Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Installing Debian Linux on PPC Part III - Installing the GUI

[12/13/14: Updated to include information on Debian Jessie]

By now you should be booted into your new system (if you're dual booting OS 9 and you didn't see a "MacOS" option in yaboot, I'll show how to add it manually in Part IV). You're past the startup dialogues and are staring at a terminal prompt, yourhostname login: _

Here you want to type root, then enter your root password. Now you're logged in as root with all the superpowers that comes with it. Don't let it go to your head, though. You'll only be the root user momentarily.

We logged in as root because in order to get administrative access through your user account, you have to install the sudo package first. So at the command prompt, type:

aptitude install sudo

Aptitude is the installer program we'll be using. Other people may use apt-get, but they're basically the same. Once it's done installing, type visudo at the next prompt and you'll see a text file to edit. Navigate down to the line:

root ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

and just below it add the line:

yourusername ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

Then save changes with ctrl + o (and name it "/etc/sudoers" not "/etc/sudoers.tmp"), exit with ctrl + x, and finally logout of your root session by typing logout.

At the next prompt, type your username and user password and you should be logged in with sudo capabilities. Incidentally, if you want to take a break here, enter:

sudo shutdown now -h

and this will shutdown your computer.

But if you're still here, now's the time to install your GUI. Again, you could install "lxde" of "xfce4" here, but for our purposes (fastest performance, DIYism) we're going with Openbox. At a terminal prompt, type on one line:

sudo aptitude install xorg slim openbox obconf obmenu menu-xdg gtk2-engines-murrine gtk2-engines-pixbuf fonts-freefont-otf fonts-linuxlibertine lxappearance tint2

What it all means:

1) Xorg provides the X window server.
2) Slim is a slim and fast login manager (incidentally, if you go without a login manager and just use startx, expect to have problems automounting external devices).
3) Openbox, obconf, and obmenu are what you need for Openbox.
4) menu-xdg provides a Debian applications menu.
5) The murrine and pixbuf engines are required by many third-party themes.
6) fonts-freefont-otf and fonts-linuxlibertine provides some nice extra fonts.
6) LXAppearance manages your themes, fonts, and icons.
7) Tint2 is a lightweight and attractive task panel often paired with Openbox.

Enter your password and watch the install happen. Once done, we can move on to installing applications, but let's take care of a couple of things first. First, edit your apt sources:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

In here, you'll want to add non-free repositories by adding "contrib" and "non-free" to each of the entries like this (single line):

deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main contrib non-free

Make sure they all end in main contrib non-free. Then save and exit, and run:

sudo aptitude update

to update to your new repositories. That last update step is required every time you change your sources list, and also, if you're running Testing you have to run that command often as repositories are constantly changing.

Next, if you have a first-generation Airport card or an ATI graphics card you need to install non-free firmware, and you also may want to add the Microsoft fonts installer for fonts many web pages use (single line):

sudo aptitude install firmware-linux-nonfree ttf-mscorefonts-installer

The mscorefonts installer will auto-launch and take a minute to install all the fonts.

Now we can install some applications. Since my laptop is going to be used for web surfing, writing, and music/video, I'm going to install just a basic set by typing on one line:

sudo aptitude install iceweasel icedove qupzilla sabnzbdplus transmission audacious mpv mplayer vlc smtube pluma libreoffice libreoffice-gtk fotoxx shutter feh evince xournal asunder rox-filer xarchiver lxterminal default-jre icedtea-plugin gftp gufw

1) Iceweasel and Icedove are Firefox and Thunderbird rebranded.
2) QupZilla is a full-featured webkit browser (requires Jessie). To set your system's default browser, check this page.
3) Sabnzbdplus and Transmission (execute command is transmission-gtk, FYI) are for Usenet and BitTorrent.
4) Audacious is a really cool, lightweight music player (you can switch from the GTK to the Winamp interface in Settings --> Appearance).
5) mpv (requires Jessie), MPlayer, and VLC are media players (See below for adding deb-multimedia apt sources as MPlayer is no longer in the official repositories. G3 users will want to try the deb-multimedia sources for VLC as well since the official version is compiled for G4s only.).
6) SMTube is a Youtube streamer (requires Jessie). MiniTube is an alternative.
7) Pluma is basically the old Gedit without all the Gnome dependencies.
8) LibreOffice is for those of us who can't abide by Abiword, and libreoffice-gtk ensures LibreOffice uses your GTK theme.
9) Fotoxx is a lightweight image editor.
10) Shutter is a versatile Skitch replacement.
11) feh and Evince are for viewing pics and pdfs, while Xournal offers basic pdf editing (for feh, set your file manager's default run action or "Open With..." command to "feh -. -B black" for jpegs and "feh -." for transparent pngs).
12) Asunder is a CD ripper and encoder.
13) Rox-filer is a lightning fast file manager that I wrote about here (Thunar and PCManFM are two other relatively lightweight alternatives).
14) XArchiver is a GUI tool for unpacking zips and tars, etc.
15) LXTerminal is a close equivalent to OS X's Terminal.app.
16) default-jre installs open-source java (replace jre with jdk if you intend to develop java applications), and icedtea-plugin is a java web plug-in (some people report they need to disable this in Iceweasel because it causes their cpu to jump to 100%).
17) gFTP I use for networking between my Macs.
18) Gufw is a simple firewall utility (must be run as sudo, and acts like a system preference in that the enabled firewall carries over on reboot until you disable it).

As noted earlier, you need the unofficial deb-multimedia repositories to install MPlayer, or a host of other multimedia packages which Debian's official repositories don't carry for licensing reasons. Go to www.deb-multimedia.org and follow the instructions, which are basically:

a) Add one of the deb-multimedia repositories to your /etc/apt/sources.list, then run "sudo aptitude update".
b) Install deb-multimedia-keyring.
c) Ignore scary-sounding warnings about untrusted packages and install MPlayer.

I should also tell you about a little aptitude trick. There's a disc burning application called Brasero that I want, but when you install the normal way it pulls in Yelp, a Gnome help guide, which I don't need. So to avoid that, try (on one line):

sudo aptitude install brasero --without-recommends

and it will leave out the recommended extras without interfering with the basic functions of the program.

Once all that's done, you're ready to enter your GUI. Just note that right and middle click are mapped by mouseemu to F10 and F11 (or on some keyboards F11 and F12) by default. You can change these by editing /etc/default/mouseemu and restarting the daemon with "sudo /etc/init.d/mouseemu restart". Xev and showkey are two command-line tools to get keycodes from (showkey must be run in an actual console, not a terminal emulator).

So to get to our GUI, type "sudo shutdown now -r" to reboot. I hope I didn't forget anything...

Coming up next, Part IV - Configuring Stuff. Be there or be square!

Part I - Pre-Installation
Part II - Installing the Base System
Part IV - Configuring Stuff
Part V - Bugs & Quirks

13 comments:

  1. Is a GUI really necessary? Long term, this stuff is gonna be high-maintenance.

    No matter how much you strip down the eye-candy and UI bells & whistles, browsing any modern website with a graphical browser is gonna hurt on a sub-800MHz G3.

    I tried e17, afterstep, and dwm. Eventually, I just gave up on Xorg. When I use my Lombard Powerbook, I just run mc, w3m, mutt, lynx, nethack, gopher, etc. Virtual terminals are good enough for multitasking. Things are quite fast, this way, but not so maccy.

    Also, having a login manager adds needless complexity. Simpler just to edit your .xinitrc to your liking and startx. (Could be I grew up in the DOS/Windows 3.1 era, when you booted to command line to do fun stuff and typed win to do boring office stuff.)

    I just got sick of messing around with frankenstein desktops to the point where I can live w/o a desktop.

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  2. They're all frankenstein desktops since the first monitor that tilted for use in portrait mode...and now because of the VMs, 2 monitors and HDMI-in on every videocard, etc. The login manager is to keep your partitions and security managed despite local access, I suppose.

    That is not terrible disuse of a machine with iffy graphical capability, but a) surely w3m and lynx (no maintainers, lately...or are there) are oddball security risks and a burden on pf plugins, and b) how about frankenstein memory for that Lombard? No go patching in 8GiB as L2 cache (and maybe some USB2 or USB3 ports?) plus c) pdfs...mailed to the nice reader on your phone, I suppose?

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  3. Hi great tutorial! Iv got a slight problem with having a power cut during finishing the gui installation (updating app sources) and the emac restarted and brought up the loggin which I tried logging in to see if I could run terminal but it just shows up with the cursor and a grey screen. Any ideas? Its a first gen emac (700mhz) I beleive.

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    Replies
    1. A cursor on a grey screen sounds like OpenFirmware. I'm guessing Yaboot didn't get installed, it's usually the last thing. Re-installing the system might be the easiest solution, as installing Yaboot manually from a rescue disc looks fairly complicated and a bit beyond me.

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  4. Thanks for the great effort.
    Following the guidance, I have installed Debian Wheezy on my iBook G4 1.3GHz already. Unfortunately, I meet a problem, after setting X done, that I cannot recognize any word on screen in tty1. The words on screen are all broken. However, it is good in X window. This is really bothered me.

    I tried to Google it but cannot find the solution.
    Would you like to recommended me how to solve it?

    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. To add more information about my issue:
      1. The problem is happened when X window starts. Actually, the words, appeared on tty1 (just not in X window), are all fragment.

      2. If the system is booted to single mode, everything is good. However, the issue comes out if I used startx.

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    2. I've seen this problem, too, when halting X to create a xorg.conf. Does it happen when you log in with a login manager, or only when you use startx? I haven't heard of any fixes for this.

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    3. Thanks for the reply, Dan. I feel better as I am not alone.
      Actually, it was happened when I tested with startx initially and came back to console mode. It was happened. Yup, it does. Lightdm is my window manager.

      Now, it can be fixed after I upgraded to Jessie version. Unfortunately, Jessie, or above 3.9.x kernel, has another issue--sound card. There is no sound, sadly!

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    4. I got sound working on Jessie by booting with the old 3.2 kernel, by hitting Tab at the second yaboot screen and choosing "old". If the kernel you want to boot with is previous to "old", you can find it in your /boot folder and configure yaboot accordingly. The details for that are in this thread:

      http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=897957

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    5. Wa, wonderful! Thanks so much. I will try it.

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  5. I found a great article about how to install GUI (Graphical User Interface). Easy to follow and there some options of GUI to choose from gnome, kde, xfce... http://namhuy.net/1085/install-gui-on-debian-7-wheezy.html

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  6. So I did this and can boot to the login...when I login I am offered openbox and xsession options. But get a gray screen with some mouse cursor after login and can not use the GUI...thoughts?

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    Replies
    1. You see a gray screen with just a mouse cursor? It sounds like you're in Openbox. You need to right-click to bring down a menu. Right-click is F11 or F12 by default, unless you changed it in mouseemu settings or inside sysctl.conf.

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