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#1 2021-07-21 21:50:47

einpoklum
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From: Haifa, Palestine
Registered: 2021-07-21
Posts: 45  
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My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

(Skippable) Introduction

This is the first post in a series of posts I'll make to this forum, as suggested to me on our IRC channel (#devuan on libera.chat). It follows my experience of installing the current Devuan development release, Chimaera.

In this series I'll bring up 15-17 issues - bugs, annoyances and such - which I've noticed and jotted down during, or rather and right after my  installation. I am certain that many, and probably most, of the issues are actually with Debian Bullseye rather than with Chimaera per se, but I can never quite tell. Plus, hopefully some folks here are also in touch with Debian people and upstream package maintainers etc.

Before proceeding, let's mention that I used an installation ISO, written to a bootable USB disk; I installed to a new SSD I had gotten (although I had hooked it up via USB, and couple of adapters, at first). I did not perform an apt-get dist-upgrade; nor did I mass-migrated anything from the old installation: Not `/etc/`, not `/var` subdirectories, nor even my user's home folder. And whatever I did bring over happened after encountering the issues I'll report here - so it's a pristine installation, except that some block devices with files get mounted.

Actual issue #1:

When logging into my user (the one I created during installation) the first time, without choosing a desktop environment (not even looking at the menu for those) - I'm offered several options for my "Default Window Manager" for LXQt. But - I had not chosen LXQt to be my desktop environment in the first place. Has the default really changed to LXQt? I was under the impression xfce is supposed to be the default. Anyway, supposing that it has, there's some faulty logic here w.r.t automatic choice:

  • If the distribution is willing to make an automatic choice of desktop environment, why not make a choice of window manager as well? A newbie user will likely be taken aback when required to choose something the meaning of which they don't quite know, with options that mean nothing to them. It would make more sense to auto-choose a default there, as well.

  • On the other hand, if a manual choice is deemed necessary, then - the first-ever choice of desktop environment should be manual/explicit as well. Personally, I was surprised to learn I was going to get LXQt.

(Next post in the series: Issue #2)

Last edited by einpoklum (2021-07-23 22:17:14)

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#2 2021-07-21 22:03:41

fsmithred
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Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 1,958  

Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

The current chimaera installer isos (and live isos) are alpha level. They should work essentially the same as previous installer isos. That they don't is no surprise. The default desktop is supposed to be xfce, and if you select something else, you should get what you select.

What boxes did you check/uncheck at the tasksel window, and did you install with or without a network mirror?

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#3 2021-07-22 18:30:18

rolfie
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Registered: 2017-11-25
Posts: 583  

Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

Very strange problem. What was your intention? Just install Chimaera with XFCE as desktop? Or did you want to install several DEs?

I have done various Chimaera installations by now, and have not experienced such problems. Well, I usually do a cli install and then after a reboot do install either Mate or Cinnamon manually. Nevertheless, to do that I have to untick the default selections.

On page https://www.devuan.org/os/documentation … all-devuan there is a nice guide including screenshots of all the relevant installer pages. Please refer to topic 17. I think the screenshot misses the tick for XFCE as default. I usually just leave the standard system utilities ticked and do the rest manually.

My guess: you may have ticked more than one DE. This may go along with several Window Managers. There is a list somewhere which DE per default uses which WM. For Mate and Cinnamon I happily use LightDM.

rolfie

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#4 2021-07-22 21:33:21

einpoklum
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From: Haifa, Palestine
Registered: 2021-07-21
Posts: 45  
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Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

rolfie wrote:

What was your intention? Just install Chimaera with XFCE as desktop? Or did you want to install several DEs?
...
My guess: you may have ticked more than one DE. This may go along with several Window Managers.

Yes, I had checked several desktop environments. That's a perfectly reasonable and acceptable thing to do.

rolfie wrote:

I have done various Chimaera installations by now, and have not experienced such problems. Well, I usually do a cli install and then after a reboot do install either Mate or Cinnamon manually.

Well, that's not the typical scenario...

rolfie wrote:

On page https://www.devuan.org/os/documentation … all-devuan there is a nice guide including screenshots of all the relevant installer pages. Please refer to topic 17. I think the screenshot misses the tick for XFCE as default. I usually just leave the standard system utilities ticked and do the rest manually.

It doesn't make sense to expect that people not-select offered installation tasks... and the way to handle such an issue is to fix the installation, not to tell users to go look up things in the manual...

And just to clarify - I'm not asking for help, I've managed just fine; I just want the installation and post-installation behavior to be smoother and more reasonable for other users.

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#5 2021-07-22 21:35:17

einpoklum
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From: Haifa, Palestine
Registered: 2021-07-21
Posts: 45  
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Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

fsmithred wrote:

The current chimaera installer isos (and live isos) are alpha level. They should work essentially the same as previous installer isos. That they don't is no surprise. The default desktop is supposed to be xfce, and if you select something else, you should get what you select.

I didn't select LXQt as my default desktop environment; although I did select multiple desktop environment for installation.

Plus, even if I had selected it to be the default during installation - there should still be an automatic selection of window manager for the user on their first login. Either that, or the installation should mandate making that selection beforehand.

Last edited by einpoklum (2021-07-22 21:36:27)

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#6 2021-07-23 12:48:38

fsmithred
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Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 1,958  

Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

einpoklum wrote:
fsmithred wrote:

The current chimaera installer isos (and live isos) are alpha level. They should work essentially the same as previous installer isos. That they don't is no surprise. The default desktop is supposed to be xfce, and if you select something else, you should get what you select.

I didn't select LXQt as my default desktop environment; although I did select multiple desktop environment for installation.

Plus, even if I had selected it to be the default during installation - there should still be an automatic selection of window manager for the user on their first login. Either that, or the installation should mandate making that selection beforehand.

LXQt was probably the last desktop to be installed, so the alternatives system set it as the default, thus replacing any previous default settings. That's normal behavior of the alternatives system. You can change the default desktop by running update-alternatives --config x-session-manager and if needed, you can change the default window manager with update-alternatives --config x-window-manager

If you only install one desktop environment, you get that desktop's default window manager automatically. If you have multiple window managers installed, the desktop software has the logic coded into it to ask you if the additional window manager is there because you want to use it.

Installiing multiple desktop environments used to be a simple matter. But that doesn't seem to be the case now. It would work better if they were installed one at a time, so any conflicts might be more apparent.

Look in /var/log/installer/syslog for task-xfce-desktop task-cinnamon-desktop and task-lxqt-desktop to see which were checked at the tasksel window in the installer.

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#7 2021-07-23 21:41:19

einpoklum
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From: Haifa, Palestine
Registered: 2021-07-21
Posts: 45  
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Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

LXQt was probably the last desktop to be installed

But there is no user-acknowledged notion of a "last desktop environment to be installed".

so the alternatives system set it as the default, thus replacing any previous default settings.  That's normal behavior of the alternatives system.

But is this the intended Debian/Devuan policy? That is, Devuan defaults to xfce4. If one installs xfce4 + something else, should Devuan default to not-xfce4? And not just that, but have a priority order of defaults based on the order of package installation? Surely that's not right.

And again - even suppose it's legitimate to set LXQt as the default desktop environment. Then, surely a default window manager should be set and used, rather than the user faced with a forced selection dialog.

You can change the default desktop by running update-alternatives --config x-session-manager and if needed, you can change the default window manager with update-alternatives --config x-window-manager

That's not the point of the issues I'm reporting. Of course I can change things. The issue is what should happen during/after installation, as by default, before the user has changed anything.

My tasks were:

task-cinnamon-desktop task-console-productivity task-desktop task-english task-lxqt-desktop task-ssh-server task-xfce-desktop

Last edited by einpoklum (2021-07-23 21:42:25)

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#8 2021-07-24 11:45:31

fsmithred
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Registered: 2016-11-25
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Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

einpoklum wrote:

LXQt was probably the last desktop to be installed

But there is no user-acknowledged notion of a "last desktop environment to be installed".

so the alternatives system set it as the default, thus replacing any previous default settings.  That's normal behavior of the alternatives system.

But is this the intended Debian/Devuan policy? That is, Devuan defaults to xfce4. If one installs xfce4 + something else, should Devuan default to not-xfce4? And not just that, but have a priority order of defaults based on the order of package installation? Surely that's not right.

The user does not get to control the order of package installation during the install of the operating system. That's up to the package manager, which has to resolve dependencies of the chosen metapackages. The behavior of the alternatives system will make more sense when you read the man page for update-alternatives.


And again - even suppose it's legitimate to set LXQt as the default desktop environment. Then, surely a default window manager should be set and used, rather than the user faced with a forced selection dialog.


In fact, a default window manager was selected for you. The lxqt devs thought they should double-check with you, because you had more than one window manager installed. They presented you with a list, and on that list the pre-selected window manager was highlighted. All you had to do was press enter or click OK. If you think that behavior should change, you could file a bug report. I'm guessing that behavior comes from the lxqt authors, upstream of debian.

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#9 2021-07-24 16:17:52

einpoklum
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From: Haifa, Palestine
Registered: 2021-07-21
Posts: 45  
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Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

fsmithred wrote:

The user does not get to control the order of package installation during the install of the operating system. That's up to the package manager

The order of package installation is indeed something the user doesn't care about. The default desktop environment is something the person performing the installation (might) care about - but is not given the opportunity to set.

Also, regardless of that - the distribution authors should care about what the default desktop environment is; and it is not reasonable policy for it to be "whatever happens to be installed last".

Finally, be the policy as it may - during installation, the installer should tell you "the default desktop environment will be XYZ", based on your selections up to that point.

, which has to resolve dependencies of the chosen metapackages. The behavior of the alternatives system will make more sense when you read the man page for update-alternatives.

I'm saying it shouldn't matter...


In fact, a default window manager was selected for you.

No. That is, a WM selection means it is loaded and I am not asked about. Just like with the desktop environment: A default choice is made for the user, and unless s/he does something to change it - it sticks.

The lxqt devs thought they should double-check with you, because you had more than one window manager installed. They presented you with a list, and on that list the pre-selected window manager was highlighted. All you had to do was press enter or click OK.

That is the problem. It is not acceptable IMHO for this to occur. Putting the user in front of such a selection dialog before they can be logged in to their first session is jarring and intimidating, and suggests there is a problem with the installation. If the LXQt devs have mistakenly done this, it is up to the distro to make sure that is bypassed and no such choice is required.

Also, the jarring effect is not mitigated by a more friendly dialog, saying something like: "This is your first time starting the LXQt desktop environment. LXQt is currently configured to use the Muffin Window Manager; would you like to proceed with this selection? [No - Change Window Manager] [Yes]"


If you think that behavior should change, you could file a bug report. I'm guessing that behavior comes from the lxqt authors, upstream of debian.

I will, but this is also IMHO a distribution bug, because Debian/Devuan can quash/circumvent this select dialog - and it should. Plus, as I've said above, there should be a more explicit default DE policy.

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#10 2021-07-24 17:25:27

golinux
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Registered: 2016-11-25
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Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

You are welcome to provide a patch upstream to offer the option(s) you suggest.  smile

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#11 2021-07-24 19:14:42

Magnus
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From: Stockholm, Sweden
Registered: 2020-03-14
Posts: 48  
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Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

golinux wrote:

You are welcome to provide a patch upstream to offer the option(s) you suggest.  smile

Since GNU-Linux/Debian/Devuan is mostly done by volunteers on a non-profit basis, you can not require them to do anything other than what they are interested in. This means that they skip things they think are unnecessary, such as user-friendliness. Therefore, the use of GNU-Linux/Debian/Devuan requires a great willingness to acquire their own knowledge. This must be respected. If not, then there is Windows. And if you want other solutions than those offered, you have to make them yourself. That's how it works.

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#12 2021-07-25 04:40:16

einpoklum
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From: Haifa, Palestine
Registered: 2021-07-21
Posts: 45  
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Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

is mostly done by volunteers on a non-profit basis,

And what do I look like to you?

People on the IRC channel ask me to make sure and report any issues when I install Chimaera. So I do, and I get this flak. Why? I didn't report this as a demand for a fix.


And if you want other solutions than those offered, you have to make them yourself. That's how it works.

It's mostly the opposite. Even a person who is an actual programmer can only devote time to work on a very small number of software projects. So, it is more true to say that if you want other solutions than those offered, you mostly cannot and will not ever be able to make them yourself.

We make things for others and others make things for us. That's how it works.

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#13 2021-07-25 05:56:12

golinux
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Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 2,357  

Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

IIUC, Devuan is requesting feedback about issues with the packages that Devuan has forked and maintains not packages that are maintained by Debian or upstream of Debian.  Bugs on those packages should be reported upstream.  But there are times when it can be difficult to sort where the issue lies.

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#14 2021-07-25 13:46:18

Magnus
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From: Stockholm, Sweden
Registered: 2020-03-14
Posts: 48  
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Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

einpoklum wrote:

And what do I look like to you?

You do nothing, you just complain. So I do not count you as a developer.
You do not even write bug reports, which is the correct way to report bugs if you want to contribute to the development of GNU-Linux/Debian/Devuan.

Last edited by Magnus (2021-07-25 13:49:05)

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#15 2021-07-25 15:38:39

einpoklum
Member
From: Haifa, Palestine
Registered: 2021-07-21
Posts: 45  
Website

Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

Magnus wrote:

You do nothing, you just complain.

I'll let that slide, because I haven't linked my forum account anywhere. So, this is the FOSS coding I do. No, none of it is Devuan and it's already more than I can handle.

But you should be aware that your rhetoric is highly confrontational and derogatory.

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#16 2021-10-15 06:37:20

jnr2820
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From: North Carolina, USA
Registered: 2021-10-15
Posts: 5  

Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

Just to clarify, all default means here is that if you do not touch "tasksel" during install, you will get XFCE and only XFCE. If you install any other DE's the "update-alternatives" system will set the last one installed by DPKG to default. All this really meanings, in practice, is that the next time "lightdm" (or etc) is started, the drop down will have that latest DE selected. (probably sets it to be the one that loads when issuing "startx" too) It's up to you to select a different DE before hitting enter.

If you don't like the behavior of "update-alternatives" there may be a way to change it. (This is probably why some may have suggested reading man pages)  If you think the default behavior should change, there may be a way to open a bug upstream (Debian)

That said, I get that this is a potential user experience issue, but I don't believe the Devuan developers should be on the hook for changing the way "update-alternatives" works. It is, however, acceptable for them to (pre) check only certain boxes in "tasksel" during install. This is what they've done to select XFCE. (This is what the Debian Project does for the default DE, as well) The Devuan developers focus should be making the INIT systems work well with minimal changes/impact to the behavior to rest of the system.

Remember, we are here because of needless and overreaching changes to the OS, lets be careful not to fall prey to that pitfall as well.

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#17 2021-10-15 06:54:01

einpoklum
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From: Haifa, Palestine
Registered: 2021-07-21
Posts: 45  
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Re: My Chimaera install issues #1: Forced manual choice of LXQt WM

It's a fair enough reply to tell me to report this upstream. But - where exactly do I report this? reportbug? For which package?

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