Debian Squeeze install, Sid, Trinity Desktop, oh my!

Forum: LinuxTotal Replies: 13
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Dec 06, 2010
4:50 PM EDT
Well, I am finally done with a week's efforts at almost successfully jumping from Lenny and a very familiar KDE3.5 environment to Sid and the Trinity Desktop.

====== Debian Squeeze Install: ======

Having installed Debian quite a few times over the course of 15 years, this was not difficult. I used a daily-build of the Squeeze bootable business card for the install:

The build I had, which was some couple of weeks old, had an unfortunate tendency to "hang" for a while with a blank (blue) screen, waiting for something. It would eventually get on with the install, and there were no errors that I could see, but it was not a Good Thing to do that.

I didn't use the "graphical" install, since it's just a change in the display of the same text menues. I'll take the text, thank you, "Advanced ==> Alternate Desktop ==> XFCE".

Being concerned about the "hanging", I ended up doing the install a couple of times, and the last time I decided to do the "Expert Install" which is nothing more than manually choosing ALL the options, and manually selecting each step in the install process. This harkens back about 10 years in the automation process, but it also allows for selecting a pure "Sid" install right from the very start, or Squeeze or even Lenny while it's still the official Stable, if that's what the customer wants.

Using the 44MB "business card" means that the target machine MUST be network attached in order to install. 5 years ago, it was possible to use the "business card" image to install a remarkably minimalistic system without the network, and then connect and do the rest by hand. No more. If there is no network connectivity, there is no install, but this is hardly a concern unless you're trying to use an esoteric F/OSS unfriendly Wifi card.

Once up and running, I put the TrinityDE repository in /etc/apt/sources.list, along with such nice additions as

Prior to rebuilding, I copied my entire /home/bob/ directory to another machine. When I was satisfied with the running system, I copied the entire directory back, which means Iceweasel had all its settings and add-ons, Wesnoth has it's ad-ons, .ssh, .gnupg, .skype, .Virtualbox, and the .kde (and .kde4) directories were available as they were the last time that "everything worked".

This is a Very Good Thing. It also means that if I blow something up, the last working settings are always available to start over.

======= TrinityDE =======

Installing TrinityDE was as easy as any other package set, just let apt-get, aptitude, dselect or whatever your favorite tool is do it's job.

Do add all 4 of the Trinity repository lines, even if you aren't going to be building from source. For some reason, it just doesn't quite work otherwise.

Even though I'm using Sid, I used Squeeze as the target in the Trinity repository. With TrinityDE, and with others such as VirtualBox which do not offer a Sid specific repository, I have had no problems with doing so. When Squeeze launches, and the repositories are updated, I will change them to point to the next "testing".

Ah, the joys of command line computing!

The download took quite a while, because Trinity does not have the immense bandwidth available that the mainline Debian repositories do. No matter, XFCE worked just fine in the interrum.

What I wanted to do was copy over ONLY those things, like bookmarks, password wallets, kmail settings and the like, that I needed. I didn't want all the cruft that had built up in the application menu over the years, for example.

Alas, that was not to be.

Trinity Wallet Manager: would not, simply would NOT, import the old wallet data. I tried copying all the .kwl files into the analogous .trinity/ folder, that didn't work. I tried "Import Wallet" in the wallet manager, but it took it as 460 instances of binary data, not text of passwords or form entries.

Needless to say, without the wallet, I didn't even bother to start Kmail.

Konqueror: although the bookmark.xml file copied just fine, and worked, favicons simply would NOT update. It's a little thing, but I like the way that Konqueror uses the favicons in its menues and I know what to look for. I have a lot of bookmarks in Konqueror, and it's very much a case of "You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone." Also, there are now two status bars at the bottom of Konqueror, one with just the adblock filter showing, redundant to the fact that the adblock icon is also on the "normal" status bar at the bottom of the window, so at some point I'll figure, or find, out how to turn that new one off.

Nepomuk: Started automagically whether I wanted it to or not, I don't, but at least I could turn it off quickly and easily. Hooray.

The answer to these problems was,

$ rm -r .trinity $ cp -a .kde .trinity

This is what I've done in the past when upgrading, and it worked exactly the same as it did before. I got my entire set of KDE3.5 settings back, favicons in Konqueror, passwords in Kwallet, even Kpgp came up without my remembering that I needed it.

Kmail: certainly has been updated, I need to go through and find out more about the changes. There are header changes in the message view window, but at least the email accounts were all scanned, mail downloaded and parsed correctly the first time.

One very good thing about the TrinityDE Kmail, trash compaction WORKS! For all the YEARS I have been using Kmail, I had to delete the /bob/Mail/trash file by hand, "touch trash" to recreate it, just because every time I would try "compact trash folder" Kmail would give the awful message, "for security reasons, compaction has been turned off for trash."

Several months of spam, attachments, family photographs and Debian-User mailing list digests can create multi-hundred-megabyte trash files. The fact that compacting the trash file has been enabled is the first new thing in TrinityDE that I am exceedingly happy about.

Let's hope that the continued development of TrinityDE, as shown by that seemingly small change, is on an evolutionary basis, rather than the revolutionary fervor that caused the need for TrinityDE to be founded in the first place.

I'll post the results of trying to expunge the cruft from the application menu, later.

Thank you for listening, and Don't Fear Trinity. For us hopelessly disgusted with KDE4, it _works_.


Dec 06, 2010
5:42 PM EDT
The "minimal" install image of Debian Squeeze will work w/o networking and give you a "standard" install w/o X

Dec 06, 2010
10:30 PM EDT
Maybe on the CD, but the "business card" and "netinstall" disks, if they cannot bring up the network interface, choke with red screens and terminate the install.

Were you using CD#1?

Dec 07, 2010
1:23 AM EDT
Thanks for the good news on Trinity. I always had a soft spot in my heart for KDE and this could be a very good sign.

Dec 07, 2010
2:19 AM EDT
Netinstall is what I meant to say. That will install a minimal system w/o a working network connection.

Dec 07, 2010
12:25 PM EDT
Quoting:Maybe on the CD, but the "business card" and "netinstall" disks, if they cannot bring up the network interface, choke with red screens and terminate the install.

Really? I have a "server" here in my office that started as Woody installed from net install. I didn't have any way to get through the firewall, and consequently whatever was on the netinstall disk was it. It was real minmal, but it worked. I had to dink around with a Python script I found on the internet to get past the firewall the first time.

I've considered doing the same thing again for other boxes since one can produce a really slim install. That's too bad, I guess things have changed.

Dec 08, 2010
2:52 PM EDT

If Steven says the NetInstall image will do it, maybe he's tried more recently than I.

Woody was the last business card that let me install without network. And of course CD#1, just don't select "Graphical workstation" toward the end, and it won't install anything that isn't core Debian.

Dec 08, 2010
3:26 PM EDT
I've had problems with networking and the Debian Installer in the past. The Squeeze "beta" installer is better. I even did a network install from the business card CD over WiFi - and when I rebooted into the new system I didn't have to jump through hoops to get my wired NIC working through NetworkManager - it all just worked.

So there have been some substantial improvements in the Debian installer.

In the past (and it's not a bad idea for the present), using CD #1 or even DVD #1 is one way to get a full system installed without networking (or theoretically faster, not counting all the software updates after the fact).

Dec 11, 2010
4:18 PM EDT
Yes indeedy-doo, the NetInst disk does, indeed, install a, and I quote, "very minimal system", a total of 430MB including sshd.

Not bad.

However, the BusinessCard image that I just tried (Thank you VirtualBox) will not no way no how install a system without configuring the network first, and having a repository available.

Dec 11, 2010
10:39 PM EDT
430MB. What was the last Micro$oft OS that would install in that or less?

There ain't no more "micro" in Microsoft.

Dec 12, 2010
8:38 AM EDT
> What was the last Micro$oft OS that would install in that or less?

I believe Windows 98 took up about that much disk space. The orirginal Windows 98, not Windows 98 SE.

I did some checking. Windows 95 came on 13 floppies, 12 of which were compressed. Assuming a 2:1 compression ration would put it at about 35 MB for a full install. The Windows 98 SE CD I have here is 632.8 MB, so while could possibly be made to fit in less that 500 MB, it would be a tight fit.

Dec 12, 2010
11:09 AM EDT
Well, that 430MB was Debian, keep that in mind, since Linux can be run in environments like Damn Small and other minimalistic systems that come in at less than 50MB.

The first Debian, concurrent with JD's Win95 above, was 16 floppy disks also, but that was the ENTIRE Debian distribution. I didn't know from "minimal" at the time.

But with a 125MB hard disk, I thought I had plenty of room. Hahahaha.

Dec 12, 2010
11:32 PM EDT
While the ISO of Damn Small Linux might be around 50 MB, I believe a "traditionally" installed system would take more space. I'm not sure about a "frugal" install, though.

Feb 04, 2011
5:27 PM EDT
To update this thread for posterity,

Trinity has shown a few problems to me that I consider difficult enough to try to move on to Xfce.

Konqueror-Trinity has failed to authenticate ANY https certificates. I constantly have to "continue anyway" "forever" every time I go to a new site.

K3b-Trinity has not been fixed to correctly verify CDs and DVDs. This was a known problem leading up to KDE4, but was not fixed then due to the excuse we have all heard, "We're not going to bother, because we're not going to be supporting that code base going forward."

Little things like that really inspire confidence.

Anyway, I've used K3b(KDE4) and I like it very much. Disk writing is something I do on a regular basis, so it matters to me that my chosen tool works well.

So here are the hurdles to abandoning KDE3/Trinity for me: Kmail, Kaddressbook, Kwalletmanager, Konqueror's bookmarks that I've acquired over the decade of use.

Claws-Mail can, and I've tested to make sure it does, import the Kmail mbox files just fine. And I don't mind going to directories full of individual emails rather than the single mbox files, both can be searched and compressed for backup just fine. The seamless GPG function in Kmail is not quite there, but the known problems with Kmail/Kaddressbook and the KDE4 "everything with a database behind it" give me great pause to consider Kmail to be workable going forward.

Konqueror's bookmarks are stored as XML files, which is annoying but not impossible to work through if that's what I end up having to do. At least it's plain text and not some kind of binary format trying to be "helpful".

I can still use Konqueror-4, even though I find it very frustrating that the favicons aren't being correctly used. Almost as if Konqueror-4 rejects any favicon that was stored by Konqueror-3, just out of spite.

And one thing I am looking forward to: clean menus. There are a number of entries in the KDE3/Trinity menus that are "cruft" from having the entire .kde directory restored from backups each time I've (re-) installed my system, in order to keep such things as the password wallets, bookmarks and GUI settings.

Anyway, this is kind of a sad thing for me to say, finally giving up my dream of continuing with KDE3 style into the future. Hopefully KDE4's Kaddressbook/Kwalletmanager will be reliable enough to work while I try to move them over to more generic and agnostic tools.



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