I did a fresh install of LMDE and updated it (the CD is somewhat old), and this seems to have broken X and/or Gnome.
I decided to update because a previous attempt to install a couple applications also broke X. Many people in this forum and elsewhere recommended an updated system before attempting anything else.
Then, after reinstall, i did some apt-get update && apt-get upgrade, then apt-get dist-upgrade. On failures, I did apt-get -f install and, after solving dependencies, dpkg --configure -a. mintdesktop and initramfs-tools complained of lack of some directories and files, and I created them. perl failed immediate configuration, and I disabled it for installing perl. I repeated the process 'till I got no more errors.
Now, when I try to boot the system normally, it goes OK until logon. After that, I get an error saying "Error loading session gnome". This is the content of ~/.xsession-errors:
/etc/gdm3/Xsession: Beginning session setup...
gnome-session-is-accelerated: No hardware 3D support.
gnome-session-check-accelerated: Helper exited with code 256
x-session-manager: WARNING: Session 'gnome' runnable check failed: Saiu com o código 1
Then I went to /var/log/Xorg.0.log and saw (among several other stuff) this:
(EE) AIGLX error: dlopen of /usr/lib/dri/i915_dri.so failed (/usr/lib/dri/i915_dri.so: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory)
(EE) AIGLX: reverting to software rendering
(II) AIGLX: Screen 0 is not DRI capable
(EE) AIGLX error: dlopen of /usr/lib/dri/swrast_dri.so failed (/usr/lib/dri/swrast_dri.so: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory)
(EE) GLX: could not load software renderer
I tried to attach the full log just in case it could help, but the forum complained "The extension log is not allowed".
i915_dri.so doesn't indeed exist in my system, not in /usr/lib/dri/ nor nowhere else, so no surprise on the errors above. The surprise is that, searching in aptitude, xserver-xorg-video-intel is installed. It's just not updated, but my video chipset isn't new at all. Anyway, I tried to update xserver-xorg-video-intel in aptitude and also thru apt-get, and I saw it would break several dependencies - some of them seemingly unsolvable.
So, after this long sad tale, I'm left with the questions:
How do I get this driver to be correctly installed? Should I force install and resolve broken dependencies later? Is there another way?
Is it indeed what broke gnome? Is it possible to, maybe, disable acceleration and disregard the driver failure?
Being my system old (Pentium 4), and probably also my video chipset, is it possible that it requires downgrade rather than upgrade for xserver-xorg-video-intel?
Many thanks for all and keep up,