Luminocity on Debian

This page documents my 'efforts' to install and get running Luminocity under Debian Sid. Fully up to date as of 6th August, 2005. It follows the guide for Luminocity with specialized instructions for getting it to work with Debian. Updated with new information on 22nd March, 2006 (still attempting to get working).

APT Installable Packages

These are the following packages that I had to manually install using APT that I didn't have installed already:

  • docbook-xsl
  • jade
  • libexpat1-dev
  • libglu1-xorg-dev
  • libfontconfig1-dev
  • libfreetype6-dev
  • freetype2
  • libtiff4-dev
  • libpng12-dev



From the above reference:

$ mkdir -p ~/cvs/gnome2
$ cd ~/cvs/gnome2
$ cvs -d login
Logging in to
CVS password: <press enter here>
$ cvs -d get jhbuild

And then...

$ cd jhbuild
$ make
$ make install
$ cp sample.jhbuildrc ~/.jhbuildrc

That simple! It'll be installed into ~/bin, so make sure you've got that in your path. If not, this should do the trick:

$ PATH=$PATH:~/bin

Now that we've done that, refering to the Luminocity instructions do the bootstrap:

$ jhbuild bootstrap

If you're using the sample .jhbuildrc file, it'll want to put things in /opt/gnome2 and appears to do cvs checkouts to ~/cvs/gnome2. For this reason, /opt/gnome2 will need to be writeable for you. You can change this in ~/.jhbuildrc if you don't like it. If you do not have write permission, jhbuild will notify and halt accordingly. Bootstrap will run through the motions, download, compile and install some applications (about 14) to /opt/gnome2.


So now we should be able to install Luminocity (yay!). If we're following the original tutorial we should jhbuild build xserver luminocity. Depressingly this all compiles until you get to luminocity. Debian's a bit slow to come to grips with these sorts of things, so we need to do a bit more work.

The combination of the following appeared to solve things somewhat for me:

$ jhbuild build fontconfig xserver glib gtk+ luminocity

This grabs a the latest copy of GTK+ and Glib and installs them to /opt/gnome2 (or where ever you changed that too). And tada, it appeared to have compiled properly!

Now, thats done, we need to apply the relevant patch:

$ cd cvs/gnome2/xserver
$ wget
$ patch -p0 < xserver.patch
$ jhbuild buildone -n xserver

Testing Luminocity (ATI)

This should be the same as normal Luminocity instructions.

$ cd
$ jhbuild shell
$ Xfake -ac -screen 1024x3072x32 :1 &
$ DISPLAY=:1 gnome-terminal &
$ luminocity :1 /usr/share/images/desktop-base/debblue-1600x1200.png

My first two attempts resulted in my PC completely crashing. Wobbly windows was visible and works, but a bit of playing with the interface resulted in the crash. On my third attempt, I tried for full screen:

$ luminocity -f :1 /usr/share/images/desktop-base/debblue-1600x1200.png

Works! Well. Shame I only have a Radeon 9200 (128MB onboard), 256MB of RAM and an AMD Athlon(tm) XP 1800+. Its a standard Sid box with no custom installed graphics drivers (just I was using it for a while without issues.

Testing Luminocity (Nvidia)

Follow the same instructions as above to start the Xfake session and run luminocity using either the first (windowed) or the second (full screen) command. Both work first try and run without problems excluding those listed in the notes below as they seem to apply no matter what card/driver you use. Several attempts and different customisations worked "out of the box" and apart from a strange 100% CPU load which didn't effect the speed of the rest of the system it seemed to work nicely - I didn't notice the wobble calculation errors Sam seemed to have. I was unable to crash luminocity after a good fifteen minutes of trying.

Tested with a Geforce Ti4600 (128meg) and a FX6600gt (128meg) at 1600x1200, 1024meg of DDR400 Corsair RAM and an AMD Athlon XP 2100+, running Debian Sid using the official Nvidia 7667 (7676 wasn't out but shouldn't make a difference) drivers. (I beat Sams system nicely. *Ahem* :) )

I plan to try it with the nv and vesa (it might work!) drivers as soon as possible.


  • Using the scroll wheel on my scroll mouse killed it.
  • If the background is larger than the desktop (which it was for me), it doesn't resize, but expands onto the desktop below it.
  • Programs can be moved "off" screen. While clicking on the workspace switcher bounces them into view they still cannot be retrieved; take care not to move your only open console into this area! SamuelMoffatt: This was noted in the original document, quoting: "You may have to remap your super key to make this work, esp. if you have no Windows key, e.g. xmodmap -e 'keycode 95=Super_L', which will then allow you to move windows by dragging them while holding down the F11 key."

Attic/Luminocity:Debian (last edited 2013-11-23 01:13:54 by WilliamJonMcCann)