How I Accidentally Un-Installed Synaptic - The Debian Chronicles

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Mar 22, 2007 8:02 AM EDT; By Scott Ruecker (Phoenix, USA)
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LXer Feature: 22-Mar-2007

I install, begin to configure and unknowingly make a mistake in the second installment of my adventures in Debian-land.

The next day I got started on the to-do list we made in Part 1. After I got the Video card and CD drive switched out I wanted to erase Ubuntu and re-format the partition it was on. My friend suggested I use GParted so I took his advice and downloaded the Live-CD, burned it to CD-R and re-booted the computer directly into the program. GParted quickly read the two hard drives and provided a nice straight forward menu of all the partitions. Here's what they looked like:

hda1 ext/3 4.6g Ubuntu install.
hda2 swap 1.4g 'linux-swap' partition.
hda3 ntfs 15g Windows-XP install.
hda4 fat-32 16.4g Empty windows partition.
hdb1 fat-32 60g Where I was going to install Debian.

You may be asking yourself why I went through the trouble to erase a perfectly good Ubuntu install and change the format on the partition for no reason, good question. If I'm installing Debian why should I keep Ubuntu around if I never use it and I had never used GParted and wanted to check it out. It could be used to test other Linux Distributions like Sidux or PCLinuxOS and Damn Small Linux, or DSL for short. I formatted hda1 and then hdb1 to ReiserFS and then had to boot into Windows and use its partition program to reformat hda4 fat-32 partition into NTFS so that Windows would actually let me install programs and games on it. Why am I keeping Windows again?

I felt bad using a whole CD-R disk for a 35meg install program but it was a whole lot cheaper than downloading and burning four or five DVD's of software that would only get used once. With a fresh pot of coffee all to myself and the to-do list completed I finally put "the rubber to the road". I started a pot of coffee, put the install disk in and re-booted the computer..

After answering the basic questions like name, language and location, the install program asked me where I wanted to install it. I chose hdb1 as the destination and slammed my second cup of coffee as I watched the install program pull everything from the Internet and install it at the same time. I was sweating a little from the excitement, trepidation and seriously strong coffee I make. On the boot screen Debian was added to the list of boot options but I noticed is that there was still an option for Ubuntu even though it wasn't there anymore, I'll worry about that later. It was now done with the basic installation. I got XChat up and running and got on IRC with my friend so that I could ask him for help if I needed it, which I did, a lot.

I thought that I would be able to choose the GUI during the install with but Gnome is the default GUI when doing a net install. Gnome is nice but I have been using KDE for 3 or 4 years now and I am kinda stuck on it. With the basic install done, it was time to really get my feet wet setting up and using Synaptic. My friend had all kinds of info and helped me configure it like his and we added repositories and all kinds of stuff so I would be able to get all KDE and all software I could ever want.

So my friend asks, "You like KDE right?, you want to upgrade to KDE 3.5.6?, it should be easy", I respond with my best Forrest Gump impression "okay". He guided me through configuring Synaptic and the software repositories. We enabled the 'experimental' repositories at which point he tells me that "very few people run Debian using the experimental repositories all the time but don't worry we are only going to enable them long enough to get the KDE upgrade and then we will go back to using the stable and testing repo's". I followed his direction and we got the experimental repositories loaded into Synaptic and I checked the KDE packages for upgrade.

This is where I made a critical mistake, I didn't look closely (or at all really) at what the program listed as going to be installed, upgraded and (especially) un-installed. I was completely unaware of challenge that lay in front me as I hit the apply button...

Everything upgraded and looked to fine and dandy until I went to open up Synaptic again, because it wasn't there. At first I thought I was just wasn't seeing it but nope, it was gone. I had somehow managed to un-install the software installation program on my own computer. Only I could do something that stupid, My grandfathers words rang in my head "The only difference between Genius and Stupidity is, that Genius has its limits". I am living proof he was right.

After my self loathing ebbed to a manageable level I started to figure out what went wrong. opened up a terminal window and tried to install Synaptic by means of apt-get but that failed to to dependency problems. So I looked at the list and tried to determine which ones in particular were keeping me from successfully re-installing Synaptic. I will spare you the hours of frustration involved with the trial and error process of narrowing down the list of culprit programs that I needed.

Here's what I figured out after the adrenaline rush of my temper tantrum subsided, or maybe it was the coffee.. To resolve a dependency Synaptic had upgraded libvte4 to libvte9 which for some reason needed to un-install Synaptic to do so and would not allow me to re-install it until I had deleted libvte9 and re-installed libvte4. I must say that in figuring out what I did and how to fix it I was taught a lesson in patience and humility. I will never again not take the time to look over just exactly what is going to be added and taken away when I hit the upgrade or install button ever again.

Needles to say I have KDE 3.5.6 and all is well. I returned my repositories to 'testing' but I don't think I will be venturing into the 'experimental' repo's for a while, if ever. So in my next installment I start to get more than just my feet wet running Debian and I wonder aloud why I have to call my browser Iceweasel instead of Firefox.

» Read more about: Story Type: Humor, LXer Features; Groups: Community, Debian, GNOME, GNU, Intel, KDE, Kernel, Linux, LXer, SUSE

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