How to restore a known working Ubuntu KDE/Gnome GUI setup.


  • Who can use them?
Any student with a cs-region account can use the teaching Linux systems.

  • Where can they be accessed from?

Any CS public lab with thin clients can access the teaching Linux systems. These labs are in MC 2061, and 3022.

  • What if I can't log in?
Each April (between the winter and spring terms), a new release of Ubuntu was installed on the Linux hosts and consequently the initial desktop startup configuration from the previous release in your home account may be interfering with successful login. NOTE. We are assuming you can login successfully via ssh, that is, your password works. You should be able to login to your account via a Solaris host or Imac workstation to accomplish the any re-initialization tasks as described below.

You will want to check that you have account quota prior to doing the re-initialization step below as that may be explain login difficulties. You can do this by typing diskquota while logged into the Solaris environment.

Gnome reinitialization

Gnome startup files reside in the directories: .gnome2, .gnome2_private, .gconf and .gconfd. You can either move them aside by creating a temporary directory in your home directory and then move them into that temporary directory (use the mv command) or simply delete them by doing
rm -rf .gnome2 .gnome2_private .gconf .gconfd

KDE reinitialization

KDE startup configuration resides in the file .kderc and the directories .kde and .qt. To remove these execute the following command while located in your home directory
rm -rf .kde .qt .kderc

Next test to see if you can login succesfully by choosing the Gnome or KDE Session from the login window.

From another account, or the 'failsafe' window manager (see below), check your quota and ensure you're below it. A prime candidate for quota bloat is Firefox disk cache. Firefox cache is set to 0 on mef-fe systems, but firefox doesn't delete cache already on the disk. To wipe the disk cache, delete the contents of: ~/.mozilla/firefox/*.default/Cache

xsession errors

If you appear to log out immediately after entering your userid and password, there may be an incompatibility between the Linux environment and your .xsession file. From another account, check for a .xsession-errors file in your home directory. If it contains lines like
/u/userid/.xsession: 12: /software/x11-mfcfenv/data/xdm/xsession: not found
try moving your .xsession file aside (mv .xsession .xsession.old) and then logging in.

Firefox reinitialization

As of September 2008, firefox3 is now the default version of firefox whereas previously it was firefox2. It is possible that the user may have to re-initialize there .mozilla home directory, i.e., move it aside. You can preserve your bookmarks.html file by copying back into place from the old location. NOTE. Your can find your bookmakrks file by typing
echo .mozilla/firefox/*.default/bookmarks.*
It should give you the file pathname. Make sure firefox is not running while you are re-initializing it.

How do I switch window-managers?

Window managers can be chosen on the login screen, at any time before submitting the password. At the top-left side there is a menu, "Session". There are choices for KDE, Gnome, Failsafe Gnome, and Failsafe Terminal.

The user will be asked to confirm whether they want to use the non-default window-manager. They can chose to use the non-default window manager for one session, or all future sessions.

  • Customizing KDE

KDE can be customized by running 'kcontrol' from the command-line. Some customizations can be made by editing configurations in $USER/.kde .

  • Customizing Gnome

Gnome can be customized by selecting the "System" menu from the top bar, sub-menu "Preferences".

  • Can a user keep using their existing KDE/Gnome configurations?

The user's home directory is shared across the entire student.cs region. Some students may already have KDE/Gnome configurations on other Linux servers in cs; such as in the TrashCFGraphicsLab.

Topic revision: r16 - 2014-05-12 - OmarNafees
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