Debian Buster @ OCF

Debian Buster will be released in the near-enough future. We ought to start testing it out on our infra so we can update our puppet code and whatnot for whatever’s changing.


of special note: Wayland will be the default for GNOME 3 in Buster. We were somewhat talking about switching from XFCE to GNOME 3 at some point.

What was the rationale?

Just to see if it was something worth using. dkessler tried it on a desktop and said it was not a great experience, though.

If we start testing right now, it would be wise to keep in mind that we’re still 4 months from the soft freeze, and a lot of changes could still happen in buster before then.

I did try installing buster on a desktop, mostly went ok and I made some puppet changes that I’ll send out a PR for in order to allow the puppet run to not error out. I did have some pretty major problems though< the main one was that I couldn’t log in (didn’t have a home directory), so I think something was misbehaving with pam_mkhomedir, but couldn’t track it down. I originally had the same problem with hozer-69 (also on buster currently), which I fixed by running pam-auth-update, so I’m not sure what was wrong there.

Here’s the commits I’ve made so far support buster, for reference:

GNOME 3 on Wayland is my daily driver and I probably would not recommend it as the default on the lab machines, but imo it would be nice if you could optionally use it instead of XFCE. We could also have GNOME extension(s) that provide the functionality of the printing panel/notifications in XFCE.

I would very much like to offer users the ability to pick their desktop environment (I would be a heavy user of i3) but we have to make sure the default bounces back to Xfce when users log out and someone new logs into the desktop. Currently, this doesn’t happen and I haven’t found a way to get that behavior.

It might not be possible in LightDM, idk. I can look into it. I don’t think it would be too difficult to switch to another DM, if necessary. In any case, this is a bit off-topic for Buster imo, since Buster will continue to support XFCE. (The transition to GNOME on Wayland isn’t necessary to upgrade afaik.)

We have a couple desktops on buster now (surge and blizzard), as well as a couple test VMs (hozer-69, which is a bare-bones test VM, and hozer-71, which is set up like a desktop).