Debian Minimal – Xorg

It has always seemed strange to me that when installing X on a minimal Debian installation that it wants to pull in drivers for ALL the video cards that have ever existed. Perhaps that was an exaggeration but it would be nice to be able to just install xserver-xorg-video-intel (and perhaps …-vesa as backup) for my Intel-based Eee 1000. Trying various combinations didn’t work, even with --no-install-recommends.

The answer lies on the Debian Wiki, but not in plain sight, oh no – it’s hidden at the bottom of the Debian EeePC page.

As I don’t use aptitude (use apt-get instead), the command I used was very slightly different:

apt-get install --no-install-recommends xinit xserver-xorg-video-intel xserver-xorg-input-synaptics xserver-xorg-input-kbd xserver-xorg-input-mouse xfonts-base xterm

I also added xterm, but apart from that it’s the same. That installs my video driver, a base X server and some input devices. And all without twenty unneeded video drivers.

Apologies if this was a really obvious thing to post, but it has had me confused for a long time.

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EDIT: After the above, Xorg functions but a number of errors are displayed on the tty after startx.

(EE) AIGLX error: dlopen of /usr/lib/dri/ failed (/usr/lib/dri/ cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory)
(EE) AIGLX: reverting to software rendering
(EE) AIGLX error: dlopen of /usr/lib/dri/ failed (/usr/lib/dri/ cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory)
(EE) GLX: could not load software renderer

This is fixed by installing one more package, namely libgl1-mesa-dri. Install that and the error goes away.

apt-get install libgl1-mesa-dri

The package was found using apt-file after reading this mailing list post:

apt-file search /usr/lib/dri/
apt-file search /usr/lib/dri/

It turned out that both files were owned by the aforementioned package.

4 thoughts on “Debian Minimal – Xorg

  1. R S Chakravarti says:

    The reason seems to be that with all the drivers installed, MS-style autodetection is possible.
    Look at /etc/X11/xorg.conf. It has less entries than earlier.
    Whether this is a good thing is a matter of opinion!

    • Nate says:

      Yeah I can see the appeal. The idea of the minimal install (for me) was to save space on my eee where it is at a premium, so pulling in unneeded video drivers was undesirable. For non-minimal systems though, I can see where it would be useful, though I generally like to only have what I need installed.

  2. debuser says:

    Well, you should really try aptitude…

    $ aptitude install xorg xserver-xorg-video-intel xserver-xorg-video-evdev

    This installs a working, minimal Xorg without all input & video drivers.

    • Nate says:

      Thanks for the tip. As my first steps into Linux were via Ubuntu I have been beaten over the head with the “apt-get stick” so it’s a bit habitual. I should try to use just aptitude at some point, though I tend not to spend too much time on Debian (or derivative) distros anymore – just for abusing the netbook which seems to change distro on an almost daily basis…

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