Debian adventures

This is post is a rant. So don’t complain, I warned you.

<rant>
On my laptop (Macbook 4,1) I run Debian testing/experimental which was running quite smoothly since I installed it apart from the couple few weeks.

The first problem I faced was java not running inside browsers. Firefox, Iceweasel, Opera, google-chrome…nothing. I spent at least 2 hours installing/uninstalling various java packages, moving plugins to new locations and I couldn’t get it to work. I was furiously googling about the issue until I hit the jackpot: squeeze : in case you have no network connection with java apps …

Today I upgraded xserver-xorg-input-synaptics from 1.2.0-2 to 1.2.1-1. Even though it is a minor version bump a kind fairy also told me to reboot…I rebooted and my touchpad was not working properly, tapping was lost, I couldn’t use synclient because shared memory config (SHM) was not activated and so on and so on. My dynamic config using hal was there, /var/log/Xorg.0.log said that I was using the proper device and lshal showed correct settings for the device. I read /usr/share/doc/xserver-xorg-input-synaptics/NEWS.Debian.gz nothing new. After some googling another jackpot: Bug#564211: xserver-xorg-input-synaptics: Lost tapping after upgrading to 1.2.1-1. For some reason touchpad config has moved to udev from hal and the maintainers didn’t think it was important enough that needed to be documented someplace or put it in README.Debian…

The last issue I am having is with linux-image-2.6.32-trunk-686-bigmem not working correctly with KMS and failing with DRM.
[ 0.967942] [drm] set up 15M of stolen space
[ 0.968030] nommu_map_sg: overflow 13d800000+4096 of device mask ffffffff
[ 0.968085] [drm:drm_agp_bind_pages] *ERROR* Failed to bind AGP memory: -12
[ 0.968159] [drm:i915_driver_load] *ERROR* failed to init modeset
[ 0.973067] i915: probe of 0000:00:02.0 failed with error -28

linux-image-2.6.32-trunk-686 works fine with those though.
[ 0.973466] [drm] set up 15M of stolen space
[ 1.907642] [drm] TV-16: set mode NTSC 480i 0
[ 2.137173] [drm] LVDS-8: set mode 1280x800 1f
[ 2.193497] Console: switching to colour frame buffer device 160x50
[ 2.197435] fb0: inteldrmfb frame buffer device
[ 2.197436] registered panic notifier
[ 2.197442] [drm] Initialized i915 1.6.0 20080730 for 0000:00:02.0 on minor 0

Xorg is amazingly sluggish using linux-image-2.6.32-trunk-686-bigmem kernel. I search the debian bugs database and noone seems to have reported such an issue. But google came up with: [G35/KMS] DRM failure during boot (linux 2.6.31->2.6.32 regression). The issue looks solved so I will try and report it to Debian and see what comes out of it…
*Update* Bug Report: http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=567352

If you dare to comment saying “that’s what you get for using experimental” I really hope and curse you to spend 3 hours today to try and figure out what has changed in a minor version upgrade of one of your installed packages.
Even worse, if you are on those guys that kept telling me “don’t use stable, testing is stable as a rock, never had a problem in years…” then I curse you to spend a whole day trying to reconfigure something with no documentation :P
<rant></rant>

12 Responses to “Debian adventures”

  1. January 28th, 2010 | 19:15
    Using Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox 3.5.7 on Ubuntu Linux Ubuntu Linux

    You forgot to properly close your rant tag.

  2. January 28th, 2010 | 19:20
    Using Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox 3.6 on Linux Linux

    better ? :P

  3. January 28th, 2010 | 19:33
    Using Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox 3.5.7 on Ubuntu Linux Ubuntu Linux

    Yes, my OCD is now satisfied. Thank you. :P

  4. January 29th, 2010 | 19:07
    Using WordPress WordPress 2.9.1

    […] which was running quite smoothly since I installed it apart from the couple few weeks. More here The first problem I faced was java not running inside browsers. Firefox, Iceweasel, Opera, […]

  5. January 29th, 2010 | 20:59
    Using PHP PHP

    […] loving Solaris. Not that I hate Linux nowadays [*], I’ve just grown too old to accept things breaking or changing for little reason every now and […]

  6. January 30th, 2010 | 01:14
    Using Debian IceWeasel Debian IceWeasel 3.5.6 on Debian GNU/Linux Debian GNU/Linux

    Recently (and in a sense radical) changes in Debian are pretty exciting to say the least

  7. GregE
    January 30th, 2010 | 02:51
    Using Google Chrome Google Chrome 4.0.249.43 on Linux Linux

    In recent times I have noticed that packages are moving from unstable to testing far too quickly. I was plagued by an issue with libsambaclient that stopped me browsing samba shares. The system would keep asking for a non-existent password. My solution was to extract the older version from the stable package and overwrite the installed. It took two updates before this was fixed, and somehow these packages moved from unstable to testing. Testing used to be stable enough for everyday use, now I am not so sure. I also suffered from the touch pad issue with my netbook. I had enough with that one and installed a netbook specific distro in place of Squeeze. I need my netbook to “just work”, so perhaps squeeze was not a great idea to start with.

    If you are interested, I have moved my main desktop to Sidux with a KDE 4.3.4 desktop and I am having far less issues than I did running Squeeze/Sid. Despite the fact that Sidux is Sid with a few extra packages and scripts it is working well for me. The wiki has a good area on problem upgrades, but you do need to browse the online manual to ensure you use the approved method of updating.

    cheers

  8. Murf
    January 31st, 2010 | 15:42
    Using Mozilla Mozilla 1.9.3a1pre on Linux Linux

    Been there, done that, used to curse too.

    But it’s where you learn, and I’ll bet that the next time it’ll take you much less time diagnosing an issue when it arises, be it touchpad or anything else…

    Solve your prob, document it, share it in a blog, and someone else will benefit from it.

    Somedays you’ll benefit from someone elses blog articles too…

    :)

  9. January 31st, 2010 | 19:47
    Using Debian IceWeasel Debian IceWeasel 3.5.6 on Debian GNU/Linux Debian GNU/Linux

    > Solve your prob, document it, share it in a blog, and someone else will benefit from it.

    Yep, I also had that Java issue, thanks for the link!!

  10. February 2nd, 2010 | 06:41
    Using WordPress WordPress 2.9.1

    […] Debian adventures […]

  11. DMM
    February 3rd, 2010 | 14:53
    Using Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox 3.5.7 on Mac OS X Mac OS X 10

    I have a newish macbook pro, and being a long time debian user, i’ve often considered fixing it for a multi boot, so as to try debian on the mac.

    Well done on persevering, I must say I’ve probably wasted an equal amout of time getting macports to do what I want, and learning to compile on osx.

  12. tricqster
    February 7th, 2010 | 15:43
    Using Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox 3.5.6 on Fedora Linux Fedora Linux

    After some time of distro-hopping, I’ve dicided to settle with one distribution, the choice was Debian testing. Stable was too outdated for me. I’ve read many times, that Debian testing is more stable, than stable version in another distributions.
    I was surprised, but I had a several problems. Wrong color depth (had to set it up in xorg), maximizing window was partially hidden behind panel, problems with network manager… and other problems. After several weeks, I’ve tried again. Some problems remained, some not, but another appeared. So another try after several weeks… Still wrong color depth, but this time, I wasn’t able to set it in xorg, changing backlight didn’t work (this one was really annoying), and several other problems. After one update, colordepth, and backlight was fixed.
    I don’t know, if it’s just me, but even fedora, or archlinux was much more stable and painless for me.

Leave a reply