August 7, 2015

Challenges of Lab 3.1

I just completed Lab 3.1: Booting into Non-Graphical Mode Using GRUB.
I just wanted to say a few things things about it here, to whoever might be reading.

The system I am working on is an x86-64 architecture running Debian/sid with the `lightdm` display manager and `Xfce4` as the desktop environment. The system's root partition is `dm-crypt` encrypted and resides inside an `LVM` logical volume.

This installation already has pre-made `emergency console` GRUB menu entries to boot into an emergency shell, but I wanted to do the lab correctly by manually editing the kernel command line for the default GRUB boot menu stanza. I tried appending `text`, this just took me straight into the graphical lightdm login screen. I tried `single`, this booted into the same `emergency mode` as the pre-defined GRUB menu entries already do. However my system has no root password set, so I am unable to as login as root user except by using: $ sudo su -

I then appended `3`, for run level 3, to the kernel command line. Some research revealed that run levels 2-5 are the same on newer Debian systems, i.e. "multiple user, with NFS and network, only text login". Runlevels 2-5 on Debian are intended to be defined as desired by the sysadmin. I was able to login to my user account and get to a console/text-mode environment which was fully operational in this way.

In attempting to bring the system back up to graphical mode, the command: $ sudo startx dropped me into the Xfce4 desktop environment as root user.
I do not have an ~/.xinitrc or ~/.xserverrc file defined in my home directory to be used by the `xinit` X11 server initialization process which the `startx` command reads for instructions. Because of this, `$ sudo startx` does not load my user account with all associated settings and customizations in an Xfce4 graphical session. In the end, I used the command: $ sudo systemctl start lightdm.servicemy Debian is using `systemd` as init. This started up the graphical login session on tty7 with a `lightdm` login prompt and splash screen as usual. To close out a graphical login on tty7, either of the commands: $ sudo /etc/init.d/lightdm stop or $ sudo systemctl stop lightdm.service worked. I know this is ahead of the subject area of this question but I wanted to write it down for anyone else's use.

I wrote this just to inform the class admin or anyone else of the challenges I encountered in this lab ... Thanks for taking the time to read ... :)

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