Most of the computers in our house run Kubuntu Gutsy Gibbon 7.10. This is of course the KDE desktop version of the popular and capable Ubuntu distro.
Today, Kopete, the multiprotocol instant messaging client stopped working. It would not even launch. When I rebooted, KDE's login did not complete either.
It was stuck at "Initializing system services ..." for several seconds, then the login would display again.
Initially, I thought that this problem had to do with the video card, after seeing this in the /var/log/kdm.log:
(EE) intel(0): I830 Vblank Pipe Setup Failed 0 (EE) intel(0): I830 Vblank Pipe Setup Failed 0 (EE) intel(0): I830 Vblank Pipe Setup Failed 0
I switched to the older driver version (first, the standard one installed by Gutsy: xserver-xorg-video-intel, then to the older xserver-xorg-video-i810). Neither made a difference.
Locale language packages
Digging through the logs, I found this in /var/log/kdm.log:
kdecore (KLocale): WARNING: Definition of PluralForm is none of NoPlural / TwoForms / French / OneTwoRest / Russian / Polish / Slovenian / Lithuanian / Czech / Slovak / Arabic / Balcan / Macedonian / Gaeilge / Maltese: Definition of PluralForm - to be set by the translator of kdelibs.po
So, what I did was install older versions of the following packages. The newer version that was upgraded and cause the problem is 1:7.10+20080205, and I downgraded to 1:7.10+20071012.
I did this by downloading the above .deb files then running:
dpkg -i language-pack-kde-en-base_7.10+20071012_all.deb dpkg -i language-pack-kde-en_7.10+20071012_all.deb
Now I can login to my desktop again and Kopete does work, although with some messed up strings in the menus.
I hope by writing this post, I save someone the 4 or so hours that I wasted troubleshooting this.
To prevent automatica upgrades to this package from aptitude, you can enter the following command after you have installed the above older packages.
aptitude forbid-version language-pack-kde-en=1:7.10+20080205 aptitude forbid-version language-pack-kde-en-base=1:7.10+20080205
Now, when you do:
aptitude update && aptitude safe-upgrade
Those two packages will be shown as "held back", so no accidental update for them would happen.
Adept would still show those two packages though. Ignore it until a new version comes out (after the bad version of 20080205).