Hoary cant start X (gdm, I guess)

James Gray james at grayonline.id.au
Mon Jul 18 04:59:59 UTC 2005

On Mon, 18 Jul 2005 02:03 pm, Kevin O'Gorman wrote:
> Now I can't run synaptic, of course, and I have never familiarized
> myself with command-line tools for managing the packages.  Can
> some kind soul give me pointers to things to RTFM?  Or maybe a
> few steps that will help diagnose the problem?

man apt-get

But for starters, you can try my favourite "fix-it" routine when an upgrade 
has barfed part-way through (prefix each one with "sudo" or simply open a 
root shell "sudo bash"):

apt-get --fix-missing update
apt-get -f install
apt-get -u dist-upgrade

As for helping us help you - try looking at the X.org log file, 
usually /var/log/Xorg.0.log and sending anything with an (EE) or (WW) in the 
line (hint: grep ^\(WW\) /var/log/Xorg.0.log).  From the log file:
(WW) warning, (EE) error

A few lines either side of those errors and warnings will give the messages a 
bit more context, but probably not essential.

> I can log into the machine remotely, and I have root access, but I'll
> only rarely be there physically -- this Tuesday plus any Sunday when
> I really need to.  So this is a bit tricky.

Nothing tricky about it :)  From the Xorg log file you can see exactly how the 
X server was started, what resolution/color-depth/refresh-rate its running 
with and whether or not there were any problems detected.  A few weeks ago I 
helped a friend of mine get the resolution and refresh rate he wanted and 
I've never seen his system (it's 2000km away!).  After several modeline 
tweaks and many "/etc/init.d/gdm restart"'s he was sitting pretty with a 
funky 21" widescreen LCD in all its glory!  It can be done :)

Good luck,

A definition of teaching: casting fake pearls before real swine.
  -- Bill Cain, "Stand Up Tragedy"

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