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So I installed Calibre -- the epub reader -- on my Xenial drive and noticed right away that the icons on my top-panel & my desktop were suddenly all-white with a red "X" on them.

I re-booted, and the login screen was black (background image totally not there), but the username & password boxes still appeared, so at least I could log in.

The second I was logged in, although I could see that my startup programs had loaded, instantly the entire screen on both my monitors did this whole BLINK-BLINK-BLINK-BLINK thing and just kept up like that. So I can't use my 16.04 system and am posting this from my 14.04 drive.

I installed Calibre according to the instructions on its download page here. The command used was this:

sudo -v && wget -nv -O- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kovidgoyal/calibre/master/setup/linux-installer.py | sudo python -c "import sys; main=lambda:sys.stderr.write('Download failed\n'); exec(sys.stdin.read()); main()"

I later removed Calibre with the recommended "sudo calibre-uninstall" but of course the desktop was, and is, still broken.

On the download page, below the install command, it says:

"You must have xdg-utils, wget and python ≥ 2.6 installed on your system before running the installer."

Since I have python 3.5 installed (and xdg-utls and wget), I didn't anticipate a problem.

Can anyone suggest what steps I might take to recover a functioning desktop in this situation?

Minor update: What's going on is strobe-light style flickering, but I've discovered I can actually enter commands between the flickers. Also, there are held broken packages, and I have to figure out how to deal with those. Re-installation of my Ubuntu-Mate 16.04 just isn't an option, except as an absolute final completely last-ditch effort.

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    How did you know you didn't have Python 2? Ubuntu 16.04 by default comes with both Python 2 and Python 3.
    – edwinksl
    Aug 28 '16 at 4:21
  • That's what I thought, and perhaps I do have it, but mounting my 16.04 drive from 14.04, and doing a search in 16.04's Caja (UbuntuMate's Nautilus-equivalent) on "python" shows a whole lot, but no "python-2x" anything. Aug 28 '16 at 4:34
  • 1
    @watchpocket Then try sudo apt install --reinstall ubuntu-mate-desktop
    – user423626
    Aug 28 '16 at 5:06
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    @watchpocket Boot into the (blank, I know) 16.04 install, then press Ctrl-Alt-F2 to get to a terminal (the Linux virtual-terminal). Login and do the apt thing from there.
    – user423626
    Aug 28 '16 at 5:15
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    At this point, I think only a reinstall would help
    – user423626
    Aug 28 '16 at 5:41
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For what it's worth I had the same problem this evening, and was able to resolve it by installing all of the dependencies of ubuntu-desktop.

I got the list with apt-cache depends, grepped for depends, cleaned it up with sed and fed it into xargs apt-get --reinstall install -y.

Apparently starting the newer calibre versions does something funny to permissions somewhere or something like that.

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    apt-cache depends ubuntu-desktop | grep Depends | sed 's/ Depends: //' | xargs apt-get --reinstall install -y
    – Mark
    Dec 20 '16 at 22:42

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