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Knowledge database

1. Audio

2. Browser

3. Hardware

4. Network

5. System

6. Video

7. Web server

8. Xwindow

1. Audio

1.1. Missing audio in GNOME

The GNOME sounds for events work fine but audio/video player doesn't play audio.

1.1.1. Cause: Audio card blocked by ESD

This is a common problem by the most GNOME users.

Once GNOME is installed, one of the things a user want is sounds for events. Therefore, he calls the GNOME sound properties, typing


or via menu and then he enables

  Sounds for events

Here is the problem. This requires the activation of ESD (Enlightened Sound Daemon) that is the GNOME default sound daemon, here called

  Enable sound server startup

and this blocks the audio card for other sound daemons like ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture).

Since the most not GNOME player use OSS or ALSA, audio directed to such sound daemons will not be played.

1.1.2. Solution: Disable ESD

If you want to use an other sound daemon, for example ALSA that is more powerfull, you does not have other choice that disabling ESD by calling


and deselecting

  Enable sound server startup

You have to logout and relogin or to kill the esd process, in order to free the resource.

Logically, in this way, you will not have any sounds events, but this is the price to pay.

1.1.3. Keywords:

audio, esd, gnome

1.1.4. Created / Last modified:

2005-08-30 / 2005-08-30

1.2. Missing audio after rebooting

The audio is well configured and works fine, but after a reboot, the audio is missing.

Reconfiguring alsa with


the audio works again.

1.2.1. Cause: Audio card blocked by an other sound daemon

GNU/Linux offers a lot of sound daemons:

OSS: Open Sound System (depracated)

ALSA: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (the best choice)

ESD: Enlightened Sound Daemon (Gnome default)

ARTS: Advanced Real-time Synthesizer (Kde default)

It could happen that one of them has already taken the control of the audio card (/dev/dsp).

You can verify this by typing

  lsof /dev/dsp

1.2.2. Solution: Disable sound daemons from mozilla browser

During the mozilla browser installation, you were asked for what sound daemon to be used.

If you choose one instead of "none", you will have such trouble.

Therefore, just reconfigure it by calling

  dpkg-reconfigure mozilla-browser

and select "none".

1.2.3. Keywords:

audio, reboot, rebooting

1.2.4. Created / Last modified:

2005-08-30 / 2005-08-30

2. Browser

2.1. Missing java plugin

While browsing a site, I see the following error:

  This page contains information of a type (application/x-java-vm) that can only be viewed with the appropriate Plug-in.

2.1.1. Cause: A java plugin is required

In order to see sites that use java, a java plugin must be installed.

2.1.2. Solution: Install a java plugin for Linux

Since Sun is not making its job very well, it's not so easy to bring working a java plugin downloaded from the official site.

Debian doesn't have an official package yet, but fortunately there are some people who have already made the whole job.

The required package is called j2re1.4 and if you want to use the same as me, just add the following line in your /etc/apt/sources.list

  deb http://www.tux.org/pub/java/debian/ sid main non-free

update your list with

  apt-get update

and install the required package

  apt-get install j2re1.4

2.1.3. Keywords:

java, plugin, x-java-vm, vm, virtual machine

2.1.4. Created / Last modified:

2004-05-24 / 2004-05-24

3. Hardware

3.1. Atapi incompatible error when detecting IDE devices

You get the following error:

  "Primary Slave Device - ATAPI INCOMPATIBLE"

  "Secondary Slave Device - ATAPI INCOMPATIBLE"

3.1.1. Cause: Cable Select doesn't work correctly

I don't know why, but the CS (Cable Select) seems to be a bad feature.

3.1.2. Solution: Don't use Cable Select

3.1.3. Created / Last modified:


Remove the CS jumper from your devices.

3.2. Bad performance of IDE devices

When accessing IDE devices, the CPU becomes very busy and the transfer rate is very low.

3.2.1. Cause: The DMA function is disabled

Normally, the DMA (Direct Memory Access) function is disabled and this will considerably decrease the performance of your system.

3.2.2. Solution: Enable DMA

The DMA can be enabled with hdparm.

There are a lot of possible configurations. Here some examples:

  hdparm -c3 -d1 -u1 -m16 /dev/hda

When you find the best settings for your system, you can "translate" the choosen parameters for the /etc/hdparm.conf file. In this way, at each boot, the devices will be automatically set for the best performance. Here some examples:

  /dev/hda {

    mult_sect_io = 16

    write_cache = on

    dma = on

    io32_support = 3

    transfer_mode = udma6


    /dev/hdc {

    mult_sect_io = 16

    write_cache = on

    dma = on

    io32_support = 3

    transfer_mode = udma5


    /dev/hdd {

    mult_sect_io = 16

    write_cache = on

    dma = on

    io32_support = 2

    transfer_mode = udma2

If you encounter problems, take a look at the following files:

  cat /proc/scsi/scsi

  cat /proc/pci

  cat /proc/ide/pdc202xx

  cat /proc/partitions

Note: The DMC shall be enabled also for CD-ROMs, DVDs, ...

3.2.3. Created / Last modified:


3.3. CD writer doesn't work any more

The burn process return an error such

  cdrecord: Input/output error. close track/session: scsi sendcmd: no error and breaks.

3.3.1. Cause: A third application interfers in the burn process

There are some programms like gnome-cd that can be used to listen to CDs. They have also a daemon that tries to access the specified device to check if there is a CD in the drive.

If such a programm is installed and the daemon is pointed to the CD writer, the burn process can't work correctly.

3.3.2. Solution: Deactivate the daemon

The current version of gnome-cd is contained in the package gnome-media (V2.4.1.1-3). It's not possible to deactivate the daemon but it's possible to give it a wrong device. Therefore, right click on the cd player applet, select Preferences and insert /dev/null in Device path.

3.3.3. Keywords:

cd, writer, burn, burning

3.3.4. Created / Last modified:

2004-06-06 / 2004-06-06

3.4. CRC error

The boot process is interrupted when calling LILO and the following message is displayed:

  crc error

  --System halted--

3.4.1. Cause: CPU overheated

The CPU temperature is too high.

3.4.2. Solution 1: Broken fan

Replace the defected fan.

3.4.3. Solution 2: Insufficient paste

Put enough silicon paste between the CPU and the cooler.

3.4.4. Solution 3: Insufficient ventilation

Add some fans if necessary.

3.4.5. Keywords:


3.4.6. Created / Last modified:

2003-09-02 / 2003-09-02

3.5. Palm Tungsten T5 doesn't work with Jpilot

Trying to syncronize, the following error message appears in jpilot:


   Syncing on device /dev/ttyUSB1

   Press the HotSync button now


  pi_bind Inappropriate ioctl for device

  Check your serial port and settings

  Exiting with status SYNC_ERROR_BIND


3.5.1. Cause: Modules not correctly loaded

In order to access the palm via usb, it's necessary to load the modules for USB support plus the modules for Palm support (with the specified options!).

For USB support:



For USB2 support:



For Palm support:


  visor vendor=0x830 product=0x61

3.5.2. Cause: Devices not existing

Sometime, not all required USB devices are present in the system. In this case, just create them (requires root privileges):

  cd /dev/


3.5.3. Cause: Jpilot not correctly configured

To correctly configure jpilot, select "File", "Preferences", select "Settings" tab and add as serial port:


3.5.4. Cause: Jpilot bad used

It's very important that the sync button on the cradle is pressed before the sync button on jpilot, otherwise jpilot can't communicate with the handeld.

3.5.5. Keywords:

palm, tungsten t5, jpilot, usb

3.5.6. Created / Last Modified:


3.6. Printer doesn't work with GIMP

The printer is correctly installed but doesn't work with GIMP.

3.6.1. Cause: The printer is not directly supported by GIMP

The GIMP supports only some printers.

3.6.2. Solution: Configure your printer in GIMP

The current version of GIMP (V1.0) can't detected the informations about the installed printer from the system or from CUPS. Therefore some additional settings are required.

Taken from http://www.linuxprinting.org/ppd-doc.html:

The GIMP uses the Gimp-Print plug-in to print. If it is installed you can click into the window with your image using the right mouse button and then choose "File" and "Print".

In the printing dialog choose your printer queue (if it is not listed, click "New Printer ..." to create a list entry) and click on "Setup Printer ...". If your printer is listed, it is supported by Gimp-Print and you do not need a PPD file for using it with GIMP.

If it is not listed, choose "PostScript Level 2". Then an input field for a PPD file will appear. Enter the path and name under which you have saved your PPD file or choose it with the "Browse" button.

Adapt the printing command to your spooler, especially remove the "-oraw" option, because it is important that print jobs for non-PostScript printers are going through the filters of the print queue.

After closing the dialog with "OK" the fields for the options ("Media Size", "Media Source", ...) will contain the choices according to your printer.

Click "Save Settings" to make your setup permanent.

3.6.3. Keywords:

printer, gimp

3.6.4. Created / Last Modified:


3.7. Printer HP laserjet 1018 does not work with cups

The cups is right configured but the printer doesn't work.

3.7.1. Cause: Missing firmware

This printer needs a proprietary firmware in order to work (see http://digitalfreedom.uwc.ac.za/index.php?action=viewsingle&userid=944060741&module=blog&postid=init_7143_1167223185).

Since a lot of distributions do not include proprietary software, the printer does not work.

When the printer is turned on, it is possible to use the following command

  tail -f /var/log/messages

to see the following system message:

  Feb  9 01:13:21 toby /usr/bin/hplj1018: Missing HP LaserJet 1018 firmware file /usr/share/foo2zjs/firmware/sihp1018.dl

  Feb  9 01:13:21 toby /usr/bin/hplj1018: ...read foo2zjs installation instructions and run ./getweb 1018

3.7.2. Solution: Install the proprietary firmware

Execute the following commands:

  apt-get install foo2zjs

  getweb 1018

  arm2hpdl sihp1018.img > /usr/share/foo2zjs/firmware/sihp1018.dl

Turn off the printer

Turn on the printer

This time, the following system message should be displayed:

  Feb  9 01:16:48 toby /usr/bin/hplj1018: loading HP LaserJet 1018 firmware /usr/share/foo2zjs/firmware/sihp1018.dl to /dev/usb/lp0 ...

  Feb  9 01:16:48 toby /usr/bin/hplj1018: ... download successful.

3.7.3. Keywords:

HP laserjet 1018, printer, cups

3.7.4. Created / Last modified:

2007-10-20 / 2007-10-20

3.8. Printer HP710C doesn't work with cups

The cups is right configured but the printer doesn't work.

3.8.1. Cause: Impossible to fine the ppd file

By default, cups should search for user's defined printer in the /etc/cups/ppd/ directory, but for this printer it expects to find its ppd file in the /etc/ directory instead.

3.8.2. Solution: Provide the ppd file

Copy the required file to the expected directory as following:

  cp -a /etc/cups/ppd/HP710C.ppd /etc

Note: creating a link instead of copying the file doesn't solve the problem.

3.8.3. Keywords:

HP710C, printer, cups

3.8.4. Created / Last modified:

2003-09-03 / 2003-09-03

3.9. Printer HP PSC 2110 all-in-one doesn't work

This is an all-in-one device (printer and scanner) and there are the following drivers for this device:

  hpijs (for the printer)

  hpoj (for the scanner) NOW OBSOLETE!!!

  hplip (for both printer and scanner)

3.9.1. Cause: The drivers are wrong installed/configured

After have installed the drivers with

  apt-get install hpijs hplip

you have to configure CUPS.

3.9.2. Solution: Correctly configure the drivers

Follow the following steps:

- login to CUPS (e.g.: http://localhost:631)

- select your printer

- click "Modify Printer"

- click "continue"

- select "AppSocket/HP JetDirect"

- click "continue"

- add something like "ptal:/mlc:usb:PSC_2100_Series"

- click "continue"

- select manufacturer "HEWLETT-PACKARD"

- click "continue"

- select model "HP PSC 2110, Foomatic + hpijs (recommended) (en)"

- click "continue"

These informations has been extraced from http://hpoj.sourceforge.net/hpoj-0.91/doc/setup-print.html.

3.9.3. Keywords:

HP PSC 2110, printer, scanner

3.9.4. Created / Last modified:

2004-10-16 / 2006-06-05

3.10. Wrong keyboard

By pressing a key, a wrong character is displayed.

3.10.1. Cause: Wrong keyboard configuration

This normally happens when the system is installed for the first time.

3.10.2. Solution: Configure the keyboard

Execute as root:

  dpkg-reconfigure console-data

3.10.3. Keywords:


3.10.4. Created / Last modified:

2004-05-01 / 2004-08-11

4. Network

4.1. Got the following error: 'Gtk-WARNING **: cannot open display:'

When a program is started on a remote machine or locally using ssh, it's possible to get such an error. In this case, the program will not be started.

4.1.1. Cause: X11 forwarding disabled

Using ssh with the option -X, it's possible to forward the display. This parameter does not have effect if X11 forwarding is disabled.

4.1.2. Solution: Enable X11 forwarding

Search the following line in /etc/ssh/sshd_config

  X11Forwarding no

and replace it with

  X11Forwarding yes

Restart the ssh daemon

  /etc/init.d/ssh restart

That's it! Starting from now, using the -X option, it is possible to start graphical applications from remote machines. Here an example:

  ssh myHost -l myUser -X

4.1.3. Keywords:

ssh, sshd, cannot open display, x11, forwarding

4.1.4. Created / Last modified:

2005-08-03 / 2005-08-03

5. System

5.1. An installed package doesn't work anymore

A program doesn't start anymore or crashs.

5.1.1. Cause: Corrupted files

One or some files constituent the package are corrupted.

This could happen by system crashs or hard power off in conjunction with not journalized filesystems.

5.1.2. Solution: Reinstall the package

To reinstall the package execute as root:

  apt-get --reinstall install name_of_your_package

In this way, the installed package is overwritten with the original version and since the installed package must not be removed first, it's possible to reinstall also packages that are part of the system base. In fact, such packages can't normally be removed without destroying your system too.

5.1.3. Keywords:

package, program, crash, corrupted, broken, reinstall

5.1.4. Created / Last modified:

2004-05-06 / 2004-05-06

5.2. Cannot boot root partition

The boot process hangs up. (e.g.: lilo failure, kernel panic, ...).

5.2.1. Cause: A lot

There are a lot of things that can fail during the boot process, but all can be solved with the following solution.

5.2.2. Solution: Chroot to the root partition

For this procedure, you need a second system installed on the disk. If not, than you need a boot disk like http://www.knoppix.org.

Boot the system and mount your corrupted system.

For LVM only (if you haven't your system on a LVM partition, you can skip the following steps):


If requested run

  vgscan -f

If you get a request to import the volume group:

  vgimport -f /dev/your_partition your_volume_group

Activate all the volume groups:

  vgchange -a y

  mount /dev/your_vg/your_lv /mnt

For not LVM:

  mount /dev/your_partition /mnt

Now, for all, execute the following commands:

  chroot /mnt /bin/bash

  vi fstab

  mount -a

  mount -t proc proc /proc

  cat /proc/mounts (check mounted partitions)

With chroot, you will "put" in your /mnt partition (in this case /mnt should be your corrupted system) and you can work same as you had booted your corrupted system (with some limitations, but for this scope it doesn't matter).

You can now fix your problem and when you have finished, just call


and reboot.

5.2.3. Created / Last modified:


5.3. Cannot shutdown PC pressing power button

5.3.1. Cause: The necessary tools are not installed

In order to shutdown the computer by pressing the power button, the ACPI tools are required.

5.3.2. Solution: Install acpid

Just the following package is required:

  apt-get install acpid

To have any effect, you have to reboot your pc.

5.3.3. Keywords:

acpi, power off, shutdown

5.3.4. Created / Last modified:

2005-07-29 / 2005-07-29

5.4. Clearing screen after shell logout

If you use bash (which is probable), create a file in your home directory called .bash_logout and put the following command there:


At each logout, all the commands present here will be executed. Therefore in this case the command "clear" will be called.

5.4.1. Created / Last modified:


5.5. Command: apt-cache

5.5.1. Description: Search for a specific package

  apt-cache search mozilla

This lists all the packages containing the word "mozilla" in their name or their description.

Note: it's also possible to search for a functionality (e.g.: searching for "browser" instead of "mozilla").

5.5.2. Description: Show informations about a specific package

  apt-cache show rdate

This command is similar to dpkg --info your_package.

5.5.3. Description: Show dependencies of a package

  apt-cache depends your_package

This shows which packages are required by your_package.

5.5.4. Description: Show reverse dependencies of a package

  apt-cache rdepends your_package

This shows which packages are required by your_package.

5.5.5. Description: Show the reverse dependencies

  apt-cache showpkg your_package

This shows which packages require your_package.

5.5.6. Keywords:

5.5.7. Created / Last modified:

2004-05-09 / 2005-02-18

5.6. Command: apt-file

5.6.1. Description: Search which package contains a specified file

To list the packages containing my_file:.

  apt-file list my_file

Note: in order to make such a search, the database should be first updated by calling

  apt-file update

5.6.2. Keywords:


5.6.3. Created / Last modified:

2004-05-09 / 2004-05-09

5.7. Command: apt-get

5.7.1. Description: Set the default release

Add the following line

  APT::Default-Release "your_release"

in your


Possible values for your_release are:

  stable, testing, unstable

5.7.2. Description: Install a package from an other release

Use the parameter -t to select from which realease do you want to install a package.

For example, to install from unstable use the following command:

  apt-get -t unstable my_package

5.7.3. Hold / unhold package

To put a package to hold:

  echo "package_name hold" | dpkg --set-selections

  echo "package_name install" | dpkg --set-selecions

5.7.4. Description: Remove each trace of a package

To completely remove a package (included its configuration files, log files, ...) use the --purge option:

  apt-get --purge remove my_package

5.7.5. Description: Solve some problems during dist-upgrade

To see more informations during a dist-upgrade process:

  apt-get -o Debug::pkgProblemResolver=yes dist-upgrade

5.7.6. Keywords:


5.7.7. Created / Last modified:

2004-05-09 / 2004-09-26

5.8. Command: dpkg

5.8.1. Description: List package content

  dpkg -c my_package

5.8.2. Description: List installed packages

  dpkg -l [my_package]

5.8.3. Description: Show package information

  dpkg -I my_package

5.8.4. Description: Show which pacakge a file belongs to

  dpkg -S my_file

5.8.5. Created / Last modified:

2005-02-18 / 2005-02-18

5.9. Doesn't exist a .deb package (package for Debian) of a program

I would like to install a program, but I can't find a Debian package of them.

5.9.1. Cause: It's too early to find a Debian package

Debian is a very stable operating system but the price to pay is that it needs a while since a package enters the official repository.

5.9.2. Solution: Convert .rpm files to .deb files

When somebody writes free software, it normally releases it in tar.gz files or rpm files. Therefore, go to the author's homepage and download the .rpm version. At this point, it's very easy to convert it to a .deb file.

Just execute as root:

  alien your_file.rpm your_file.deb

and you will obtain an unofficial Debian package that you can install with:

  dpkg -i your_file.deb

Please note that this Debian package will know nothing about dependencies and if it conflicts with an other installed package you could have some troubles.

When an official Debian package will be available, if it has exactly the same name as your self debianized package, the unofficial version will be automagically replaced by the official one. Otherwise, you can remove it manually executing:

  dpkg -r your_file (this time without the extension .deb!)

5.9.3. Keywords:

debian, deb, rpm, alien, conversion

5.9.4. Created / Last modified:

2004-05-06 / 2004-05-06

5.10. CTRL + ALT + DEL behaviour

Want to change the behaviour of pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL

5.10.1. Cause: Want use this key combination for something different of that defined by the system.

Normaly, pressing the keys CTRL, ALT and DEL at the same time, reboots the system.

5.10.2. Solution: Edit /etc/inittab

The file /etc/inittab contains lines like the following

  # What to do when CTRL-ALT-DEL is pressed.

  ca:12345:ctrlaltdel:/sbin/shutdown -t1 -a -r now

Replacing '/sbin/shutdown -t1 -a -r now' with an other script, will call this new script each time the three keys are pressed simultaneously.

5.10.3. Keywords:

CTRL, ALT, DEL, reboot

5.10.4. Created / Last modified:

2004-05-06 / 2004-05-06

5.11. Don't want access CUPS as root

I want to permit a user to make some administration tasks, but I don't want to give him the root password.

5.11.1. Cause: The user is a normal user and shouldn't have access to the whole system.

This is the right way to work. Don't give useless privileges to users that don't are responsible for the system administration.

5.11.2. Solution: Add user to lpadmin group

CUPS provides the lpadmin group, that is a group with super user privileges but for the printer administration only. Therefore, adding the user to this group (e.g.: editing /etc/group file), will permit the user to access CUPS administration tasks with his own login (own username and password!).

5.11.3. Keywords:

CUPS, root

5.11.4. Created / Last modified:

2005-01-16 / 2005-01-16

5.12. Grub: 'Could not find device for /boot'

This error message appears when the following command is called:

  grub-install /dev/xxx

where xxx is one of the possible devices (e.g.: hda, hdb, sda, sdb, ...).

5.12.1. Cause: The specified device is not mounted

In order to install grub, the device has to be mounted.

5.12.2. Solution: Mount the specified device

Just call

  mount /dev/xxx

where xxx is the wanted device.

5.12.3. Keywords:

grub, grub-install

5.12.4. Created / Last modified:

2005-08-11 / 2005-08-11

5.13. How to find the name of a Debian package

I approximately know the name of a package but I can't install it because the system says

  "E: Couldn't find package my_package"

5.13.1. Cause: The exactly name of the package is required

It's not possible to install a package just but giving an approximately name.

5.13.2. Solution 1: Search the exactly name with apt-cache

The package apt-cache, shows all the packages that can be installed according your entries in the file


In order to use it, it must be first installed. Therefore, if not already installed, execute as root:

  apt-get update

  apt-get install apt-cache

Now it's possible to search for the desired package with:

  apt-cache search your_package

The search is done in all the names and the descriptions off the available packages.

To sort the result alphabetically, just do so:

  apt-cache search your_package | sort

5.13.3. Solution 2: Synaptic

It's possible to search for the exactly name of a package and also install it with a very good tool (GUI version). To install it:

  apt-get update

  apt-get install synaptic

and to call it, just type as root:


5.13.4. Keywords:

package, name, apt-cache

5.13.5. Created / Last modified:

2004-05-09 / 2004-05-09

5.14. Kernel 2.6 and LVM

5.14.1. Cannot boot the correct partition with a 2.6 kernel and LVM.

If there are more than one root partition in LVM, it could be that the wrong will be booted.

5.14.2. Cause: LILO bug

Lilo ignores the root parateter in /etc/lilo.conf.

5.14.3. Solution 1: Update lilo

Click here for the patch: http://www.saout.de/misc/.

5.14.4. Solution 2: Pass the right root partition to the kernel as parameter

Make such an entry in the append parameter:


Replace yourVG and yourLV with the right names!

5.14.5. Created / Last modified:


5.15. Menu

5.15.1. Add a link to an application in the Gnome menu

To add an item just make an appropriate entry in:


5.15.2. Created / Last modified:


5.16. Wrong language of the OS

All the menus are in the wrong language.

5.16.1. Cause: The locales are wrong configured

This normally happens when you install for the first time the system.

5.16.2. Solution: Reconfigure the locales

Execute as root:

  dpkg-reconfigure locales

5.16.3. Keywords:

language, locales, localisation

5.16.4. Created / Last modified:

2004-05-01 / 2004-05-01

5.17. Kernel compilation with GUI

The command

  make xconfig

breaks with the following error

  make: *** [xconfig] Error 2

5.17.1. Cause: The needed packages are not installed

5.17.2. Solution: Install missing packages

Just call:

  apt-get install libqt3-mt-dev

5.17.3. Keywords:

QT libraries

5.17.4. Created / Last modified:

2005-11-26 / 2005-11-26

6. Video

6.1. Missing video when playing Micro$oft format

Playing a Microsuck video (with xine, gxine, mplayer, ...), only the sound works.

6.1.1. Cause: The required coded is missing

In order to play a specific video format, the corresponding coded is needed. Since Micro$oft codeds are not free, Debian doesn't provides them in the official distribution.

6.1.2. Solution: Install the Micr$oft codes from apt-get.org

There are already some people that has made a debian package and are sharing it. You can look at apt.get.org or simply add this link (also taken from there) to your /etc/apt/sources.list

  deb ftp://ftp.nerim.net/debian-marillat/ testing main

then update the list of available packages

  apt-get update

and install the missing coded

  apt-get install w32codecs

6.1.3. Keywords:

w32codecs, xine, gxine, mplayer

6.1.4. Created / Last modified:

2005-01-23 / 2005-01-23

7. Web server

7.1. Missing php parameter with Apache2

Loading a .php page works fine, but when a parameter is passed to a .php page, it does not exist inside the .php page it self.

For example, by calling


the variable $user is empty inside the hello.php page.

7.1.1. Cause: The variable is accessed in the wrong way

Each imported variable can be accessed in more ways. One of them (directly asking it) is not working in this case.

7.1.2. Solution: Access the variable via $_GET

Each imported variable can be asked for in the following way:


Take care the is no "$" before the variable name!

For example:


7.1.3. Cause: By default Apache2 does not allow such operations

Since this is an unsecure operation, it is turned off in Apache2.

7.1.4. Solution: Turn it on

Consider the alternative solution instead of turn this operation on, because it is unsafe!

Change the file


as following:

  register_globals = On

7.1.5. Keywords:

Apache2, PHP

7.1.6. Created / Last modified:

2006-01-03 / 2006-01-06

8. Xwindow

8.1. Can't start XFree86 with a Matrox Millenium G400 card

The Xwindow can't be started and no any error messages are given after updating XFree86 to version 4.2.1-3.

8.1.1. Cause: Problem with the mga_hal driver

The driver mga_hal can't be loaded.

8.1.2. Solution: Remove mga_hal driver

The Matrox Millenium G400 graphic card has two drivers:

- mga.o (main driver)

- mga_hal.o (optional driver)

The first versions of the xserver-xfree86 didn't provide the drivers for this card. Therefore, the driver(s) had must been installed manually.

Since version 4.2.1-3, the mga.o driver has been included in this package.

If both drivers were installed on the system, updating to version 4.2.1-3 cause that the mga.o driver will be overwritten by the new version and the old mga_hal.o will be kept. As consequence, starting the Xwindow, the new mga.o driver is correctly loaded but the mga_hal can't be loaded because the version differs. Since it's optional, the mga_hal driver can be safely removed.

8.1.3. Keywords:

XFree86, XWindow, Matrox, G400

8.1.4. Created / Last modified:

2003-09-03 / 2003-09-05

8.2. Configuring XFree86

8.2.1. Using debconf

First at all, make your configuration with:

  dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86

than generate the configuration file:

  dexconf -o /etc/X11/XF86Config-4

8.2.2. Created / Last modified:


8.3. Installing True Type fonts

Just install these packages and follow the instructions:

  apt-get install msttcorefonts x-ttcidfont-conf

8.3.1. Created / Last modified:


8.4. Xsession login failure

The login process return an error such

  mkdtemp: private socket dir: Permission denied

and breaks.

8.4.1. Cause: The directory /tmp has the wrong permissions

The /tmp directory is used during the login process. If this directory doesn't have the correct permissions, the user who is logging in cannot write into it and the login process breaks.

The permission must be:

  drwxrwxrwt 10 root root 4096 Jun 7 22:00 tmp/

Note that the "t" means the sticky bit is set.

This bit indicates that all the users can change/remove the owner files only, also if the directory is world writable.

8.4.2. Solution: Set the right permissions to /tmp

Execute as root:

  chmod 1777 /tmp

8.4.3. Keywords:

Xwindow, session, gnome, kde, login

8.4.4. Created / Last modified:

2004-06-07 / 2004-06-07

8.5. Cannot change the Gnome splash screen

The gnome splash screen can be changed replacing the file


but doesn't work for Debian.

8.5.1. Cause: Debian uses an own splash screen

If you look at the splash screen during the login process, you will note it contains the name Debian.

8.5.2. Solution: Replace the Debian splash screen

Debian takes the splash screen from


  This is just a link to


therefore, to replace the image just change this last link.

8.5.3. Keywords:

Gnome, splash

8.5.4. Created / Last modified:

2005-02-15 / 2005-02-15

Emidio Planamente

Last modified on 2007-10-20