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JustAnother
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:57 pm    Post subject: xfce menus are missing Reply with quote

I just did a routine @world update. Now xfce is missing the menu bar at the top, and the icons at the bottom. The right mouse button works, and I can can bring up the xfce terminal, but the window won't expand, so the terminal is almost useless.

The xfce log says /usr/share/applications/xfce-terminal.desktop failed with status code 256, but that looks like a terminal failure, not a desktop failure.

Where do I start? I don't have a working gui.

Is there a way to systematically test an xfce installation? Should I rebuild the whole thing? Or uninstall/reinstall?

Thanks
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Roman_Gruber
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Code:
revdev-rebuild


Have you tried wtih a clean home directory? e.g. create a new user and try it. Maybe you ahve some clutter in your homedirectory config files

Workaround: You may install temporarily another desctop environment to fix your xfce
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JustAnother
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As soon as I posted this problem, I noticed something else. There is most definitely something strange going on.

Here is my setup:

A desktop with Debian wheezy, with standard ethernet NIC.
An old laptop (HP ZD 7000 series, circa 2004, guinea pig computer, with gentoo linux. Standard ethernet NIC, and a Broadcom 4306 wireless NIC (which actually works).
I use a raritan KVM switch to switch back and forth between the two machines. Both machines have the usual USB keyboard & mouse. But the laptop takes its video signal to the KVM switch through the external monitor port.

Apparently the laptop external monitor port does not simply clone the signal going to the laptop screen - there is another layer of management tossed in
that treats the external port like a second monitor. This has led to some funny stuff in the past:

1: Every boot of gentoo is like the lottery when it comes to the little characters vs. the medium-sized characters on the laptop boot screen. While the medium characters fill the screen of both the laptop screen and external port "screen", there is a gap at the bottom of the laptop screen. This doesn't bother me, as the laptop is off to the side and the KVM monitor is in front of me.

2: In the early days of my xfce adventures, sometimes different things would show up on the laptop screen vs. the laptop external monitor "screen" seen by the KVM switch. Different windows and so forth. Very strange. Somehow X or xfce was getting its signals crossed about the two monitors. Then the problem seemed to go away. Until my last @world update, which is usually much about nothing.

This last time, my KVM screen showed no menu bars at the top, but the keyboard and mouse worked, and the right click menus worked. Oddly, the laptop screen showed the desktop the way it should look, but the laptop built-in keyboard and finger slider did not work. I have never seen that before. Then I realized I could boot the computer and start X/xfce from the laptop keyboard, with the KVM switched to the desktop before the gentoo reboot, and the KVM signal would kind of work if I switched the KVM only at that point, but with fonts and widgets all mis-sized.

Last night when I shut down both machines I unplugged the desktop to truly yank the power, and pulled the PS cable out of the KVM switch to make it go dark. That truly yanks any USB and/or transformer power to the unit, forcing a full reset when it is plugged back in. Today I powered up both machines, and the gentoo laptop was behaving better -- I switched to KVM while it was booting, as usual. The xfce widgets still too large.

The KVM switch has acted a bit buggy since I obtained it. The linux external monitor software has acted a buggy since I put gentoo on that machine, but it is an old machine, and the bios probably ain't perfect in the external monitor department. But it does look like there are problems with xfce and the things it depends upon. And there are error messages in my xinit log and xfce logs which I can post if anybody wants me to.

This is called computer misbehavior hell, because just about everything may or may not be part of the problem. Hardware, firmware, software, interfacing of all the above. A total mess. That is the reality of the modern age.

But here is my question: how would one design a gui desktop environment to be able to shine the light on problems like this and (more) clearly indicate the what and where of these insidious little critters? Maybe someone has some ideas.

Thanks
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Roman_Gruber
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
with the KVM switched to the desktop before the gentoo reboot,


I assuem you are talking about this, correct?

Quote:
A KVM switch (with KVM being an abbreviation for "keyboard, video and mouse") is a hardware device that allows a user to control multiple computers from one or more sets of keyboards, video monitors, and mice.


Thats not a common abreviation for myself, but whatever.

These days external monitors are not a single way street, they communiate over the connector.

edid

Quote:
Search Results
Extended Display Identification Data (EDID) is a data structure provided by a digital display to describe its capabilities to a video source (e.g. graphics card or set-top box). It is what enables a modern personal computer to know what kinds of monitors are connected to it.


I have the funny behaviour when the power plug is not connected to my vga monitor, yes VGA, it is recognized by my box with nvidia-drivers and 660m gtx as 1024x768 with 60 hz, which is kinda useable but not correct

with the power plug connected to my monitor the resolution is correct but the vertical refresh rate is too high, because of some sort of hardware defect. The reason why I got the monitor for free in the first place and some noobs unable to set the vertical refresh rate in windows XY.

--

In short:

Your box unplug / replug all those devices which causes all those devices to be deleted and reinitalized by the x-server
Many usb mice for example forget their current operating profile

Solution which should work in my understanding

Create an xorg-conf like in the old days where you define everything, including mouse / keyboard / monitor / gpu driver and such.

--

And there is nothing weird when you plug off / plug on / power off / power on all those input devices. They are freshly added to your current x-server with the limitation of the implementation of the software and hardware in question

--

Quote:
The KVM switch has acted a bit buggy since I obtained it. The linux external monitor software has acted a buggy since I put gentoo on that machine, but it is an old machine, and the bios probably ain't perfect in the external monitor department. But it does look like there are problems with xfce and the things it depends upon. And there are error messages in my xinit log and xfce logs which I can post if anybody wants me to.


read out the edid and you will know more
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