[Pkg-xfce-devel] Bug#506406: xfce4: apt bug causes gdm to pull in unneeded/unwanted gnome dependencies

Yves-Alexis Perez corsac at debian.org
Mon Jan 5 19:13:04 UTC 2009

On Mon, Jan 05, 2009 at 07:58:28PM +0100, Frans Pop wrote:
> severity 506406 minor
> thanks
> On Monday 05 January 2009, Yves-Alexis Perez wrote:
> > Well, testing the desktop task not really, especially if it uses
> > Packages files. But we can test installing xdm on top of xfce4.
> That's not sufficient. What would need to be tested is installing xdm and 
> xfce at the same time, just like tasksel would do.
> I've just tried this, but it hardly has any effect.

Yes that's what I meant. Using a commandline aptitude with all the
packages in xfce-desktop task and xdm instead of gdm.

> Hmm. It looks like this is only an issue when the task is installed *from 
> aptitude itself*, and *not* when it is installed using tasksel or during 
> a new installation from D-I.
> That means it's almost impossible to test without actually uploading 
> tasksel, that it's unlikely that it can be fixed through some creative 
> change in tasksel, that IMO it is not even remotely an important issue 
> and that it is almost certainly not an issue in tasksel, but in aptitude.

Well, for Simon and me it looks really like magic. We don't really know
what is done when installing from d-i an Xfce desktop.

It should at one point run:
  tasksel install xfce-desktop

But according to tasksel --test install xfce-desktop, in fact it should run:

  aptitude -q --without-recommends -o APT::Install-Recommends=no -y \
   install desktop gnome-desktop xfce-desktop

Which looks quite weird. Wouldn't be that gnome-desktop the problem?

> AFAICT it can be worked around by first selecting the xfce meta packages 
> in aptitude and only then selecting other packages, such as gdm.
> If I do that, aptitude only wants to install 720MB instead of 1027 MB 
> worth of packages.
> > It'll work (but as there's no way to chose session from xdm, it may be
> > more painful for end users then using gdm, as the correct way to start
> > Xfce is to run startxfce4 and not “just“ running the registered session
> > manager (which is the case by default on *dm).
> I don't get this. I just gave it a try and Xfce started fine with xdm as 
> display manager. I don't see any difference.

Yeah, that's not your problem. Default session stuff in gdm/xdm only
runs whatever session manager is configured, which, on an Xfce install
is xfce4-session. So it runs xfce4-session, which is not the perfect way
to run Xfce. The better way is to run startxfce4, and we have a config
file to run that correctly, it's selectable in gdm but not really in

> > Uh, oh, well, yeah, sorry :)
> > Installed xdm, it just look awful. I don't know about xdm themes, but
> > I'm not sure cooking an xdm desktop-base theme would be done easily.
> I would think it's almost certainly to late for that for Lenny.
> xdm looks more basic then gdm and is less themed, but TBH that's exactly 
> what I'd expect with a lightweight DE. And it does have the Debian logo.

Yeah but it could at least have the Lenny wallpaper which is in
desktop-base :)

> > Simon Huggins told me on IRC that you talked about this issue and that
> > in tasksel tasks (tasksel/tasks/xfce-desktop for example) Keys: and
> > Packages: stuff were treated differently, and that we might have a
> > chance there. Could you elaborate on this?
> I did talk to Simon, but we did not talk about that. He asked how the 
> definition of a task could be changed or overruled, which is a different 
> question.
> So, switching from gdm to xdm may work, but there is no real way to test 
> that. My advise is to just leave things as they are for Lenny and just 
> live with the issue.

Yeah but having to install that many gnome stuff on Xfce install is
quite painful. I'll try to see if I can do anything on that.


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