By the time of my fourth install, I was really beginning to feel I was getting the hang of Linux. Through IRC, I’d met plenty of really nice and friendly people who were happy to help me through these early learning stages. I’d been invited to a couple of more private channels, where I could get more immediate help on several matters, enjoy more general chat, and hopefully one day, learn how best to help people in return.
I began to get a bit frustrated therefore, when I kept having this problem with X-Window applications refusing to open. I received many different ideas about what could be causing it, and many different suggestions about how to result it, including turning on (or off?) noapic and nolapic in my Gnome session options. I still haven’t worked out what that would have done, because someone else came up with the idea to
mv ~/.gnome2 ~/.gnome2.backup, and that seemed to fix it, at least temporarily. However, it erased many settings, and the problems kept coming back again. I tried reformatting a couple of times, but still the problems returned.
All this reformatting made me a genius at installing Ubuntu and setting it up quickly, using my back-up files, but it was still frustrating. Eventually, after one experienced Linux user after another gave up on trying to find the cause, I decided to just stop deleting the last Gnome Panel. I have it seethrough and auto-hidden instead. It’s not ideal, but I haven’t had the X-apps problem since, so I guess that was indeed the problem.
After 7 installs, I finally began to feel like I was getting somewhere. From knowing nothing about Linux, I had learned how to install it, and set up the graphics. I had made plenty of friends in IRC who were happy to give me support when I messed things up (no matter how often I messed things up!) and I had learned to thoroughly customise my desktop to exactly the way I wanted it. Whichever way I wanted it. I was feeling pretty good. I decided to do one last install, to ensure I had a clean slate with everything working properly.
Once I had my system set up again I decided to give Fluxbox a try. The fact that I couldn’t delete that bar was still bugging me, and I’d heard that Fluxbox is a good, simple Window Manager. Where I went wrong, I suspect, is in performing this particular experiment at one o’clock in the morning. I followed the instructions that LinuxOwns posted here.
It installed fine, I logged out of gnome, changed session, and logged into Fluxbox. Maybe because I was so tired, I didn’t really take to it. It didn’t feel comfortable and the menus felt unwieldy. Maybe with more patience and research I would be able to customise it to a way that works better for me, but at that time of night I decided I wanted to be back in Gnome, so I logged out, changed sessions, and tried to log into Gnome again.
This is where it all started going wrong again, as Gnome wouldn’t load. It just got stuck and hung. So I tried going back into Fluxbox. That didn’t work either. I decided to go to bed and worry about it the next morning.
It didn’t look any better the next morning, so I set about trying to fix it. I couldn’t get into my GUI desktop, but I could still fiddle and experiment using the virtual terminal, which is one of the things I love about Linux. I tried a few things, uninstalling Fluxbox, trying failsafe mode, deleting my .gnome2 folder again, but nothing worked. In the end, I backed up my files and installed yet again. Next time, I am going to have to learn to fix things properly!