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Thread: Gnome - Some letters show as rectangular blocks

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    29

    Default Gnome - Some letters show as rectangular blocks

    I have just installed a completely fresh OpenSuSE 12.2 with Gnome (32 bit). The lettering in the Gnome menus is messed up. Certain letters and symbols are showing up as rectangular blocks. I have to guess what the options are from the few letters that do show; it's not very good. Text in all other applications shows up ok. I'm relatively new to Linux but happy to have a bash. Please can anyone offer any helpful advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Gnome - Some letters show as rectangular blocks

    Hello, welcome here.

    Rectangular hollow boxes are normaly displayed when there is no glyph in the fonts for that character. Are you using a particular language/sript?
    Henk van Velden

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Location
    UK
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    Default Re: Gnome - Some letters show as rectangular blocks

    No, I'm using English (I've tried British & US), everything is completely standard & default.
    The rectangular blocks are green, filled-in and each is just large enough to cover each individual char. Logging off & on again causes the set of obscured chars to change, but each time it is specific chars which are obscured.
    My PC is about 9 years old - a Dell with Pentium 4.
    Again, it is only the Gnome which is affected, other programs are normal.

  4. #4
    dd@home.dk NNTP User

    Default Re: Gnome - Some letters show as rectangular blocks

    On 09/13/2012 10:46 PM, MikeT23 wrote:
    >
    > I have just installed a completely fresh . . . everything is completely
    > standard & default . . . it is only the Gnome which is affected


    -=WELCOME=- to openSUSE, new poster!!

    your reported symptoms are very strange indeed!! so, gather up some
    patience...lots of stuff is different here whether you come to us from
    Windows, Ubuntu, Mac, Red Hat or Atari!

    please tell us what graphics system you have, as well as what video
    driver you are using...(i don't know how to learn that in GNOME's GUI
    except to use a terminal so please show us the terminal output *and*
    input from:

    Code:
    /sbin/lspci -nnk | grep VGA -A2
    free
    copy/paste the in/output back to this thread using the instructions
    here: http://goo.gl/i3wnr

    so, working on the assumption of "Garbage In - Garbage Out": what does
    your written "installed a completely fresh" mean? that is, does it mean you

    - formatted all pre-existing linux partitions (if any)?

    - then installed from a DVD/CD/iso image downloaded from
    http://software.opensuse.org/ (or somewhere else?)

    - and checked the iso for complete purity by running any of the checksum
    tests as described here
    <http://en.opensuse.org/SDBownload_help#Checksums> (NO other tests are
    acceptable--like receiving the same total bits as expected!)

    - then once the iso image was burned to install media, you booted from
    it on real hardware (or did you run it inside a running MS-Windows?)
    [did you boot from it inside a VM? which? running on what host?]

    - and _before_ commencing Installation ran "Check Installation Media" as
    you see here <http://tinyurl.com/3qde66h>?

    - did you let the media's built in self test run (it takes a good while
    to complete)? what did it report?

    - and then reboot from the media and select "Installation"?

    - during installation did you have any problems to deal with,
    whatsoever? did you have any errors, start overs, or encounter any
    'strange' situations?

    - did you accept the install systems recommendation for partition
    placement, file types etc?

    - what file systems did you end up with, and their configurations? if
    you don't know, please show us the terminal output *and* input from

    Code:
    df -hlT
    cat /proc/partitions
    cat /etc/fstab
    sudo /sbin/fdisk -l
    copy/paste the in/output back to this thread using the instructions
    here: http://goo.gl/i3wnr -- and, if this is old hardware, how old is
    the hard drive and has it ever given you any problems? been tested to
    determine fitness to serve?

    and, do i assume your "everything is completely standard & default"
    means after initial install you ran in system updates using YaST Online
    Updater and have not yet added any other software or made any
    customizations of any kind?

    oh, and i see you selected to use 32 bit, which prompts me to ask if
    your hardware meets the _recommended_ (not minimum) requirements of
    Paragraph 1.2 here
    <http://doc.opensuse.org/documentation/html/openSUSE/opensuse-startup/art.osuse.installquick.html>


    again welcome...sorry to ask so much, but fact is you offer symptoms
    with no specific place to begin (could be video driver, could be a
    scrambled install from bad media, could be bits getting lost in the file
    system, could be bits getting lost inside flaky RAM--which means if all
    your answers above look good, next i'll have you boot one more time from
    the install disk and have you select "Memory Test" and let it run
    overnight, at least 12 hours)

    remember, i did write "patience"..

    --
    dd http://goo.gl/PUjnL


  5. #5

    Default Re: Gnome - Some letters show as rectangular blocks

    Does it also occure in fallback mode?

  6. #6
    dd@home.dk NNTP User

    Default Re: Gnome - Some letters show as rectangular blocks

    > Does it also occure in fallback mode?

    GREAT question!

    --
    dd

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Location
    UK
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    Default Re: Gnome - Some letters show as rectangular blocks

    Hi again & many thanks for all the avenues for investigation. I now have some replies:

    I'll answer the last question first - when I boot into fallback mode, all the text is rubbish, not a single letter is legible.

    My PC is 9 years old, it's got a Pentium4 and it meets the recommended requirements in opensuse.org. It is dual boot with Windows (I still have something to rely on).

    Before installing, I had an unused partition. I installed from an iso image from software.opensuse.org: Download openSUSE 12.2. I did not know about the checksum so did not check it. I booted to the DVD (not Windows). There was a long checking phase but I can't remember what it was about. No problems were reported. I accepted the system's recommendation for partitions and followed the installation procedure as described in opensuse.org.

    Upon completion of the installation, the Gnome menus were already bad. Shortly after that it prompted me to install updates and I accepted. It fell over, I deselected the first 2 items (Adobe related) & it seemed to go ahead ok. The Gnome menus were still bad.

    I have not yet done the Memory Test you suggested but below are the other items.

    Code:
    epsilon@linux-89n3:~> /sbin/lspci -nnk | grep VGA -A2
    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: NVIDIA Corporation NV34 [GeForce FX 5200] [10de:0322] (rev a1)
        Subsystem: NVIDIA Corporation Device [10de:01b9]
        Kernel driver in use: nouveau
    Code:
    epsilon@linux-89n3:~> free
                 total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
    Mem:       1027108     681164     345944          0      35240     343776
    -/+ buffers/cache:     302148     724960
    Swap:      1541116          0    1541116
    Code:
    epsilon@linux-89n3:~> df -hlT
    Filesystem     Type      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    rootfs         rootfs    9.4G  4.0G  5.0G  45% /
    devtmpfs       devtmpfs  495M   36K  495M   1% /dev
    tmpfs          tmpfs     502M   84K  502M   1% /dev/shm
    tmpfs          tmpfs     502M  788K  501M   1% /run
    /dev/sda6      ext4      9.4G  4.0G  5.0G  45% /
    tmpfs          tmpfs     502M     0  502M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
    tmpfs          tmpfs     502M     0  502M   0% /media
    tmpfs          tmpfs     502M  788K  501M   1% /var/lock
    tmpfs          tmpfs     502M  788K  501M   1% /var/run
    /dev/sda7      ext4       14G  9.5G  3.4G  74% /home
    /dev/sr1       iso9660   4.2G  4.2G     0 100% /run/media/epsilon/openSUSE-DVD-i586-Build0167
    Code:
    epsilon@linux-89n3:~> cat /proc/partitions
    major minor  #blocks  name
    
       8        0   78125000 sda
       8        1      48163 sda1
       8        2   52444192 sda2
       8        3      24097 sda3
       8        4          1 sda4
       8        5    1541120 sda5
       8        6    9854976 sda6
       8        7   14208000 sda7
       2        0          4 fd0
      11        0    1048575 sr0
      11        1    4590208 sr1
    Code:
    epsilon@linux-89n3:~> cat /etc/fstab
    /dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST380011A_3JV6CS99-part5 swap                 swap       defaults              0 0
    /dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST380011A_3JV6CS99-part6 /                    ext4       acl,user_xattr        1 1
    /dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST380011A_3JV6CS99-part7 /home                ext4       acl,user_xattr        1 2
    proc                 /proc                proc       defaults              0 0
    sysfs                /sys                 sysfs      noauto                0 0
    debugfs              /sys/kernel/debug    debugfs    noauto                0 0
    usbfs                /proc/bus/usb        usbfs      noauto                0 0
    devpts               /dev/pts             devpts     mode=0620,gid=5       0 0
    Code:
    epsilon@linux-89n3:~> sudo /sbin/fdisk -l
    root's password:
    
    Disk /dev/sda: 80.0 GB, 80000000000 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9726 cylinders, total 156250000 sectors
    Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x9dc97e91
    
       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    /dev/sda1              63       96389       48163+  de  Dell Utility
    /dev/sda2           96390   104984774    52444192+   7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
    /dev/sda3       104984775   105032969       24097+  93  Amoeba
    /dev/sda4   *   105033728   156248063    25607168    f  W95 Ext'd (LBA)
    /dev/sda5       105035776   108118015     1541120   82  Linux swap / Solaris
    /dev/sda6       108120064   127830015     9854976   83  Linux
    /dev/sda7       127832064   156248063    14208000   83  Linux
    Thanks in advance for any further suggestions.

    Mike.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    UK
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    Default Re: Gnome - Some letters show as rectangular blocks

    I just stumbled on a work-around (for normal situations). When I use the Settings For Accessibility (the icon with the stylized little man) and set Large Text, the text is all legible. After that, I can change the size back or to any size with the Universal Access Settings and it remains OK. When I reboot, it's illegible again and must be changed with the Settings For Accessibility again. If I reboot to fallback mode, nothing is legible.

    Thus, if I remember that the Large Text menu item is the 3rd item on the menu, I can at least use this OS while the underlying problem remains.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Gnome - Some letters show as rectangular blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeT23 View Post
    Code:
    epsilon@linux-89n3:~> /sbin/lspci -nnk | grep VGA -A2
    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: NVIDIA Corporation NV34 [GeForce FX 5200] [10de:0322] (rev a1)
        Subsystem: NVIDIA Corporation Device [10de:01b9]
        Kernel driver in use: nouveau
    I'm afraid the FX 5200 is the problem. See these posts about the FX5500 (I doubt the FX 5200 is better):



    I'm not sure how it works with nouveau (probably a little bit better), but with the nvidia driver (all versions I tried), it is unusable with Gnome3. Even if you use nouveau, Gnome still needs the Texture from Pixmap GL extension, which seems not to work with this model. Actually it seems to work, but does not. That's why Gnome doesn't switch to fallback (which doesn't work either AFAIK). I would suggest using KDE or another desktop with this gfx card. Notice that Unity (Ubuntu) which uses compiz works too. KDE works but slow. Xfce, Lxde work. Icewm is just perfect.

    Maybe Mate - which I read is available in a repo for openSUSE - would work, since Gnome2 does.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Gnome - Some letters show as rectangular blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeT23 View Post
    Code:
    Disk /dev/sda: 80.0 GB, 80000000000 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9726 cylinders, total 156250000 sectors
    Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x9dc97e91
    
       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    /dev/sda1              63       96389       48163+  de  Dell Utility
    /dev/sda2           96390   104984774    52444192+   7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
    /dev/sda3       104984775   105032969       24097+  93  Amoeba
    /dev/sda4   *   105033728   156248063    25607168    f  W95 Ext'd (LBA)
    /dev/sda5       105035776   108118015     1541120   82  Linux swap / Solaris
    /dev/sda6       108120064   127830015     9854976   83  Linux
    /dev/sda7       127832064   156248063    14208000   83  Linux
    Waow! I haven't seen an Amoeba partition for at least ten years, I guess.

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