broken in upgrades: fvwm & tetex-bin

Michael Paoli
Sun, 2 Jan 2005 10:25:31 -0800

Thanks for the information/suggestions :-)

I did find an effective work-around for the problem I was hitting with
fvwm - *downgrading* xlibs version 4.1.0-16woody5 back to version
4.1.0-16woody4 makes that particular problem effectively "go away" at least
for now.  For the time being I set the package status for xlibs to "hold"
so I don't inadvertantly bump it back to 4.1.0-16woody5 via apt-get.  (I also 
downgraded xlibs-dev, but that was just to keep the dependancies happy).

Thanks too for the suggestions regarding tetex-bin, /var/lib/texmf/ls-R
and mktexls.  I'll have to poke at that a bit more when I get a bit of time
and opportunity.  What you suggest certainly sounds like it would correct
the problem.  I'm still a bit curious what caused it to "break", though.
One of the things I'd also tried earlier, was purge and reinstall of
tetex-bin ... that also did not fix the problem (same errors), but I hadn't
gotten as far as determining what should be responsible for creating and
configuring /var/lib/texmf/ls-R in the typical install/upgrade process
and when/how its contents became empty.


Quoting Don Armstrong <>:

> On Thu, 30 Dec 2004, Michael Paoli wrote:
> > A) I quite recently applied a fair bunch of updates[1] (mostly security,
> > and some tracking of sarge package versions) ... and ended up with a
> > broken fvwm[2] ...  rather annoying, since that's the window manager I
> > primarily use.
> > 
> > I haven't researched the problem a whole lot at this point, but
> > these are some additional bits of data:
> > stderr of fvwm gives:
> > [FVWM][GetFontSetOrFixed]: WARNING -- can't get fontset 'fixed', trying
> > '-*-fixed-medium-r-normal-*-14-*-*-*-*-*-*-*'
> > xfontsel seems to indicate that
> > -*-fixed-medium-r-normal-*-14-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
> > exists
> > an
> > strace -fv -eall -s2048
> > on fvwm ends with:
> > 2992  read(3,
> >
> > 32) = 32
> > 2992  --- SIGSEGV (Segmentation fault) ---
> > 2992  +++ killed by SIGSEGV +++
> > ... and that (2992) is on the fvwm process (PID) itself (no other
> > exec or fork)
> Sounds like you don't have xfonts-base installed (or in the path for
> the X server) for some reason, and then fvwm is segfaulting on top of
> it. Turn on coredumps (ulimit -c unlimited) and see where fvwm is
> segfaulting. [Alternatively, try reinstalling fvwm and it's library
> dependencies.]
> > B) A fair bit earlier, with similar updates[3] on tetex-bin, I ended up
> > with a broken tetex-bin[4], on one of my two home Debian systems.
> > mktexlsr: Updating /usr/local/lib/texmf/ls-R...
> > mktexlsr: /var/lib/texmf/ls-R lacks magic string. Skipping...
> > Error: kpsewhich cannot find file fmtutil.cnf
> Something has truncated /var/lib/texmf/ls-R, which is causing it not
> to be updated, which means that kpathsea won't be able to find
> fmtutil.conf.
> Fix /var/lib/texmf/ls-R by running:
> rm /var/lib/texmf/ls-R;
> mktexlsr /var/lib/texmf/ls-R;
> The fixed file should start with 
> % ls-R -- filename database for kpathsea; do not change this line. 
> and have a whole list of the contents of /var/lib/texmf. (The above is
> the magic string that mktexlsr is complaining about.)