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Old 08-29-2016, 02:10 PM   #1
watchpocket
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Thumbs down Calibre on Ubuntu Linux: BEWARE and DOUBLE BEWARE

So I went to the Calibre Linux download page and read through everything a couple of times before taking any action.

I made sure I had all of the dependencies that the Calibre binary download required, and their correct versions.

I'm running Ubuntu-Mate 16.04.1 and the Ubuntu-Mate desktop.

I am not running stock Ubuntu and I don't use the Unity desktop environment.

I did not install Calibre from the Ubuntu repository.

I did not install Calibre from source.

I copy-pasted the command at the top of the Calibre Linux download page to install Calibre's version 2.65.1 (or the version was there on Friday night August 26) binary install into my terminal's command-line prompt, just the way it says to do on the Calibre Linux download page.

I made sure I had current versions of xdg-utils, wget and python (python 2.7.6) installed on my system before I ran the installer.

I made sure I had current versions of GLIBC "and libstdc++.so.6.0.17 (from gcc 4.7.0) or higher."

But here's what happened:

I got Calibre installed, but the second I opened it, all the icons on my desktop turned white.

So I rebooted.

Then I got to watch my desktop flicker like a strobe light. All icons are white, my 2nd monitor has a blank screen.

In other words, Calibre hosed my desktop.

Needless to say, I ran the sudo calibre-uninstall command and got rid of every trace of Calibre I could find.

I am not happy about this.

I installed this program as responsibly as I could.

I don't mean to suggest I did everything perfectly; but I think I did everything as right as I could, given the guidelines. Yes, I may have overlooked some crucial step in the process, but I don't know what it would have been.

This should not have happened.

My desktop on that system is still broken and flickering, and I am still trying to track down the problem.

My desktop display needs to be recovered from whatever it was that the Calibre install did to it.

I've confirmed on the Ubuntu forums that I am not the only one that this -- this exact same scenario -- has happened to.

May I ask the Calibre developer to weigh in and offer some assistance as to what might have caused this fiasco?

I would be grateful. Thanks.

Last edited by watchpocket; 08-29-2016 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 08-29-2016, 05:01 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watchpocket View Post
So I went to the Calibre Linux download page and read through everything a couple of times before taking any action.

I made sure I had all of the dependencies that the Calibre binary download required, and their correct versions.

I'm running Ubuntu-Mate 16.04.1 and the Ubuntu-Mate desktop.

I am not running stock Ubuntu and I don't use the Unity desktop environment.

I did not install Calibre from the Ubuntu repository.

I did not install Calibre from source.

I copy-pasted the command at the top of the Calibre Linux download page to install Calibre's version 2.65.1 (or the version was there on Friday night August 26) binary install into my terminal's command-line prompt, just the way it says to do on the Calibre Linux download page.

I made sure I had current versions of xdg-utils, wget and python (python 2.7.6) installed on my system before I ran the installer.

I made sure I had current versions of GLIBC "and libstdc++.so.6.0.17 (from gcc 4.7.0) or higher."

But here's what happened:

I got Calibre installed, but the second I opened it, all the icons on my desktop turned white.

So I rebooted.

Then I got to watch my desktop flicker like a strobe light. All icons are white, my 2nd monitor has a blank screen.

In other words, Calibre hosed my desktop.

Needless to say, I ran the sudo calibre-uninstall command and got rid of every trace of Calibre I could find.

I am not happy about this.

I installed this program as responsibly as I could.

I don't mean to suggest I did everything perfectly; but I think I did everything as right as I could, given the guidelines. Yes, I may have overlooked some crucial step in the process, but I don't know what it would have been.

This should not have happened.

My desktop on that system is still broken and flickering, and I am still trying to track down the problem.

My desktop display needs to be recovered from whatever it was that the Calibre install did to it.

I've confirmed on the Ubuntu forums that I am not the only one that this -- this exact same scenario -- has happened to.

May I ask the Calibre developer to weigh in and offer some assistance as to what might have caused this fiasco?

I would be grateful. Thanks.
open a terminal and run calibre using calibre debug command then post the results.
Code:
calibre-debug -g
edit
I suggest running the calibre-uninstall
Code:
sudo calibre-uninstall
reboot your system see if it is back to normal, then reinstall calibre usnig:
Code:
sudo -v && wget -nv -O- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kovidgoyal/calibre/master/setup/linux-installer.py | sudo python -c "import sys; main=lambda x:sys.stderr.write('Download failed\n'); exec(sys.stdin.read()); main('/opt')"
if that fails then run in debug and post results.
bernie

Last edited by gbm; 08-29-2016 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 08-29-2016, 06:14 PM   #3
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Well, I'm not really sure how calibre could mess with the DE infrastructure, and it certainly doesn't have any kernel code (not that a driver crash should persist after a reboot)...

What happens if you try to log in as a different user -- i.e. no pre-existing home folder/MATE config to confuse things?
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Old 08-29-2016, 06:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschwartz View Post
Well, I'm not really sure how calibre could mess with the DE infrastructure, and it certainly doesn't have any kernel code (not that a driver crash should persist after a reboot)...

What happens if you try to log in as a different user -- i.e. no pre-existing home folder/MATE config to confuse things?
Years ago before Ubuntu went to disUnity I had a very similar problem it was a corrupted font, in my home folder fonts folder.
Code:
home/username/.local/share/fonts
I had a time tracking it down. But I could log on as guest with no problem.
bernie
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Old 08-29-2016, 06:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbm View Post
open a terminal and run calibre using . . .
@gbm: Thanks for responding, I appreciate it. But I deleted Calibre and every last thing associated with it, using the sudo calibre-uninstall command.

I don't want calibre. I want my desktop back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbm View Post
then reinstall calibre usnig:
I doubt very much that I will ever reinstall calibre.

@eschwartz: I have not logged into the system as a different user, and I'll try your suggestion late tonight when I get home. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:07 PM   #6
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Given that your experience is not a common occurrence, I feel safe saying that you cannot simply conclude that calibre is in general a dangerous application to install.

Something about your setup is different from other peoples' setup.

You said someone else has the same problem, but didn't post a link to where they said it... so I won't comment about their experience.

...

Granted, you certainly aren't being forced to use calibre. And actually, if you don't know what interaction caused the problem in the first place, then simply reinstalling will probably not fix everything magically either.

For now, just see if using a different user works okay, if so then something in your settings got corrupted which is a much easier thing to fix.
You can revisit the question of whether to attempt to use calibre again, after you know more about what happened and how to fix it.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschwartz View Post
You said someone else has the same problem, but didn't post a link to where they said it....
https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2335346#2
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Old 08-29-2016, 08:47 PM   #8
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Hmm, not a lot of details there, the only thing the other person remembers is that it happened on a fresh Ubuntu installation.

...

Perhaps when Kovid (the developer of calibre) logs in and sees this thread he will have an idea.
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Old 08-29-2016, 11:18 PM   #9
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I haven't a clue. All a calibre instalaltion does is install a few icons, a few completion files and a few .desktop files. And even that it does using the xdg tools, not by itself. I dont see how it is possible for that to "hose" a desktop environment.

But you dont have to take my word for it, the calibre isntaller is open source, read it for yourself: https://github.com/kovidgoyal/calibr...libre/linux.py
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Old 08-29-2016, 11:35 PM   #10
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Well, it sounds like the whatever-it-is happened when running calibre, not when installing calibre.

So the question would be, what can a PyQt5 application do to hose the desktop?
And is it something easily fixed by using a second user -- which implies that the right, or in this case wrong, ~/.config/ file(s) can also be deleted to fix the problem for the current user account.
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Old 08-29-2016, 11:50 PM   #11
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Running calibre does not interact with the system config at all. It stores all its config files in ~/.config/calibre and ~/.cache/calibre

Qt might be touching a few files of its own, but since IIRC MATE is a GNOME based desktop I dont see how that could cause it either.
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
Running calibre does not interact with the system config at all. It stores all its config files in ~/.config/calibre and ~/.cache/calibre

Qt might be touching a few files of its own, but since IIRC MATE is a GNOME based desktop I dont see how that could cause it either.
I appreciate everyone's responses.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't still angry about what happened, but in fairness, I in fact don't know that it was calibre per se, by itself, that caused problems.

Calibre apparently was the trigger perhaps for some latent, hidden pre-existing instability in my system.

If anything, calibre -- I'm guessing it's a one-man operation -- needs everyone's support. Maintaining a widely used program is an enormous task. I've generally heard good things about it and, yes, I'll re-visit the idea of re-installing at some later date.

Meanwhile I haven't been able to do any further troubleshooting, I'll report back with any relevant results.
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Old 08-31-2016, 02:42 PM   #13
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eschwartz wrote:
> And is it something easily fixed by using a second user -- which implies that the right, or in this case wrong, ~/.config/ file(s) can also be deleted to fix the problem for the current user account.

On the good-news side, I created a new user and I've discovered I can indeed log in as that user to a mostly-normal desktop.

The icons are still white, but everything else appears to function normally.

So this is a place where I can work from and either fix the desktop problems on my main user account, or set up shop from the new user account. Thank you again for the suggestion to to try to log in as a different user, eshwartz - it worked.
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Old 08-31-2016, 03:27 PM   #14
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Happy to help.
I thought it unlikely that calibre could have changed anything owned by the root user so it isn't surprising that a new user worked, it is a commonly-used tactic to fix mysterious gremlins.

I do wonder what would be causing the icons to remain white on a clean user.

...

If you want to investigate the causes, and/or simply restore the settings you had before, you can try logging in to the original user via the virtual console, moving selected dotfiles to backup locations (`mv ~/.config ~/.config.bak`), starting mate-session manually and seeing if it fixes the problem.

If not, quit Mate, delete the newly-generated ~/.config and move the backup back in place and try some other dotfiles.
If it did fix the problem, you can try narrowing down where in those dotfiles it happened, using the same process of elimination.

At the very least, you should be able to restore part or all of your custom configuration.

...

If you do investigate, and discover anything useful like which particular corrupted files caused the strobing, we'd love to hear about it. And wherever the fault lies, I'm sure someone wants to fix their software so this doesn't happen again.
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Old 12-20-2016, 05:44 PM   #15
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The same thing happened to me, but I was able to fix it

Either installing or running Calibre does something to one of the packages which the ubuntu desktop depends on. I was able to get it working again with this:

Code:
apt-cache depends ubuntu-desktop | grep Depends | sed 's/  Depends: //' | xargs apt-get --reinstall install -y
Anyhow, I'd like to get a newer calibre working, but I think I'll be a little more careful with installation next time.

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