"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." (Robert A. Heinlein)

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Troubles trying to install Deepin Desktop Environment


I have been positively impressed after my latest test of Deepin Linux, especially of its desktop environment (Deepin DE). I so decided to try to install, separately, Deepin DE on my desktop computer.

The beginning

Instructions I found around the 'net, here, there and other similar pages, are roughly all the same: add Deepin sources to “/etc/apt/sources.list” file

deb http://packages.linuxdeepin.com/deepin raring main non-free universe
deb-src http://packages.linuxdeepin.com/deepin raring main non-free universe

Then I imported GPG key for such sources

wget http://packages.linuxdeepin.com/deepin/project/deepin-keyring.gpg
gpg --import deepin-keyring.gpg
sudo gpg --export --armor 209088E7 | sudo apt-key add -

at last I launched the apt-get command as usual

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install dde-meta-core.

Things start going wrong …

Just after the installation process ended nothing happened, I logged out but I didn't find the option to log back with Deepin desktop. I continued working and, after some time, I got a incomplete update error message from Ubuntu update software. The error message suggested to “Upgrade” the distribution. At this point the system was completely wrecked: I rebooted and I got a system who identified itself, using the lsb_release command, as “Deepin Linux”. Unity was barely working while Gnome shell didn't start at all. Looking on the 'net I then discovered Deepin desktop uses its own patched versions of fundamental software like Compiz so installing it on an existing system is definitively a risky business.


The aftermath

After many unsuccessful tentatives (re-install Compiz, re-install Unity, re-install Gnome shell …) I decided for the more drastic (and a little Windows-minded) solution of reinstalling the whole system. Fortunately when I installed Ubuntu on the new disk I decided to keep the home folder a separate partition so, also thanks to this blog post, I managed to re-install Ubuntu at the sole cost of reinstalling all my applications.

Try it again … on a virtual machine

I decided to give Deepin DE one last chance: since my system has both Unity and Gnome-Shell installed I thought about testing it in a “cleaner” machine. Using VirtualBox, I prepared a freshly installed Ubuntu 13.04 virtual machine. Here I repeated the same installation procedure. The installation process completed after a huge amount of time and after asking instructions about configuring the “Openswan” package.
the installation, this time, completed and, after logging out, I got my “Deepin” login option.
Unfortunately, after logging in, I didn't see anything more than a black screen and an error message.

Conclusions

That enough for me: I tried installing on two different configurations without success. Deepin appears to be as hellish in co-existing with other software as it appeared good while running alone … All considered I don't think Deepin desktop is worth all this trouble. Just one last thought, next time you install , if you have enough space on your disk, think seriously about placing the home folder in a dedicated partition. You'll never know when you are going to need it.