Theme sddm-theme-breeze killed my system

Questions about software.
AlbertWagner
Posts: 51
Joined: 23 Dec 2017 18:11

Theme sddm-theme-breeze killed my system

Postby AlbertWagner » 22 Feb 2018 19:10

I was testing various themes in solydx.
One theme, sddm-theme-breeze, is apparently a KDE theme that installed a large part of
KDE into my solydx system and then quit halfway.
I lost the error messages(something about held programs).

I restarted synaptic and then deleted in two parts (breeze-icon-theme was sucked into the installation).

But apparently the uninstall was not complete. I could no longer boot.
I ran boot-repair which partially got me back.
Now can only boot like this:

Code: Select all

computer login: .....
password: ........
:
startx
Pieces of KDE were still polluting my solydx. e.g. Kwallet in Session startup.
Worst of all it completely borked the contents of /usr/share/solydxk/ trying
to convert my system to KDE. With that kind of destruction that is visible
even to ignorant me, I see no option but to re-install my Solydx system.

Is there a simple way to identify dangerous packages in synaptic so this doesn't happen again?
"Dangerous" means quitting halfway through the install with an unrecoverable error.
This is only a problem because I can never rely on the Synaptic option "Mark for Complete Removal"?
Is that option optional? i.e. is the package builder free to build in Complete Removal or to omit it?
In my limited experience failure to Completely Remove , leaves poisonous detritus scattered all over the host system.

User avatar
ilu
Posts: 1907
Joined: 09 Oct 2013 12:45

Re: Theme sddm-theme-breeze killed my system

Postby ilu » 23 Feb 2018 01:37

Synaptic shows you a popup with dependencies when you select a package. Have a look before you click "ok"! Always inspect the list of selected packages when the "Are you sure?" window pops up. Be especially vigilant, if packages starting with "k" are among the selected packages. if you scroll through the list you can easily spot packages with "desktop", "baseapps" or "full" in it. This might not always be avoidable with gnome packages but installing parts of the gnome desktop on xfce ist annoying but not disastrous (as opposed to kde).

Another step to increase safety from disasters like that one is to stop synaptic from installing recommended packages (third checkbox under "Settings - General"). This usually stops synaptic from dragging in a whole other desktop but it might also mean that some programs do not completely work as expected - for example those depending on kwallet. But you can always correct this manually which is a better solution than the other way round. Definitely do this in case you deliberately install any program starting with "k" - k3b or krita comes to mind.

And no idea whether this would have saved you afterwards but synaptic has a history function. Under "File - History" you can see which packages where installed when so you know what to remove again. You always have to remove packages step by step, synaptic is not able to do that automatically. On my jessie system I had installed several kde apps (kwallet included) and i was able to completely remove them using the history function.

AlbertWagner
Posts: 51
Joined: 23 Dec 2017 18:11

Re: Theme sddm-theme-breeze killed my system

Postby AlbertWagner » 23 Feb 2018 16:29

Thank you Ilo.

Let me summarize:
1. There is no sure fire way to identify a dangerous package. Just vague acronyms
like sddm in the name of something as harmless sounding as a theme.
2. There are packages in Synaptic that will fail in mid-install.
3. The delivered Synaptic defaults may be useful, yet may be not.
4. There is no undo.

Caveat Emptor. Stability is relative, not absolute. Both software and hardware
break most often in transitions, while shifting from one stable state to another.
Do not kick against the goads.

User avatar
ilu
Posts: 1907
Joined: 09 Oct 2013 12:45

Re: Theme sddm-theme-breeze killed my system

Postby ilu » 23 Feb 2018 17:47

Not exactly.

1. Yes there is. Synaptic shows you the packages it will install - twice. If the list is very long and there's something named kde-* in it XFCE-Users are warned. Don't click OK without checking that list. Also (which you probably did not know): If you right-click on a package and choose "properties" you can see the maintainer and several categories. In case of your theme the properties say: ... KDE Maintainers ... KDE ... plasma. This does not necessarily mean trouble but it's a warning to further investigate.

2. This usually doesn't happen but it might happen due to a lot of reasons. Not every package is as diligently maintained as SolydXK is. Remember, this is all the work of volunteers. This is why Debian comes without guarantees.

3. The synaptic defaults in SolydXK are configured for convenience. The first thing I do on a new install is change this setting. The value of convenience can, of course, be discussed, I'd always vote pro stability.

4. I explained how the undo works in my last paragraph - use the history. It has to be done manually because synaptic cannot guess what you want to achieve.
Caveat Emptor
Emptor = buyer. You did not buy anything when you started using Linux. You became part of a community, driven by the shared effort to make things better and to learn how to do things yourself and independently. You are certainly right about the "Caveat" part though.

AlbertWagner
Posts: 51
Joined: 23 Dec 2017 18:11

Re: Theme sddm-theme-breeze killed my system

Postby AlbertWagner » 28 Feb 2018 03:37

I can believe that Synaptic->File->History will show packages installed/uninstalled. But I cannot believe that the history will show all of the activity involved in installing/uninstalling. Maybe it does. But I don't intend to test it. I typically just reinstall Solydxk. I've gotten quite efficient at it. I doubt that I am the first or only one to encounter what my first post described. Perhaps my experience will prove useful to someone. Caveat Emptor is indeed good advice. Even if "buying" is not literal. Let the user beware. There be dragons here.


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