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Frequently Asked Questions for the Gnome 2.2 Backport

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1. My fonts are all wrong. What happened?

You may need to run 'fc-cache -f' as root before logging in.

2. Why do I see 'Gdk-WARNING **: locale not supported by C library' in my logs after upgrading?

Make sure your locales are properly set up. This isn't a backport issue, but the new gnome makes this show up. Run:

dpkg-reconfigure -plow locales

and generate a locale for you and your users.

3. I am using the nvidia binary only driver and am encountering lockups. Why?

Add to the Device section of XF86Config-4 'Option "NoRenderAccel" "on"'. Eg:

Section "Device"
Driver "nvidia"
Option "NoRenderAccel" "on"

gtk+2.0 triggers a bug in the hardware accelerated render code in the proprietary driver. Nvidia is aware of the problem and is supposedly working on a fix.

4. I have another backport installed, and am having many problems. Why?

This is a common problem. In general, mixing backports can be a really bad idea because different packages are dependent upon possibly different packages and versions. I do not make any guarantees on using my gnome2.2 backport with any other backport-- with the exception of the semi-official woody backport.

5. Why do I have unmet dependencies when upgrading?

If you have only the gnome2.2 backport and Official woody lines in sources.list, and haven't installed any other backports, this should not be a problem. However, because a lot of people install multiple backports, unmet dependencies can occur. The most likely reason is because of freetype. Make sure you have woody freetype (2.0.9), and are using the backported versions of fontconfig and libxft2. See the debian mailing list archives for a technical discussion of this issue. To fix unmet dependency issues, uninstall the packages that are preventing the backport from installing.

6. Why does your backport conflict with my xfree86 packages?

xfree86 >= 4.2.1 and < 4.3 is required by gnome 2.2. The gnome2.2 backport provides xfree86 4.2.1 packages, so just install those.

6a. But I need xfree86 4.3. Isn't there anything I can do?

It is possible (but unsupported) to run the backport with xfree86 > 4.2. Please see Xfree86 4.3 with Gnome 2.2 for details.

7. I really don't want to reboot to install the backport, is there anything I can do?

A reboot is recommended after the upgrade because gnome leaves programs running even after you logout. If uptime is of primary concern, logout of X and run these commands:

killev (for evolution 1.0 or 1.2)
evolution --force-shutdown (for evolution 1.4, need to be in X for this)
/etc/init.d/gdm stop && killall gdm-binary
kill `pidof gconfd` (thanks Jerome Warnier)
killall esd

8. Where is the calendar in evolution?

The first time evolution 1.4 starts, the calendar may be collapsed and all you see is Tasks when viewing the calendar. Just use the vertical slider to the left of the Task window (when trying to view the calendar), and slide it right.

9. Why are applications freezing?

If you have enabled sound in gnome, esd (the Enlightenment Sound Daemon) can block applications (including the gnome2.2 media player, totem). This looks like either the application froze, or all of gnome. Use 'esdctl off' and 'esdctl on' to turn esd off and on without closing down esd. 'esdctl off' makes esd free up the sound device so other non-esd applications can use it. Eg, I like to start totem like this:

esdctl off && totem && esdctl on

Unfortunately, this is the current state of sound in gnome.

10. Where are the help files?


rm -f /tmp/scrollkeeper*

and try again.

11. Why is the wrong window manager being used? or How do I change my window manager?

Change it by running:

killall twm && sleep 3 && metacity &

This changes the window manager from 'twm' to metacity. metacity and sawfish are the two that work best in a gnome2.2 environment.

To change the default window manager, run:

update-alternatives --config x-window-manager

12. Why can't I unmount removable media? This needs updating

On some systems, having fam enabled results in file locking problems. If you are experiencing these, run 'killall famd' and see if the problem goes away. If so, consider removing it with 'apt-get remove fam'.

If you want to keep using it, you may also try changing /etc/inetd.conf to have (notice the '-l'):

sgi_fam/1-2 stream rpc/tcp wait root /usr/sbin/famd -l fam

Could also add to /etc/fam.conf:

insecure_compatibility = true

if KDE apps have problems. Please read the fam documentation for details.

13. Why can't I launch my favorite mail program when clicking on email addresses?

The 'mailto' protocol is not handled by gnome2.2. This is what lets you click a mailto link in the browser and have it open a mail reader like evolution. To enable it go to 'Applications/Desktop Preferences/Advanced/File Types and Programs/Internet Services' click 'Add Service'. Then add:

Description: Email
Protocol: mailto
Program to run: Custom
Program: /usr/bin/evolution "%s"

For gnome1 apps, add to ~/.gnome/Gnome:
mailto-show=evolution "%s"

If you are using galeon from Official Woody (not galeon 1.3.9 provided in the backport), make sure it has in Settings/Preferences/Handlers/Programs:

evolution "%s"

Jerome Warnier also provided the following link for an alternative method of setting up mailto handlers in gnome:

14. Why does gnome just hang when I start it?

Gnome is sensitive to network settings. In particular, gnome won't start if your hostname doesn't resolve. To fix this, add to the localhost line in /etc/hosts: localhost yourhostname yourhostname.yourdomain

15. Why is gnome help so slow?

As root run:

yelp-pregenerate -a

This will convert all those gnome help xml files to html, so yelp doesn't have to do it every time you access help. Keep in mind, if you uninstall the package, those html files are still in /usr/share/gnome/help/PACKAGENAME/LOCALE and will have to be removed by hand.

Also, you will want to rerun the command with new versions of the package. Debian does not use yelp-pregenerate for you during install and remove scripts, so you have to yourself. It is worth it though, the speedup is huge!

16. Why doesn't gnome pick up changes to .bashrc? Or more generally, why can't I get gnome do what I want on startup?

Just use $HOME/.gnomerc. Eg:


# source .bashrc
source $HOME/.bashrc

# pull in my custom Xmodmap settings
xmodmap $HOME/.Xmodmap

# have QT apps use anti-aliased fonts
export QT_XFT=1

17. How do I upgrade to Sarge (Debian GNU/Linux 3.1)?

Please see Upgrading to Sarge for details. The instructions should also work for upgrading to Sid (unstable) or future 'testing' releases.

18. How do I downgrade to Woody (Debian GNU/Linux 3.0)?

Please see Downgrading to Woody for details.

19. How do I upgrade to Ubuntu, or some other Debian-based distribution?

Only upgrades to Official Debian Sarge are tested and known to work. To upgrade to another Debian-based distribution will most likely be problematic, and is not tested or supported. Ubuntu in particular has a FAQ: Can I automatically turn my Debian testing/sarge into Ubuntu?. If you insist on attempting this, please downgrade to woody first, then follow your new distribution's instructions on upgrading.