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Re: Background will not change.

On 08/09/2017 02:31 PM, Default User wrote:

Hi tomas.

Cinnamon DE I think borrows it's background settings utility from
Gnome 3.

I had the background (wallpaper) set to show an image from the "Pictures" directory. Upon reboot, the background displayed instead
was the "softwaves" wallpaper installed by default by Debian 9

To change it, I right clicked on the desktop to bring up the desktop
menu. From that I left clicked "Change Desktop Background". That brings up a window showing preview images of the full images
available in (in this case) the Pictures directory.

From this window, I left clicked any image preview. The preview image
 in the window then has a blue highlight around it. But then nothing
else happens.

Previously, when selecting any image preview, the desktop background
behind the window would change to the full version of the image selected. Now, the desktop does not change at all.

This acts the same for for any other directory added to the menu on
the left side of window in question.


 Note: in the menu on the left side of  the window mentioned, the
icons next to the choices above the "Pictures" directory all show as
the "broken icon" placeholder symbol.  "Pictures and below show a
folder icon, as expected. Also, the choices in this left hand menu of
the window can not be reliably selected, sometimes clicking them does
 nothing.  And the Adwaita choice appears to have no images
associated with it.

This behavior (after "Note") has existed since the original install
of Debian 9 Stable.  I guess I just got used to it.


 Fun fact: if the screen saver activates, then the user wants to
unlock it, the password entry box appears. Behind it is a
translucent, faded display of the full background image the user
wanted and had selected. But when the screen is unlocked, the
user-chosen image has disappeared and the "softwaves" image has
become the background again.

No expert here, but I do use the Cinnamon DE on my testing systems. I'll tell you what I'm thinking from my end user level.

Your story sounds very much like there may be some missing dependencies in the DE. Obviously, the data is there, but parts of the DE are having trouble using it. Since you're running unstable / sid and updated recently, the method of upgrade used may have something to do with the symptoms.

Aptitude, apt, apt-get (subset of apt?) and synaptic can have slightly different behaviors from each other during upgrades depending upon their configurations and any options you pass when using them.

If the upgrade removed some packages during the upgrade, it may have removed a dependency or two that are needed for full function of the desktop background feature. I'd check /var/log/apt/history.log to see just what was upgraded and what (if any) was removed.

If nothing was removed, I guess it's possible that something was upgraded to a new version but a dependency was left at an earlier version that doesn't support the parts of the upgraded stuff. I'd think you'd have got some feedback on that during the upgrade process, but things maybe don't always go as intended during upgrades -- especially in unstable.

You can use the aptitude TIA to look at the details for any package names that were removed to see if any dependencies for the DE (or more specifically the background selector) were broken.

Another useful utility is debsums. Running "debsums -acs" as root on a system will show you every missing or altered file in the system locations. It also lists parenthetically which packages have those missing files as dependencies.

This being unstable, you might be able to fix the issue by downgrading the DE, or portions of it, to the testing version. (I think I'd keep it all the same version.)

If the missing files got removed or corrupted in some other way, it's possible you can reinstall the broken package(s) with something like

# apt install [package] --reinstall

I've done lots of experimentation on our testing systems -- especially with respect to changing DEs. My preferred method of doing this is to completely remove task-desktop-whatever and task-desktop. It's more time-consuming and sometimes breaks a few things. But fixing the broken stuff using apt and debsums is very easy and results in a system that's identical in file complement and configuration (barring manual configuration changes) to a fresh netinstall with that same DE on another system. That means to me that Debian's package management really works well and is able to break anything the unsuspecting user breaks through misdirection or inattention. (Of course, that method wouldn't be great for someone with low bandwidth.)

Anyway, I hope some of my meandering may be helpful.