Thursday, October 16, 2008

Debugging EasyUbuntu

Errors during EasyUbuntu installation are usually due to invalid entries in /etc/apt/source.list, missing repositories, new package locations, or bad package dependencies. Unfortunately, EasyUbuntu will not tell you what failed or why. The /var/log/dpkg.log file will show you specific package failures, but not missing repositories. In other words, if the installation cannot find a required package, EasyUbuntu will not tell you about the failure.

If EasyUbuntu fails, try installing each checked item individually. This enables you to identify which packages fail. In the EasyUbuntu directory is the file packagelist dapper.xml. This shows every package that is installed for each selection. For example, when I select Video from the Web tab, EasyUbuntu 3.022 installs the package totem-gstreamer-firefox-plugin. Unfortunately, on the PowerPC platform, this package depends on a specific version of totem- gstreamer, and the dependency was outdated. Although the failure was due to the repository, EasyUbuntu does not identify what caused the installation failure. Instead, I narrowed down this problem by installing each item, one at a time, until I found that Video would not install. Then I looked in packagelist-dapper.xml and saw that it included totem-gstreamer- firefox-plugin. Finally, I performed the installation by hand using apt-get and saw the cause of the failure.

$ sudo apt-get -s install totem-gstreamer-firefox-plugin
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
The following packages have unmet dependencies:
totem-gstreamer-firefox-plugin: Depends: totem-gstreamer (= 1.4.1-0ubuntu4)
but 1.4.3-0ubuntu1 is to be installed
E: Broken packages

My solution to this problem is to download the source code to the plug-in (apt-get source totem-gstreamer-firefox-plugin) and compile it manually.

There is an alternative to EasyUbuntu: Automatix. This tool is similar to EasyUbuntu in many ways. Automatix automates software installation and is not found in any of the standard repositories. Visit the Automatix home page ( for installation instructions.

Automatix supports more packages than EasyUbuntu, but has other limitations. The biggest concern with Automatix is its automatic installation of potentially harmful packages. It is very possible to trash your system if you select incompatible packages. It also requires modification to /etc/apt/sources.list for installation, and it requires a high technical level to understand all of the options.

In my opinion, community recommendations carry weight. Most forums that compare Automatix with EasyUbuntu recommend EasyUbuntu because of the low technical requirements, safe installations, and simpler download instructions. Two evaluations of these tools are available at and

If you just want to click-and-run, then EasyUbuntu is the simpler option. If you're looking for more detailed configurations, consider the Easy Linux Ubuntu Guide, available at and Although this guide is not automated, it is very complete-covering more options than either EasyUbuntu or Automatix-and has relatively easy to follow step-by-step instructions.

Source of Information : Hacking Ubuntu Serious Hacks Mods and Customizations

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