debian upgrade / fatal server error: failed to initialize core devices

David Nusinow dnusinow at
Mon May 7 16:31:52 PDT 2007

On Mon, May 07, 2007 at 02:21:48PM -0400, Michael Friendly wrote:
> I'm just a normal user and the sysadmin who has been helping me
> is unavailable, so please bear with me because I'm not sure exactly
> what to report to get help.
> I'm running debian/stable with linux kernel 2.6.8-2-686.  I recently
> did an apt-get upgrade followed by apt-get dist-upgrade to upgrade
> my server/workstation to current.  I followed almost all default
> choices, and the process seemed to go relatively smoothly.  Afterwards,
> the only untoward things I noticed were incessant warnings from
> gv, xdvi, xpdf, etc. about X errors for missing fonts:
>  % gv
> Warning: Cannot convert string 
> "-*-Helvetica-Medium-R-Normal--*-140-*-*-P-*-ISO8859-1" to type FontStruct
> Warning: Missing charsets in String to FontSet conversion
> Warning: Unable to load any usable fontset
> Warning: Cannot convert string 
> "-*-Helvetica-Medium-R-Normal--*-100-*-*-P-*-ISO8859-1" to type FontStruct
> On Friday I was forced to reboot, and then my xorg xerver failed to
> restart, leaving me with the linux equivalent of the 'blue screen of 
> death'.  Included in /var/log/Xorg.0.log are a collection of font
> warnings,
> (WW) `fonts.dir' not found (or not valid) in 
> "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc".
>         Entry deleted from font path.
>         (Run 'mkfontdir' on "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc").
> (WW) `fonts.dir' not found (or not valid) in 
> "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/".
>         Entry deleted from font path.
>         (Run 'mkfontdir' on "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/").
> I read about this in, which says
> The Debian package xfonts-base puts these fonts in /usr/share/fonts/X11. 
> If this is the package you are using, the FontPaths should instead be
>     Fontpath   "/usr/share/fonts/X11/misc"
>     FontPath   "/usr/share/fonts/X11/Type1/"
>     FontPath   "/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi/"
>     FontPath   "/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi/"
> And, sure enough, those are there, but there is no 
> /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc.
> But, I also get a variety of errors in the log,
> euclid: ~ % grep '(EE)' /var/log/Xorg.0.log
>         (WW) warning, (EE) error, (NI) not implemented, (??) unknown.
> (EE) Failed to load module "speedo" (module does not exist, 0)
> (EE) AIGLX: DRI module not loaded
> (EE) xf86OpenSerial: Cannot open device /dev/psaux
> (EE) Configured Mouse: cannot open input device
> (EE) PreInit failed for input device "Configured Mouse"
> pointing to other things.  Not knowing exactly what to do,
> I'm reluctant to start manually editing configuration files
> when there might be simpler debian solution.
> For anyone who is willing to help, I've placed my .log
> and xorg.conf files at

>From your log, it looks like you need to set your mouse device to something
else, most likely /dev/input/mice. I think your fonts shouldn't be a
problem. As for the warning about AIGLX, the nv driver doesn't support DRI,
so AIGLX doesn't get loaded, so that's expected. The speedo module is dead,
so you can just delete the line that loads it from your modules section if
you like (leaving it there won't hurt).

 - David Nusinow

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