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Posted by banchieri on Fri 24 Apr 2009 at 23:18

Recently, I upgraded my laptop from etch to lenny, which (as usual with Debian upgrades) went pretty smooth (except for the X video setup, but that’s a totally different story…).

Right after the upgrade, I logged into my GNOME desktop, opened the main menu and…

…realized that the ‘Debian’ menu tree had disappeared!

Hell, I want it back!“, immediately crossed my mind, and “Debian has always been famous for getting the menus straight and now they just did away with that?

Googling the issue made me stumble across bug #470306, where some message states that

> The issue is that GNOME no more display the Debian menu by default.

This is intentional. If you want to see the Debian menu, you need to enable it in the menu editor.

Intentional? Menu editor??

Since #470306 had been merged with #443461 and #493961, I first tried the former which contains a patch that fixes /etc/xdg/menus/ I applied the patch, but still had no ‘Debian’ menu. Hmm.

Some message of the latter bug report states

This is due to a deliberate decision of the GNOME maintainers:

You have to use alacarte (or similar) and add it there in order to appear. Not a bug in the menu package, let alone of RC severity.

Aha. So I installed package alacarte, started the menu editor alacarte and reenabled the ‘Debian’ menu (which still was in perfect shape since it had been maintained by the menu package) and felt my desktop was usable again.

Bottom line: I’m all for open source, but I definitely hate “deliberate decisions” destroy user experience (be it open or closed source, but that seems to happen more often with open source). This particular “deliberate decision” cost me several precious hours.


Posted by banchieri on Sat 25 Apr 2009 at 11:05
Tags: , , ,

Life can be pretty hard when you’re forced to use proprietary drivers. Since I have an ASUS M6Ne with ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics, with etch, the only means to achieve the maximum 1400x1050 resolution was the fglrx driver.

Under etch, even though I always use tailor-made kernels, this was rather simple. Initially, I had to

  1. Install fglrx-related packages except pre-produced driver module, but including the driver source and
  2. Get my xorg.conf(5) straight once and for all.

Then, for each new kernel configuration, I’ll had to

  1. make-kpkg kernel_image modules_image,
  2. Install kernel and module packages,
  3. Reboot and
  4. Remove old kernel and module packages

Shortly after lenny was released, I upgraded my laptop from etch to lenny. Immediately after the upgrade, everything went fine, since I still ran with my old kernel and modules.