my tastes and, despite being based on Debian, seemed to have had a lot of functionality removed and inability to install some packages even after adding in Debian repos to the sources.list, so I ended up switching to vanilla 64-bit Debian 8 using KDE as my desktop. At first things were going good, managed to install the AMD Graphics Drivers and get Steam itself installed, along with downloading/installing a few games.
I then downloaded a game from gog.com but was getting an error message, which on looking it up appeared to be due to my only having 64-bit libraries for my graphics drivers and no 32-bit ones. I did some more Googling, ran some commands and did some apt-get installs (though sadly I can't recall exactly what they were) and eventually, the game launched fine and all appeared well.

The next time I started up my laptop though, Debian just boots straight to a full screen command line, not the desktop GUI that I want, and I have absolutely no idea how to either switch back to the GUI, or make it the default again. I'm not sure if I've somehow removed KDE, the xserver (I think?), somehow disabled one of them or just changed the startup preferences.
I'd really rather not have to reinstall the whole system again, so any suggestions will be very much appreciated!
 
Old 05-29-2015, 04:04 AM   #2
descendant_command
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Check /var/log/Xorg.0.log
 
Old 05-29-2015, 10:37 AM   #3
Amarildo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagamorph View Post
Hi all,

I'm once more trying my hand at Linux, but it's been so long that I've forgotten everything I learned last time and going back in again as a total newbie.
For this I recommend you to try Arch Linux. The learning curve is so great you'll learn things you would have never imagined to learn.
Better yet, after you learn how to install Arch, download and install Parabola, it's pretty much "Arch without the non-free stuff in the Kernel".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagamorph View Post
I tried out SteamOS first, but found it much too clunky for my tastes and, despite being based on Debian, seemed to have had a lot of functionality removed and inability to install some packages even after adding in Debian repos to the sources.list, so I ended up switching to vanilla 64-bit Debian 8 using KDE as my desktop.
You have to know two things:

1) SteamOS is in BETA stages so it's not stable
2) SteamOS is NOT intended to be a Desktop Operating System.

SteamOS is only supposed to run their Steam Client in 'Big Picture' mode, even though you can install some Debian apps. SteamOS is a "TV/Console" operating system and doesn't have many of the libraries necessary to run most Debian software. Besides, it's based off of Debian Wheezy so most apps won't work anyway because the current Stable is Jessie. So if you want Debian and Steam go ahead and install Debian Jessie, it has Steam in it's repositories. You also have the ability to backport your AMD drivers on Stable releases of Debian.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagamorph View Post
At first things were going good, managed to install the AMD Graphics Drivers and get Steam itself installed, along with downloading/installing a few games.
I then downloaded a game from gog.com but was getting an error message, which on looking it up appeared to be due to my only having 64-bit libraries for my graphics drivers and no 32-bit ones. I did some more Googling, ran some commands and did some apt-get installs (though sadly I can't recall exactly what they were) and eventually, the game launched fine and all appeared well.
Good!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagamorph View Post
The next time I started up my laptop though, Debian just boots straight to a full screen command line, not the desktop GUI that I want, and I have absolutely no idea how to either switch back to the GUI, or make it the default again. I'm not sure if I've somehow removed KDE, the xserver (I think?), somehow disabled one of them or just changed the startup preferences.
I'd really rather not have to reinstall the whole system again, so any suggestions will be very much appreciated!
I think you probably mixed repos. You know, it's kind of funny how newbies tend to do this hehehehehe. Most of them don't realise that sooner or later their system will be trashed.

The good part is that I also been where you are right now, so I'll help you get your system up and running with Steam, the AMD drivers and it's 32-bit libraries.

So, lets say you just installed Debian. Good. First, download and install rkhunter, it will create a Database of your currently installed system to say "this file system is in good shape and I trust this" (considering you already did a sha256sum of the DVD you used to install the system). I always create a backup of my MBR after install for cases where I mess my partition table, but this requires more thought and I don't want you doing "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda" because of me (DONT DO THAT!!). Things can easily go wrong with DD (Data Destroyer)

Next, lets install the AMD drivers. As the Debian Wiki page says, it's pretty easy:

Add "contrib" and "non free" to your sources.list repository (the file is in /etc/apt/sources.list). So if it looks like this:
Code:
deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie main
make it look like this:
Code:
deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie main contrib non-free
Next, lets tell the system to update and recognize the new packages:
Code:
aptitude update
Good. Now lets install the driver:
Code:
aptitude -r install linux-headers-$(uname -r|sed 's,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,') fglrx-driver
You will notice that a message will appear while you install the driver, and this message says that "usually running aticonfig --initial is enough", etc. It is.
After install, then, you issue:
Code:
# aticonfig --initial
Notice the "#"? It means you must issue this command as root. Otherwise, do it as your regular user:
Code:
sudo aticonfig --initial
If you get a warning saying your user isn`t in the sudoers file, don't worry:
Code:
# adduser lagamorph sudo
Great, we're almost there!

Now reboot.

After reboot, we are going to install Steam and the 32-bit libraries for your drivers.

Lets tell Debian that we want 32-bit applications available to install:
Code:
dpkg --add-architecture i386
Debian now must refresh its repositories list
Code:
apt-get update
Good. Now let's install Steam:
Code:
apt install Steam
Now, the 32-bit libraries necessary for your(and mine too) driver, but first, forget the "ia-32libs" package (or whatever it is called), this collection is ANCIENT and UNNECESSARY.
Code:
apt install libgl1-fglrx-glx:i386
Done. You don't even need to reboot.

Enjoy your Debian + Steam system And you can even go into Big-Picture mode and pretend it's SteamOS, but this time you actually have an Operating System that is designed to be a Desktop OS.

Cheers.

Last edited by Amarildo; 05-29-2015 at 10:43 AM.
 
Old 05-29-2015, 10:57 AM   #4
Lagamorph
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I'll check my Xorg.0.Log when I get home


Thanks for those steps too! A lot of those commands look familiar, though when I installed the AMD graphics drivers I just ran the .deb file I downloaded from the AMD website. I recall something about there being 2 types of drivers, an older set and the newer set. With the ones I installed I also got the AMD Control Panel as well. Is that the same driver as the one installed by,
Code:
aptitude -r install linux-headers-$(uname -r|sed 's,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,') fglrx-driver
Or are those older drivers? I believe the most recent ones on the AMD website (For Linux at least) are 14.12.
I'm also curious, what exactly is this section of that code for,
Code:
linux-headers-$(uname -r|sed 's,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,')
I understand the rest, but that part has lost me, and after this little debacle I feel like I should start to understand the commands I'm going to enter before I enter them.


I did add in the i386 architecture, and the last command,
Code:
apt install libgl1-fglrx-glx:i386
definitely looks familiar, possibly the last thing I ended up running. I think the issue was with the commands I ran before that which I can't recall.


I'll definitely keep those steps as a final resort, though I would like to see if my current setup is salvageable, if only so I don't have a mass of Steam games to re-download.

I realise SteamOS was just a beta, but I thought I'd give it a try as the Valve fanboys were raving about it.
 
Old 05-29-2015, 11:03 AM   #5
Amarildo
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I would never install a driver from the developer's website because the maintenance required is very time consuming, you sometimes need to remove the entire drivers so that you can update your kernel, and then re-install the drivers again. This is why installing them via the packages repository of your distro is the best and easiest way to do this. Besides, AMD drivers for Linux are a piece of crap, you most likely won't get any performance improvement with the latest driver. Also, you can wait a bit until the Debian developers make a backported version of the drivers that exist in Testing/Sid.

Quote:
Or are those older drivers?
They're old, for sure. That command recognizes which kernel and version of Debian you are running and install the drivers that exist matching that release (Wheezy, Jessie, Testing/Sid, etc).
 
Old 05-29-2015, 11:44 AM   #6
Lagamorph
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I'm guessing that
Code:
aptitude -r install linux-headers-$(uname -r|sed 's,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,') fglrx-driver
doesn't install the AMD Control Panel either? I did need to use that to enable Crossfire since it seemed disabled by default.

Is that for a more generic graphics driver rather than the AMD specific ones?
 
Old 05-29-2015, 12:00 PM   #7
Amarildo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagamorph View Post
I'm guessing that
Code:
aptitude -r install linux-headers-$(uname -r|sed 's,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,') fglrx-driver
doesn't install the AMD Control Panel either? I did need to use that to enable Crossfire since it seemed disabled by default.

Is that for a more generic graphics driver rather than the AMD specific ones?
In Linux you have a more established democracy, so to speak. That command only installs the drivers IIRC, so you need to install the control panel apart of that. I do that in Synaptic, just search "fgrlx" and you'll list all packages that are related to AMD's drivers, including the control panel.
 
Old 05-29-2015, 02:44 PM   #8
Lagamorph
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Ahhh I see. If I do resort to a reinstall then I'll keep that in mind.

Ok, as for my /var/log/Xorg.0.log file, it's longer than I expected...and seeing as how my laptop is stuck in a command line only mode, I can't exactly copy and paste it. Is there something in particular I should be looking for to see if it's there or not?


Is there a command I can run to check if KDE is still installed (and if not reinstall it)? Or attempt to switch to KDE mode to see if that at least works?
 
Old 05-29-2015, 02:49 PM   #9
Amarildo
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Which version of Debian are you running? Anything above Jessie (the current STABLE release) will boot at tty1, aparently the guys at Xorg screwed us again... or the Kernel guys... who knows.

To check if KDE is installed: (as root) # systemctl status kdm

Post the results.
 
Old 05-29-2015, 03:27 PM   #10
Lagamorph
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Yes, I'm running the latest version of Debian from their website.

Ran that command and got the following,

Code:
kdm.service - LSB: X display manager for KDE
Loaded: loaded (/etc/init.d/kdm)
Active: active (running) since Fri 2015-05-29
Process: 647 ExecStart=/etc/init.d/kdm start (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
CGroup /system.slice/kdm.service
725 /usr/bin/kdm -config /var/run/kdm/kdmrc

kdm[647]: Starting K Display Manager: KDM
kdm[725]: X Server died during startup
kdm[725]: X server for display :0 cannot be start...ed
 
Old 05-29-2015, 03:41 PM   #11
Amarildo
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Post the output of
Quote:
lsb_release -a
and
Quote:
uname -r
 
Old 05-29-2015, 11:09 PM   #12
Lagamorph
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lsb_release -a result,
Code:
No LSB modules are available
Distributor ID: Debian
Description: Debian GNU/Linux 8.0 (Jessie)
Release: 8.0
Codename: Jessie
uname -r result,
Code:
3.16.0-4-amd64
 
Old 05-30-2015, 01:04 AM   #13
odiseo77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagamorph View Post
Ok, as for my /var/log/Xorg.0.log file, it's longer than I expected...and seeing as how my laptop is stuck in a command line only mode, I can't exactly copy and paste it. Is there something in particular I should be looking for to see if it's there or not?
You should check for lines starting with (EE) as they indicate errors. It's also worth checking the warnings (lines starting with (WW)) and skimming through the whole file for clues about what can be wrong.

You can also save the log file to a USB stick and copy it here from another machine. df will show all your mounted file systems (including your USB stick) and then you can use cp to copy the file to the USB stick.
 
Old 05-30-2015, 07:26 AM   #14
Head_on_a_Stick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagamorph View Post
my /var/log/Xorg.0.log file, it's longer than I expected...and seeing as how my laptop is stuck in a command line only mode, I can't exactly copy and paste it.
Code:
# apt-get install pastebinit
# cat /var/log/Xorg.0.log | pastebinit
Post the link the second command generates here.
 
Old 05-30-2015, 12:36 PM   #15
Shadow_7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagamorph View Post
Is there a command I can run to check if KDE is still installed (and if not reinstall it)? Or attempt to switch to KDE mode to see if that at least works?
$ dpkg -l | grep -i kde

The -l only shows the installed packages, at least on recent versions of things.

$ apt-cache search --names-only kde | sort | less

For modern searching of not installed packages.

$ dpkg-query --load-avail -l '*kde*'

For old style searching, but requires "dselect update" to populate available. This used to be the default behavior of dpkg -l a couple of releases ago.

If it's still installed, you're probably missing the display manager. If xinit is installed you can edit .xinitrc and use startx to start the gui environment. Assuming that everything else is as it should be with graphics card drivers and such.
 
  


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