Reinstalling Xandros packages

How to reinstall a Xandros system package

By Floor Anthoni (July 2007)
The Xandros distro is carefully put together to provide an uptodate, complete and stable Linux operating system. But experiments with unstable packages may render components unstable. One sensitive component is the Xandros Networks package, and when that becomes unstable, one can no longer update operating system components. But there is a way to re-install Xandros Networks and other system packages.

 back to contents page  Seafriends home page   feedback   Rev:070706,

exploring Xandros packages

This may be a temporary hiccup, but Xandros Networks (XN) has the habit of sometimes mysteriously disappearing after Xandros unsupported packages have been tried. It is caused by a bug that will one day be fixed. In the meantime, here is a workaround that makes your system more secure, while also enabling you to reinstall other Xandros system packages. When XN deinstalls, its icon on the desktop no longer shows a blue-green globe but an empty page, and clicking it does nothing.
A healthy attitude to any instability in the operating system, is to fall back to a previous backup. But you may not have discovered the instability for some time, such that the only other alternative remaining is to re-install the whole operating system. Well, this should be prevented in a professional situation. In the case of XN, instability is usually limited to XN only.

The good news is that Xandros, very professionally, keeps its system packages in an accessible page. Go to and be amazed (change 4 to 3 for Xandros v3). Here are all packages that make up the Xandros operating system. My advice is to keep a printout of this page, since it contains the package names, which are often quite different from run-time names, and spelling matters enormously.

Here you'll discover that the name of the Xandros Networks package is xandros-networks-applet. Would you have guessed that?

using apt-get

The apt-get (get application) tool is used by all Debian based Linux distros. It does all the work of searching for the desired application in a maze of repositories, downloading it, installing it and where necessary, updating the menu tree.

Xandros Networks also uses apt-get, but it is hidden under a clever GUI which does many more functions. Apt-get is directed by a configuration file /etc/apt/sources.list. For apt-get to work outside XN, we have to tell it where the Xandros repositories are. With the editor you need to add two lines:
deb xandros4.0-xn main contrib non-free
deb unsupported4.0-xn main contrib non-free

Now apt-get knows where to look. Note that these lines are further ignored by XN and note the funny syntax which means something like: this is a debian repository, http://dadada, with subdirectories, either /main or /contrib or /non-free. Normally such lines are entered with the XN>edit> set application sources, and anything entered with an editor is considered invalid.

Now we could use the command
apt-get update  but this tries to update all packages
but the system does not kow that XN is broken, so we need more courage and assertive action, and remove it altogether:
apt-get remove xandros-networks-applet      (ouch!), followed by a re-installation:
apt-get install xandros-networks-applet    (now you know how handy the up-arrow key is)
It may be necessary to log out and back in to make it work again. Most times, you'll just see the icon on the desktop mysteriously changing back to its original. Try this with Windows for a change!

Instability in XN may be caused by a lack of work space, which is set in /etc/apt/apt.conf where
APT::Cache-Limit 10000000;
needs to be doubled to 20MB (20000000)