Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Partial upgrade messed my system

Although I am aware of the potential risks of a partial upgrade, due to slow connection I thought I will go ahead with it. I was feeling confident that if things mess up I will be able to handle them. I had installed grep and udev without installing upgraded versions of kmod and pcre.

When I restarted [may be I should not have done that], during boot only the system started throwing errors about grep being unable to find libpcre and kmod not being found. I was able to boot into kdm but my keyboard and touchpad were not working. The root of the problem is still unknown; but I thought of trying installing pcre and kmod. However, to install I had to get to the command prompt at least.

So, I created a Gentoo boot disk using my flash drive and chrooted into my system. I connect using 3G USB dongle and from the chrooted environment the mode was not switched. So, I had to get packages downloaded separately and then install them through the chrooted environment. I should have installed the same version as in my system's pacman database; but I installed the latest one. With that I fixed the boot problems and my keyboard was working but it broke a few other things and kdm did not work any more. When I booted now, it took me to the command line. I reinstalled kdebase-workspace; yet the issue persisted. To make things worse, I found that emacs and irssi were also not working. So, I couldn't get to any IRC channel to ask for help. The only good thing that happened was I was able to get to a command line. So, I did not have to download packages elsewhere and install it.

 When I connected to the internet from my system and ran pacman -Syu it showed me downloads of around 650 mb. I found that many of those packages like libreoffice and 32-bit libs are not absolute necessity from a repair perspective. So, I decided to download a small subset to get my KDE back. I downloaded

  • avahi 
  • ca-certificates 
  • compositeproto 
  • cpio 
  • kdelibs 
  • kactivities 
  • libxrandr 
  • xdg-utils 
  • qt  
  • oxygen-icons 
  • kdepimlibs 
  • kdepim-runtime 
  • libxml2 
  • libqalculate  
  • libxcomposite 
  • libmysqlclient 
  • libvorbis 
  • libshout 
  • sdl_image 
  • zvbi 
  • vlc
 The list above is a subset of the packages pacman wanted to download for the system upgrade; but at the same time they also form a superset of the packages I believed could cause my KDM issues.This solved my problem and now I am blogging from my revived linux system.

Experiments like these should not be undertaken unless
1. You are crazy like me.
2. You have a backup system and have your /home folder on a separate partition so that even if your system can't be fixed, you can install a fresh new system without losing data. [You can also save configurations in /etc.]
3. You have sufficient bandwidth.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Cleaning KDE "Open with" list

I had installed MPlayer and uninstalled it long back. However, since then KDE always showed it in the "Open With" list for media files. Just to make sure it was not installed on my system I ran

pacman -Rcus mplayer

as root. Obviously the target was not found. After some chatting on #gentoo, I resolved the issue by deleting mplayer.desktop file from ~/.local/share/applications. Along with that, I cleaned some other stale applications from that directory.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Alarming state of linux distributions

A random peek at Distrowatch showed me that the top linux distributions were all losing popularity.

Does this mean linux is losing popularity or some rarely known distribution is gaining prominence in the background?