Getting rid of a Dropbox error message on a Linux-powered PC

One of my PC’s has ended up becoming a testing ground for a number of Linux distributions. The list has included openSUSE, Fedora, Arch and LMDE with Sabayon being the latest incumbent. From Arch onwards in that list though, a message has appeared on loading the desktop with every one of these when I have Dropbox’s client set up on there:

Unable to monitor entire Dropbox folder hierarchy. Please run “echo 100000 | sudo tee /proc/sys/fs/inotify/max_user_watches” and restart Dropbox to correct the problem.

Even applying the remedy that the message suggests won’t permanently fix the problem. For that, you need to edit /etc/sysctl.conf with superuser access and add the following line to it:

fs.inotify.max_user_watches = 100000

With that in place, you can issue the following command to fix the problem in the current session (assuming your user account is listed in /etc/sudoers):

sudo sysctl -p & dropbox stop & dropbox start

A reboot should demonstrate that the messages no longer appear again. For a good while, I had ignored it but curiosity eventually got me to find out how it could be stopped and led to what you find above.

Removing VMware Player from Linux Mint Debian Edition

A whole slew of updates have appear for my Linux Mint Debian Edition PC. However, to instate them, I needed to remove VMware Player and this is the command to do so:

sudo vmware-installer -u vmware-player

It worked in my case and my system updates are in progress as I write this. The same command should work for other Linux distros where VMware Player was installed using the *.bundle installer. VMware Player remains in place on my main PC though so I am not ditching it just yet, even if I have to be careful when running it on Linux Mint 13 so as not to freeze the system on myself.

Changing from Nouveau to Nvidia Graphics Drivers on Linux Mint Debian Edition 64-bit

One way of doing this is to go to the Nvidia website and download the latest file from the relevant page on there. Then, the next stage is to restart your PC and choose rescue mode instead of the more usual graphical option. This drops you onto a command shell that is requesting your root password. Once this is done, you can move onto the next stage of the exercise. Migrate to the directory where the *.run file is located and issuing a command similar to the following:

bash NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-295.40.run

The above was the latest file available at the time of writing so the name may have changed by the time that you read this. If the executable asks to modify your X configuration file, I believe that the best course is to let it do that. Editing it yourself or running nvidia-xconfig are alternative approaches if you so prefer.

Proprietary Nvidia drivers are included the repositories for Linux Mint Debian Edition so that may be a better course of action since you will get updates through normal system update channels. Then, the course of action is to start by issuing the following installation comands:

sudo apt-get install module-assistant
sudo apt-get install nvidia-kernel-common
sudo apt-get install nvidia-glx
sudo apt-get install kernel-source-NVIDIA
sudo apt-get install nvidia-xconfig

Once those have completed, issuing the following in turn will complete the job ahead of a reboot:

sudo m-a a-i nvidia
sudo modprobe nvidia
sudo nvidia-xconfig

If you reboot before running the above like I did, you will get a black screen with a flashing cursor instead of a full desktop because X failed to load. Then, the remedy is to reboot the machine and choose the rescue mode option, provide the root password and issue the three commands (at this point, the sudo prefix can be dropped because it’s unneeded) then. Another reboot will see order restored and the new driver in place. Running the following at that point will do a check on things as will be the general appearance of everything:

glxinfo | grep render

Synchronising package selections between Linux Mint and Linux Mint Debian Edition

To generate the package list on the GNOME version of Linux Mint, I used the Backup Tool. It simply was a matter of using the Backup Software Selection button and telling it where to put the file that it generates. Alternatively, dpkg can be used from the command line like this:

sudo dpkg --get-selections > /backup/installed-software.txt

After transferring the file to the machine with Linux Mint Debian Edition, I tried using the Backup Tool on there too. However, using the Restore Software Selection button and loading the required only produced an irrecoverable error. Therefore, I set to looking around the web and found a command line approach that did the job for me.

The first step is to load the software selection using dpkg by issuing this command (it didn’t matter that the file wasn’t made using the dpkg command though I suspect that’s what the Linux Mint Backup Tool was doing that behind the scenes):

sudo dpkg --set-selections < /backup/installed-software.txt

Then, I started dselect and chose the installation option from the menu that appeared. First time around, it fell over but trying again was enough to complete the job. Packages available to the vanilla variant of Linux Mint but not found in the LMDE repositories were overlooked as I had hoped and installation of the extra packages had no impact on system stability either.

sudo dselect

Apparently, there is an alternative to using dselect that is based on the much used apt-get command but I didn’t make use of it so cannot say more:

sudo apt-get dselect-upgrade

All that I can say is that the dpkg/dselect combination did what I wanted so I’ll keep them in mind if ever need to synchronise software selections between two Debian-based distributions in the future again. The standard edition of Linux Mint may be based on Ubuntu rather than Debian but Ubuntu is itself based on Debian so the description holds here.

Uninstalling VirtualBox Guest Additions on a Linux Guest OS

Within the last few days, I updated my Linux Mint Debian Edition virtual machine installation to Update 4. Between not following the instructions so closely and problems with the update server, a re-installation preceded the update itself. When all was done, no desktop environment appeared and issuing the startx command revealed that it was one of the VirtualBox drivers that was the cause of the problem. With my being unable to see any files on the VirtualBox virtual CD, something else needed doing and the executing following command (replacing [VboxAddonsFolder] with VBoxGuestAdditions-4.1.12 in my case but it is different for each VirtualBox version) resolved the situation:

/opt/[VboxAddonsFolder]/uninstall.sh

When it was complete, a scrambled desktop began to appear so a reboot was in order to set things to rights. Then, I could set to looking at what Update 4 had brought to Linux Mint Debian Edition.