Installing GNOME2 on Debian (Lenny)

Bit of a blast from the past this one, but having upgraded the disks in my ancient AlphaServer I needed to reinstall Debian (lenny), and thought I’d take the opportunity to record which packages were required for a reasonably minimal installation of GNOME 2.

debian-lenny-desktop

Gnome 2 Desktop

What constitutes a minimal desktop is a bit of a subjective thing and I’ve possibly included a couple of packages that I could have left out but by following the steps below you should end up with a working desktop environment with a display manager, session manager, and window manager etc.

However, before we can do anything we need to be running as root.

$ su
Password:

OR

$ sudo -i
Password:

Update installed packages

Before installing anything it is a good idea to make sure that the list of package database is up to date, otherwise the system won’t be able to find the current version of any packages that have been updated recently.

# apt-get update
Hit http://archive.debian.org lenny Release.gpg
Ign http://archive.debian.org lenny/main Translation-en_GB
Hit http://archive.debian.org lenny Release
Ign http://archive.debian.org lenny/main Packages/DiffIndex
Ign http://archive.debian.org lenny/main Sources/DiffIndex
Hit http://archive.debian.org lenny/main Packages
Hit http://archive.debian.org lenny/main Sources
Reading package lists... Done
#

With the package database is updated there shouldn’t be any problems fetching the current packages later.

Installing X Windows

The next thing to do is make sure that X windows is installed.

# apt-get install xserver-xorg xserver-xorg-core xfonts-base xinit \
> --no-install-recommends
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  cpp cpp-4.2 libdbus-1-3 libdrm2 libfontenc1 libfreetype6 libhal1
  libice6 libpci3 libpixman-1-0 libsm6 libx11-6 libx11-data
  libxau6 libxaw7 libxcb-xlib0 libxcb1 libxdmcp6 libxext6
  libxfont1 libxi6 libxkbfile1 libxmu6 libxpm4 libxt6 x11-common
  x11-xkb-utils xfonts-encodings xfonts-utils
  xkb-data xserver-xorg-input-all xserver-xorg-input-evdev
  xserver-xorg-input-kbd xserver-xorg-input-mouse
  xserver-xorg-input-synaptics xserver-xorg-input-wacom
  xserver-xorg-video-all xserver-xorg-video-apm
  xserver-xorg-video-ark xserver-xorg-video-ati
  xserver-xorg-video-chips xserver-xorg-video-cirrus
  xserver-xorg-video-cyrix xserver-xorg-video-dummy
  xserver-xorg-video-fbdev xserver-xorg-video-glint
  xserver-xorg-video-i128 xserver-xorg-video-i740
  xserver-xorg-video-imstt xserver-xorg-video-mach64
  xserver-xorg-video-mga xserver-xorg-video-neomagic
  xserver-xorg-video-nsc xserver-xorg-video-nv
  xserver-xorg-video-r128 xserver-xorg-video-radeon
  xserver-xorg-video-radeonhd xserver-xorg-video-rendition
  xserver-xorg-video-s3 xserver-xorg-video-s3virge
  xserver-xorg-video-savage xserver-xorg-video-siliconmotion
  xserver-xorg-video-sis xserver-xorg-video-sisusb
  xserver-xorg-video-tdfx xserver-xorg-video-tga
  xserver-xorg-video-trident xserver-xorg-video-tseng
  xserver-xorg-video-v4l xserver-xorg-video-vesa
  xserver-xorg-video-vga xserver-xorg-video-voodoo
Suggested packages:
  cpp-doc gcc-4.2-locales libfreetype6-dev xfs xserver
  xfonts-100dpi xfonts-75dpi xfonts-scalable gsynaptics ksynaptics
  qsynaptics wacom-tools
Recommended packages:
  dbus libgl1-mesa-dri
The following NEW packages will be installed
  cpp cpp-4.2 libdbus-1-3 libdrm2 libfontenc1 libfreetype6 libhal1
  libice6 libpci3 libpixman-1-0 libsm6 libx11-6 libx11-data
  libxau6 libxaw7 libxcb-xlib0 libxcb1 libxdmcp6 libxext6
  libxfont1 libxi6 libxkbfile1 libxmu6 libxpm4 libxt6 x11-common
  x11-xkb-utils xfonts-base xfonts-encodings xfonts-utils xinit
  xkb-data xserver-xorg xserver-xorg-core xserver-xorg-input-all
  xserver-xorg-input-evdev xserver-xorg-input-kbd
  xserver-xorg-input-mouse xserver-xorg-input-synaptics
  xserver-xorg-input-wacom xserver-xorg-video-all
  xserver-xorg-video-apm xserver-xorg-video-ark
  xserver-xorg-video-ati xserver-xorg-video-chips
  xserver-xorg-video-cirrus xserver-xorg-video-cyrix
  xserver-xorg-video-dummy xserver-xorg-video-fbdev
  xserver-xorg-video-glint xserver-xorg-video-i128
  xserver-xorg-video-i740 xserver-xorg-video-imstt
  xserver-xorg-video-mach64 xserver-xorg-video-mga
  xserver-xorg-video-neomagic xserver-xorg-video-nsc
  xserver-xorg-video-nv xserver-xorg-video-r128
  xserver-xorg-video-radeon xserver-xorg-video-radeonhd
  xserver-xorg-video-rendition xserver-xorg-video-s3
  xserver-xorg-video-s3virge xserver-xorg-video-savage
  xserver-xorg-video-siliconmotion xserver-xorg-video-sis
  xserver-xorg-video-sisusb xserver-xorg-video-tdfx
  xserver-xorg-video-tga xserver-xorg-video-trident
  xserver-xorg-video-tseng xserver-xorg-video-v4l
  xserver-xorg-video-vesa xserver-xorg-video-vga
  xserver-xorg-video-voodoo
0 upgraded, 76 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 22.6MB of archives.
After this operation, 58.3MB of additional disk space will be used.
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Fetched 22.6MB in 40s (552kB/s)
Extracting templates from packages: 100%
Preconfiguring packages ...
Selecting previously deselected package x11-common.
(Reading database ... 12186 files and directories currently installed.)
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Unpacking xserver-xorg (from .../xserver-xorg_1%3a7.3+20_alpha.deb) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Setting up libice6 (2:1.0.4-1) ...
  :
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Setting up xserver-xorg (1:7.3+20) ...
# 

I’ve saved some disk space by not installing the recommended packages using ‘–no-install-recommends’ but since this excludes both ‘xfonts-100dpi’ and ‘xfonts-75dpi’ you might want to include them if you know you need them – if you don’t know it is probably safe to leave them out.

Adding the GNOME 2 desktop

Once we have installed the basic packages need by the X windows server we can install the essential GNOME2 components, including the window manager, and a couple of essential applications including the file manager, text editor, and terminal.

# apt-get install x11-xserver-utils gnome-panel gnome-session \
> gnome-applets gnome-icon-theme gnome-terminal \
> gnome-volume-manager gnome-themes gnome-backgrounds gedit \
> nautilus metacity \
> --no-install-recommends
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  capplets-data dbus defoma desktop-file-utils docbook-xml
  esound-common evolution-data-server-common file fontconfig
  fontconfig-config gconf2 gconf2-common gedit-common gnome-about
  gnome-applets-data gnome-control-center gnome-desktop-data
  gnome-menus gnome-mime-data gnome-mount gnome-panel-data
  gnome-settings-daemon gnome-terminal-data gstreamer0.10-alsa
  gtk2-engines gtk2-engines-pixbuf hal hal-info hicolor-icon-theme
  iso-codes libapm1 libart-2.0-2 libasound2 libaspell15
  libatk1.0-0 libaudiofile0 libavahi-client3 libavahi-common-data
  libavahi-common3 libavahi-glib1 libbonobo2-0 libbonobo2-common
  libbonoboui2-0 libbonoboui2-common libcairo2 libcamel1.2-11
  libcpufreq0 libcroco3 libcups2 libdatrie0 libdb4.5
  libdbus-glib-1-2 libdirectfb-1.0-0 libebook1.2-9 libecal1.2-7
  libedataserver1.2-9 libedataserverui1.2-8 libeel2-2.20
  libeel2-data libenchant1c2a libesd0 libexempi3 libexif12
  libexpat1 libfam0 libffi5 libfontconfig1 libgail-common
  libgail18 libgconf2-4 libglade2-0 libglib2.0-0
  libgnome-desktop-2 libgnome-keyring0 libgnome-menu2
  libgnome-window-settings1 libgnome2-0 libgnome2-common
  libgnomecanvas2-0 libgnomecanvas2-common libgnomekbd-common
  libgnomekbd2 libgnomekbdui2 libgnomeui-0 libgnomeui-common
  libgnomevfs2-0 libgnomevfs2-common libgnomevfs2-extra
  libgsf-1-114 libgsf-1-common libgstreamer-plugins-base0.10-0
  libgstreamer0.10-0 libgtk2.0-0 libgtk2.0-common
  libgtksourceview2.0-0 libgtksourceview2.0-common libgtop2-7
  libgtop2-common libgucharmap6 libgweather-common libgweather1
  libhal-storage1 libhtml-parser-perl libhtml-tagset-perl 
  libhtml-tree-perl libhunspell-1.2-0 libidl0 libjpeg62
  libldap-2.4-2 libmagic1 libmalaga7 libmetacity0
  libnautilus-extension1 libnet-dbus-perl libnotify1 libnspr4-0d
  libnss3-1d liboobs-1-4 liborbit2 libpanel-applet2-0
  libpango1.0-0 libpango1.0-common libpcre3 libpng12-0 librsvg2-2
  librsvg2-common libscrollkeeper0 libslab0 libsmbclient
  libsqlite3-0 libstartup-notification0 libsysfs2 libtalloc1
  libthai-data libthai0 libtiff4 libtrackerclient0 libts-0.0-0
  liburi-perl libvoikko1 libvte-common libvte9 libwbclient0
  libwnck-common libwnck22 libwww-perl libxcb-render-util0
  libxcb-render0 libxcomposite1 libxcursor1 libxdamage1 libxfixes3
  libxft2 libxinerama1 libxklavier12 libxml-parser-perl
  libxml-twig-perl libxml2 libxmuu1 libxrandr2 libxrender1
  libxres1 libxslt1.1 libxss1 libxtrap6 libxxf86misc1 libxxf86vm1
  menu-xdg metacity-common mime-support nautilus-data pciutils
  perl perl-modules pm-utils powermgmt-base psmisc python
  python-cairo python-central python-glade2 python-gmenu
  python-gnome2 python-gobject python-gtk2 python-gtksourceview2
  python-minimal python-numeric python-pyorbit python-support
  python2.5 python2.5-minimal scrollkeeper sgml-base sgml-data
  shared-mime-info system-tools-backends ttf-dejavu
  ttf-dejavu-core ttf-dejavu-extra ucf xml-core
Suggested packages:
  defoma-doc dfontmgr psfontmgr x-ttcidfont-conf docbook
  docbook-dsssl docbook-xsl docbook-defguide acpid tomboy cpufreqd
  cpudyn powernowd esound-clients gnome-screensaver xscreensaver
  cryptsetup yelp gnome2-user-guide gnome-system-tools
  desktop-base gnome-themes-extras rhythmbox serpentine wine xsane
  gnome-device-manager isoquery libasound2-plugins aspell
  libbonobo2-bin cups-common synaptic app-install-data esound
  libvisual-0.4-plugins gnome-app-install gstreamer0.10-plugins
  gstreamer0.10-tools ttf-kochi-gothic ttf-kochi-mincho
  ttf-thryomanes ttf-baekmuk ttf-arphic-gbsn00lp
  ttf-arphic-bsmi00lp ttf-arphic-gkai00mp ttf-arphic-bkai00mp
  librsvg2-bin voikko-fi libio-socket-ssl-perl
  libunicode-map8-perl libunicode-string-perl xml-twig-tools eog
  evince pdf-viewer tracker perl-doc libterm-readline-gnu-perl
  libterm-readline-perl-perl cpufrequtils python-doc python-tk
  python-profiler python-gtk2-doc python-gobject-dbg
  libgtksourceview2.0-dev python-numeric-tutorial
  python-numeric-ext python-numeric-dbg python2.5-doc
  binfmt-support sgml-base-doc perlsgml doc-html-w3 opensp
  libxml2-utils debhelper
Recommended packages:
  dbus-x11 libft-perl libgnomevfs2-bin zenity gnome-system-monitor
  gnome-media gnome-netstatus-applet deskbar-applet bzip2
  evolution-data-server gnome-user-guide alacarte dmz-cursor-theme
  gthumb nautilus-cd-burner sound-juicer totem aspell-en
  aspell-dictionary aspell6a-dictionary libatk1.0-data fam
  libglib2.0-data gnome-keyring libgtk2.0-bin myspell-en-us
  myspell-dictionary hunspell-dictionary notification-daemon
  libmailtools-perl libhtml-format-perl libcompress-zlib-perl
  libtie-ixhash-perl libxml-xpath-perl menu uswsusp vbetool
  radeontool
The following NEW packages will be installed
  capplets-data dbus defoma desktop-file-utils docbook-xml
  esound-common evolution-data-server-common file fontconfig
  fontconfig-config gconf2 gconf2-common gedit gedit-common
  gnome-about gnome-applets gnome-applets-data gnome-backgrounds
  gnome-control-center gnome-desktop-data gnome-icon-theme
  gnome-menus gnome-mime-data gnome-mount gnome-panel
  gnome-panel-data gnome-session gnome-settings-daemon
  gnome-terminal gnome-terminal-data gnome-themes
  gnome-volume-manager gstreamer0.10-alsa gtk2-engines
  gtk2-engines-pixbuf hal hal-info hicolor-icon-theme iso-codes
  libapm1 libart-2.0-2 libasound2 libaspell15 libatk1.0-0
  libaudiofile0 libavahi-client3 libavahi-common-data
  libavahi-common3 libavahi-glib1 libbonobo2-0 libbonobo2-common
  libbonoboui2-0 libbonoboui2-common libcairo2 libcamel1.2-11
  libcpufreq0 libcroco3 libcups2 libdatrie0 libdb4.5
  libdbus-glib-1-2 libdirectfb-1.0-0 libebook1.2-9 libecal1.2-7
  libedataserver1.2-9 libedataserverui1.2-8 libeel2-2.20
  libeel2-data libenchant1c2a libesd0 libexempi3 libexif12
  libexpat1 libfam0 libffi5 libfontconfig1 libgail-common
  libgail18 libgconf2-4 libglade2-0 libglib2.0-0
  libgnome-desktop-2 libgnome-keyring0 libgnome-menu2
  libgnome-window-settings1 libgnome2-0 libgnome2-common
  libgnomecanvas2-0 libgnomecanvas2-common libgnomekbd-common
  libgnomekbd2 libgnomekbdui2 libgnomeui-0 libgnomeui-common
  libgnomevfs2-0 libgnomevfs2-common libgnomevfs2-extra
  libgsf-1-114 libgsf-1-common libgstreamer-plugins-base0.10-0
  libgstreamer0.10-0 libgtk2.0-0 libgtk2.0-common
  libgtksourceview2.0-0 libgtksourceview2.0-common libgtop2-7
  libgtop2-common libgucharmap6 libgweather-common libgweather1
  libhal-storage1 libhtml-parser-perl libhtml-tagset-perl
  libhtml-tree-perl libhunspell-1.2-0 libidl0 libjpeg62
  libldap-2.4-2 libmagic1 libmalaga7 libmetacity0
  libnautilus-extension1 libnet-dbus-perl libnotify1 libnspr4-0d
  libnss3-1d liboobs-1-4 liborbit2 libpanel-applet2-0
  libpango1.0-0 libpango1.0-common libpcre3 libpng12-0 librsvg2-2
  librsvg2-common libscrollkeeper0 libslab0 libsmbclient
  libsqlite3-0 libstartup-notification0 libsysfs2 libtalloc1
  libthai-data libthai0 libtiff4 libtrackerclient0 libts-0.0-0
  liburi-perl libvoikko1 libvte-common libvte9 libwbclient0
  libwnck-common libwnck22 libwww-perl libxcb-render-util0
  libxcb-render0 libxcomposite1 libxcursor1 libxdamage1
  libxfixes3 libxft2 libxinerama1 libxklavier12
  libxml-parser-perl libxml-twig-perl libxml2 libxmuu1 libxrandr2
  libxrender1 libxres1 libxslt1.1 libxss1 libxtrap6 libxxf86misc1
  libxxf86vm1 menu-xdg metacity metacity-common mime-support
  nautilus nautilus-data pciutils perl perl-modules pm-utils
  powermgmt-base psmisc python python-cairo python-central
  python-glade2 python-gmenu python-gnome2 python-gobject
  python-gtk2 python-gtksourceview2 python-minimal python-numeric
  python-pyorbit python-support python2.5 python2.5-minimal
  scrollkeeper sgml-base sgml-data shared-mime-info
  system-tools-backends ttf-dejavu ttf-dejavu-core
  ttf-dejavu-extra ucf x11-xserver-utils xml-core
0 upgraded, 214 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
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Creating config file /etc/gconf/2/path with new version
Setting up libglib2.0-0 (2.16.6-3) ...
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Adding system user `messagebus' (UID 102) ...
Adding new group `messagebus' (GID 104) ...
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Not creating home directory `/var/run/dbus'.
Starting system message bus: dbus.
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Updating font configuration of fontconfig...
Cleaning up category cid..
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Updating category type1..
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Updating fontconfig cache for /usr/share/fonts/truetype/ttf-dejavu
Cleaning up old fontconfig caches... done.
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*** So we are trying to force to generate pangox.aliases...
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Aborting MAKEDEV invocation.
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Reloading system message bus config...done.
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#

#

For a really minimal system we don’t need to install anything else but a graphical login looks so much better so I usually install a display manager.

# apt-get install gdm xserver-xephyr --no-install-recommends
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  gksu gnome-keyring libdmx1 libgksu2-0 sudo xauth
Suggested packages:
  libpam-gnome-keyring
Recommended packages:
  zenity gdm-themes xbase-clients
The following NEW packages will be installed
  gdm gksu gnome-keyring libdmx1 libgksu2-0 sudo xauth xserver-xephyr
0 upgraded, 8 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
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No /etc/sudoers found... creating one for you.
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Setting up gksu (2.0.0-8) ...
Setting up gdm (2.20.7-4lenny1) ...
Adding group `gdm' (GID 108) ...
Done.
Warning: The home dir /var/lib/gdm you specified already exists.
Adding system user `gdm' (UID 104) ...
Adding new user `gdm' (UID 104) with group `gdm' ...
The home directory `/var/lib/gdm' already exists.
Not copying from `/etc/skel'.
adduser: Warning: The home directory `/var/lib/gdm' 
         does not belong to the user you are currently creating.
usermod: no changes
usermod: no changes
usermod: no changes
Scheduling reload of GNOME Display Manager configuration: gdm.
Setting up xserver-xephyr (2:1.4.2-10.lenny4) ...
#

You could leave out the ‘gnome-backgrounds’ package, but it doesn’t take up much disk space.

Customizing the login screen

Finally if you want to change the default login screen you need to edit the ‘gdm’ configuration file. My personal preference is to use a plain greeter and to remove the configuration options. Normally I wouldn’t usually use a wallpaper but the selection below looks pretty good.

# nano /etc/gdm/gdm.conf

# GDM Custom Configuration file.
#
[daemon]
Greeter=/usr/lib/gdm/gdmlogin

[security]

[xdmcp]

[gui]
AllowGtkThemeChange=false

[greeter]
Browser=false
BackgroundType=1
BackgroundColor=#5891BC
BackgroundImage=/usr/share/pixmaps/backgrounds/gnome/translucent/ellipsis.svg
LockPosition=true
ChooserButtonLogo=/usr/share/pixmaps/gdmDebianLogo.xpm
Logo=
ChooserButton=false
DefaultWelcome=false
Welcome=\s\t\t\t\tWelcome\t\t\t\t\s
SoundOnLogin=false

[chooser]

[debug]

[servers]

Note – When specifying the path to a background image make sure there are no trailing spaces.

For these changes to take effect you need to restart the display manager.

# /etc/init.d/gdm restart
Stopping GNOME Display Manager: gdm.
Starting GNOME Display Manager: gdm.
[4195020.836523] [drm] Setting GART location based on new memory map
[4195020.910741] [drm] Loading R100 Microcode
[4195020.960546] [drm] writeback test succeeded in 1 usecs
# 

debian-lenny-login-screen

Logon Screen

That is really all there is to it, however this is just a minimal system without any frills and the bare minimum number of applications, to do anything useful you are going to need to install some additional packages.

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