Category Archives: debian

VirtualBox no longer running in Debian

Today I had a strange problem with virtualbox in Debian Jessie which was no longer running.  When I start a virtual machine I got the following error message

The VirtualBox Linux kernel driver (vboxdrv) is either not loaded or
there is a permission problem with /dev/vboxdrv. Please reinstall the
kernel module by executing

'/etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup'

But the problem was that the vboxdrv was not installed so I was unable to run that command. Alos reinstalling Virtualbox or the linux-headers did not solve the problem.

After all I found this discussion on stackoverflow.  I was able to solve the problem by installing a new version of Virtualbox from the backports by using the following command:

apt-get -t jessie-backports install virtualbox


Linux Debian and Skype – no microphone

Today I had a strange problem with my skype installation in Debian. The microphone seems not to work. Finally I found the solution here.

The trick is the following:

  1. Open the Sound settings when you start a skype test call.
  2. Click on the tab ‘Recourding’
  3. Choose the option : show ‘all streams’ at the bottom of the tab
  4. Now when the skype call runs you will see the skype application appearing
  5. There is a tiny button muting the microphone. This option was selected in my case. Deselecting the mute button solved the problem for me

Debian – gdm3 and Gnome broken after dist-upgrade

Yesterday I upgraded my debian testing release (jessie) and after that the Gnome Desktop and also gdm3 (the Desktop Manager to login) was broken. I installed lightdm and xfce to get back a working desktop. But I can’t figure out whats going wrong until my last upgrade.

Finally I found help in this forum thread.

So I removed all the nvidia packages (I had no nvidia graphic card but a Intel HD3000)

apt-get remove --purge nvidia-*

Next I reinsalled gdm3, gnome and reconfigured finally gdm3

apt-get --reinstall install gdm3
apt-get --reinstall install gnome
apt-get --reinstall install gnome-shell
dpkg-reconfigure gdm3

After that procdure my system worked again!

I don’t understand why a dist-upgrade on a system with not nvidia graphic card leads into such a strange situation.

Corrupted /tmp folder

Additional I was affected from a corrupted /tmp folder which shows the wrong size. To solve this I found the following Blog Post.

  1. press ‘e’ during the grub boot loader
  2. add the following to the end of the line starting with /boot/vmlinuz…
    –add rw init=/bin/bash
  3. press f10 to boot with that configuration – system will start in a bash
  4. remove and create the tmp folder
    >rm -rf /tmp
    >mkdir /tmp
    >chmod  1777 /tmp
  5. reboot system

This helps me to create a new empty /tmp folder.

Debian Jessie – systemd-shim

Yesterday I crashed my debian testing release (jessie) after I updated the system via

apt-get upgrade

The reason was a dependency conflict between systemd and systemd-shim. systemd-shim is necessary for different packages including the gnome-shell. After a long time of searching the web and reading many politically discussions about pros and cons of systemd in general, I was finally able to solve my problem with the following trick:

1) I uninstalled system-shim (8-2)

apt-get remove systemd-shim

2) Downloaded version 8-1 from

3) installed the package ‘cgmanager’ manually

apt-get install cgmanager

4) installed the downloaded version 8-1 from commandline

dpkg -i systemd-shim_8-1_amd64.deb

5) installed the meta package ‘gnome’ again

apt-get install gnome

Now Gnome Shell is back again 🙂 Some conflicts are still there but I think this will be solved by updates in the next few days

Next Debian release will be incredible

The upcoming Linux distribution Debian 8.0 – code name ‘jessie’ – will become an amazing operating system.  I am testing the jessie release since one year and to me it looks promising what we can see so far.

For those who are not familiar with Linux distributions: Debian is the most used Linux destribution in the server world and most internet web servers are running on Debian. But Debian is also the base for the more known Ubuntu distribution. In fact everything you read about tips & tricks for Ubuntu is also valid for Debian and vice versa.

Unlike Ubuntu, Debian is an operating system which focuses on stability and sobriety. There is not a lot of bells and whistles. Debian uses the latest version of Gnome Shell for the desktop which is also focusing on clarity and simplicity. I personally like Gnome Shell and I recommend everyone to try it out.

systemd – speeds up booting

But one of the most impressive parts is the kernel architecture with the new “systemd” daemon. systemd is a system management which is the first process executed in user space during the Linux startup process. Therefore, systemd serves as the root of the user space’s process tree.  systemd allows more processing to be done concurrently or in parallel during system booting and reduces the computational overhead of the shell. systemd replaces the SysVinit concept and it results in an incredible increase of speed during the boot process. My own Ultrabook (Intel Core i7-3517U Ivy Bridge, 8GB RAM, 256 GB SSD) starts up in less then 10 seconds!

Altogether Debain feels very fast and compact. I like to work with this operating system and I like that debain is more clear as Ubuntu which becomes more and more confusing in its strategy (Unitiy vs Gnome, Mir vs Wayland).

Still not final….

Note that the Debian 8.0 which I am talking about is yet not final and still in a testing phase. This means you should not try it out if you are not familiar with Linux. Things can become broken and unstable. But if you can wait I guess Debian Jessie will be available in the end of this year.


Debian freezes randomly

Since about one year I own a ultrabook ‘Wortmann Terra Mobile 1450 II’ which I run on Linux.  The system contains a Intel Core i7-351U chip set and 8GB RAM. But this system shows a very strange problem on Linux (and as I guess maybe also on other operating systems): randomly the system freezes.

When the system freezes no mouse , no keyboard, no REISUB was possible. The screen is corrupted and did not update. The only key board functionality which is still possible is Fn+F9 (switch display on/off). So the only possibility was to to switch off the system hard.

The freeze occurs when the system runs on battery as also when it is plugged. It looked as if the errors occurs more frequently at high memory usage.

The memory…

A memory check (with memtest86+) indicates no problem. Therefore, I thought it had to do something with the kernel. See also the discussion here. But updating every week a new kernel version and playing around with several kernel boot options the problem still occurs.

Back to the idea that the problem comes from the RAM I installed the tool ‘memtester’. With this tool you can test memory when linux is running. For Example I started a test to check 7GB RAM with the following command:

memtester 7G 1

And now I was able to force the freeze. During such a test each time my system freezes. Also when I booted in kernel recovery mode the same situation – system freezes! So this indicated to me that the problem is with the memory.

The solution

If the memory seems to be ok in general (memtest86+ indicates no errors) but the system freezes in situations with heavy  memory usage (memtester) then it may have something to do with overclocking the memory?

In my BIOS settings () I found the following setting:

-> System Agent (SA) Configuration
-> Memory Configuration
-> Memory Frequency Limiter

This was defined as ‘AUTO’. What ever this means I changed the value to lowest available setting of ‘1067’ (other values where 1600, 1867, … up to 2667). With this setting I can not see any substantial impairment of the speed. But from now on my system runs without any more freezes!

So if you are also faced with the problem of random freezes, first try to control the overclocking of your memory. I hope this will help you too.

After all the last question is: Is my hardware to fast for linux or is linux to fast for my hardware 😉


Eclipse crashes in Debian Jessie

After some updates in my Debian/Jessie installation I run into a strange problem with Eclipse. When I start Eclipse first everything looks fine, but in the moment I use some type-ahead features or browsing classes or methods in a java-file Eclipse crashes without any error message. Maybe the problem is related to an update in libwebkitgtk-3.0.

After some searching I was finally able to fix the problem by adding the following line to my eclipse.ini:


See also this bug report: