Ubuntu (Debian) server missing X files

Posted on 2006-04-28
Last Modified: 2013-12-15
I installed ubuntu on a new drive when my old one started to fail, following the same instructions that had worked before, with the same 5.10 Install CD, working with (using the server install option as opposed to ubuntu's default client option).  
After two attempts, I can confirm that this installation does not include the xserver, since no X11 directory appears in /etc, although I don't recall any problems like this on my earlier install.
So I started installing these packages:
xfonts-base, xfonts-100dpi, xfonts-scalable packages
The install order is probably wrong, since I installed them as I discovered they were missing/needed.  On restart, the Xserver error is 'cannot stat /etc/X11/X - no such file.'  Also, there's no xorg.conf file in /etc/X11.
I have a nVidia GEForce2 MX 32MB card and probably need to get/install an nVidia package for it, but I need to work out the X windows install procedures first...let me know what packages to install, in what order.  I don't know if a third fdisk will jeopardize the stability of my new hard drive, but it may be quicker that uninstalling and reinstalling packages with all the dependencies involved.
Question by:klukac
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    I don't see any problem with reinstalling again.  

    You don't want to follow these instructions if you need X.  These instructions are designed for a hardcore server, for which one would not want X.  

    Rather than typing in "server"  at the very beginning, you probably want to do a normal install by just hitting enter.  You should then add any server-type programs you need for your situation.

    Author Comment

    I wanted a server with a GUI front-end...found out via ubuntu forums that I also needed the ubuntu desktop package, but they agreed with you that I could just do a normal install...more on that point in a minute.  I also installed an nvidia driver package, ran dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg and disabled frame buffering in response to my Xorg error log, setting the monitor to 1280x1024.

    Regarding the default (client) installation, I had tried installing bind9 on a laptop with ubuntu's default installation and it failed...I could not determine a reason and ran out of time, so it seemed easier to work the problem from another angle.  What's the disadvantage of having this type of partitioning system if you want to run a server app such as asterisk?

     Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System  //this is my client set-up
    /dev/hda1   *           1        4676    37559938+  83  Linux
    /dev/hda2            4677        4864     1510110    5  Extended
    /dev/hda5            4677        4864     1510078+  82  Linux swap / Solaris

    Using the howtoforge instructions, I have 4 partitions on my ubuntu server -  boot, root, swap and var.  Didn't think that partitioning had any impact on what apps you can run, only perhaps how efficiently they run.  Anyway let me know your thoughts on this -  I don't mind building up a server capability by installing more packages - it's when they fail that I have a problem, and I never found out why I couldn't install bind on an existing client machine (in that case, to make it a cups print server, although I probably didn't need bind except maybe to detect host names on the network).

    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    I don't know about the installation failure either, but I do agree with you on your partitioning scheme.  It should work fine.  Besides, with the newer kernels, the partitioning scheme has become less relevant (for example, even a swap file can now be as fast as a swap partition).  

    If you want a graphical setup, yes, just add any additional packages you need.  That's what I usually do if I want a multi-purpose system.
    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution

    One thing you might want to consider is using a lighter desktop than gnome/KDE.  I recommend using Xubuntu, it is based on the server install with the Xfce desktop.

    Author Comment

    Thanks very much!

    I don't remember whether the ubuntu default install gave me the option of partitioning my disk, so it will be interesting to see how Xbuntu handles it.   Correct me if I'm wrong, but the difference between a client and a server setup should just be a) partitions and b) apps (with libraries).   Not sure what the relative benefit of 4 versus 3 partitions is...all I know is that servers use 4 and clients use 3, generally - if you know more let me know.  The reason that I chose a server install was that I knew I would have the recommended partition setup - I could add whatever apps I needed later.  

    Changing the partition setup of an installed Linux OS is beyond what I can do (I've only used fdisk, which deletes everything).  In Windows there are programs like Partition Magic I think which can resize partitions without erasing your filesystem, assuming the resizing is occuring in empty sectors (and presumably you've backed up your files).   Not sure about what Linux has.
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    I really wouldn't worry too much about the partition setup.  I don't know what you will be using the server for, but unless it's going to be used heavily without much monitoring, it doesn't matter.  If you had multiple servers, then using 4 partitions could be helpful for config purposes.

    There are some apps for Linux that can do interesting work with partitions, but I really have never found them to be worthwhile learning for what I do.  You can change the locations of certain mount points, move swap files/partitions, etc., especially if you have free space on the system, without even shutting your system down (unlike Windows), just using some creativity with standard Linux apps on nearly all distros.  Unless you are using LVM (which can resize active partitions on a running system!), however, resizing partitions is trickier.

    Author Comment

    Was looking for more information about the importance of partitions and found this:

    Anyway, it's time to close this out.

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