!$##@%%%!!! UBUNTU!!!

A notebook that TLW uses was the last machine in our house to run Ubuntu GNU/Linux. Recently, it needed a software upgrade to a more recent release. Ubuntu reported the exact command that root had to issue and I did so. After gazillions of files had been installed some errors popped up. The process actually hung. I had to restart the upgrade twice more before it would complete. I installed Gimp, which she was missing, and a newer kernel and rebooted to complete the process. The damned thing would not boot! It could not mount the root file-system.

From the initramfs/busybox I discovered that the logical volume management was not working. It turned out this is an ancient problem of Ubuntu, not enabling the logical volume management after upgrading… and it’s still happening today… Unfortunately the system was still broken, despite the root file-system being mountable, and had no “init”. Upstart was on the drive but would not run. ARGHHH!!!

So, after all that, I still had a system broken as badly as TOOS (That Other OS) which was one of many things that drove me to use GNU/Linux in the first place. Oh, the irony! Thank you, Canonical, for making GNU/Linux more like TOOS with all your tweaks and customization and releases of broken software. [SARCASM!]

The solution was simple. I installed Debian GNU/Linux over top of the crapware. The only real problem with that was I could not find a USB-drive anywhere. I had “loaned” them all out to various ladies who come and go here so they could do “this and that”. Finally, I remembered that the MP3 player I often used while hiking or working in my classroom up North also functioned as a USB-drive. I copied onto it as root (dd if=debian-8.6.0-amd64-netinst.iso of=/dev/sd.. bs=1024k) a “net-install” image of the Debian-installer and booted the notebook from that. I also verified the download against its SHA512SUM (sha512sum debian-8.6.0-amd64-netinst.iso and grep … SHA512SUM). Worked like a charm. Further, there was a means to extricate the backup files from the notebook via a scripted web-server built in to Debian-installer. Cute.

The installation was flawless and the thing booted promptly into a working desktop. I used Ethernet for the connection during the installation because some firmware was missing for the wireless connection. No problem. I later installed firmware-brcm80211. It’s good to have options. I look forward to trouble-free computing on that machine and all our others. Thanks, Debian.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in family, Teaching, technology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to !$##@%%%!!! UBUNTU!!!

  1. Deaf Spy wrote, “So many idling cores, and all of them Intel! Woe on you, Robert!”

    Nope. Woe on TLW. She has to keep the notebook tethered to a power-block or it runs out of juice quite quickly. Further, she’s not very good to the notebook. She keeps setting it down on fuzzy things (carpet, ottoman), blocking the air-vents, raising the CPU’s temperature so it throttles… TLW has a long history of abusing technology. For instance, she will buy some $500 gadget which becomes key to her business but then allow the grand daughter to play with it. Mean time before trash for her smartphone is about 3 years. The last one was operated with a smashed face until it would not work at all… This horrifies me but it does impact her business. There’s not a lot I can do about this. I’ve tried. This notebook is cast off by a friend who does not care about it anymore because he has an even more powerful notebook now. Giving such machines to TLW is similar but less painful to applying a sledge-hammer. Between getting dropped, overheating or losing way too many keys I can’t predict its final demise. If I weren’t going to ARM it would be a decent candidate for Beast IV after she’s rendered it useless as a notebook.

  2. Deaf Spy wrote, “seems TLW is not exactly thrilled of her experience with C2.”

    Well, the Odroid-C2 is in her office but she conducts business wherever she is in the house: the living room, the dining room, her bedroom. She likes the Odroid-C2 for working on her spreadsheets or viewing videos/images where she needs detail. The Odroid-C2 is connected to a 27 inch TV and is not very portable. The printer is also in her office so she uses the Odroid-C2 for word-processing for convenience. I don’t think she’s ever taken the notebook into the office. The notebook is just too big.

  3. Deaf Spy says:

    8-core 64-bit CPU.

    Blasphemy!

    So many idling cores, and all of them Intel! Woe on you, Robert!

    Say, Robert, seems TLW is not exactly thrilled of her experience with C2. 😉

  4. Robert Pratt wrote, “you know you’re wrong”.

    I followed the advice of the manufacturer. If I was wrong then they were wrong to give that advice. They did not tell me from what to what release the command would go. If I’d known that I might have done something else but if you are right then why didn’t Canonical give different advice? Debian doesn’t give advice on the command line much. It’s all up to the user. I expect dist-upgrades to work just as well as clean installs as far as bootability goes. There of course can be packages no longer supported or replacements but that gets sorted out. Debian tests their procedures thoroughly in a testing flavour. By the time a release is made there are few if any bugs and all the release-critical ones are killed off. About the only time I’ve regretted choosing Debian was a weak key in openssh a long time ago and the stress of changing to systemd. That’s two significant problems in a decade of use whereas users of Ubuntu who claim to be wise fear dist-upgrading or whatever Canonical calls it. TLW is quite happy with the new software except for the speed of wireless and I suspect that’s a problem with the ancient wireless access point we use.

  5. Kurkosdr says:

    I never understood the point of Ubuntu anyway. “Let’s repackage Debian Unstable as a consumer-friendly OS, and have the communitah push the resulting abomination onto unsuspecting victims because most of the communitah people are a bunch of idiots who think the general populace prefer having the “latest and greatest” over working software that can dist-update itself properly, so Shuttledork can rake in the Yahoo and Amazon money and pretend to be the CEO of a real software company”.

    Oh wait, I know what is the point of Ubuntu. Well done Shuttledork for properly sensing the communitah and finding a way to make money from it.

    Of course, there is always the one-in-a-thousand case Shuttledork was a careful plant of Redmond, sort of a less conspicuous Elop.

  6. Robert Pratt says:

    I won’t touch on the other examples you provide as they are irrelevant here. In this case, the mistake is yours and you refuse to do the right thing to prove or disprove the point of your post. Excuse after excuse through your replies should be laughable but its just sad. Obviously you know you’re wrong and don’t want to have to admit it. So sad.

  7. Robert Pratt wrote, ” To be fair to Ubuntu, I think that the best go forward plan would be to do a fresh install of Ubuntu on the laptop in question and see if all goes as expected.”

    That would be very fair if I had nothing but time on my hands but I’m retired and have a life full of other things like stratifying seeds and planting them now for the spring. Canonical told me to execute that command and it was fatal. They did not advise making a clean installation. I did make a clean installation finally but used my preferred distro which I have dist-upgraded many times with only rare problems. Ubuntu has bitten me before by altering my configs during a normal upgrade of a package. I hate that. It took one of my servers in a big school off-line, some time to diagnose the problem and them come up with a work-around for the other servers. I don’t think I’ve deliberately installed Ubuntu since except for this blog. I tested the new user-interface. It’s just not reliable to use Ubuntu on working systems. Too many problems.

  8. Robert Pratt says:

    So much poison being thrown around and to me it seems like the last point that is really relevant to the original subject was the upgrade vs fresh install mistake. I’ve used Linux exclusively on all of the computers within our home and my consulting service for over 10 years. I try multiple different “flavours” as time permits so I’d call myself experienced. With experience, you have to know that an upgrade for such an old LTS version is simply the wrong thing to do… end of story. You’re human / made a mistake / saw the consequences of doing so. Unfortunately, you placed the blame where it likely does not belong. To be fair to Ubuntu, I think that the best go forward plan would be to do a fresh install of Ubuntu on the laptop in question and see if all goes as expected. Whether it does or doesn’t, you will have a comparison that this at least approaching apples-to-apples.

  9. dougman says:

    “What do you want me to do, smash the thing?”

    Well Pogsey, if you were a man of your word, I would say yes. Stand by your words and toss the Intel device to oblivion, Wintel/Intel is the bane of your existence and should be put out of its misery!

    In light of all the craptacular items you push on this blog, this Pine Notebook is right up your alley and look its ARM! OMG>>>PONIES!!!

    https://www.pine64.org/?page_id=3707

  10. dougman wrote, “of course you won’t advertise you are running an Intel product in your home you “no need to say more” hypocrite.”

    What do you want me to do, smash the thing? That would upset TLW and that’s not good. Besides, she’s very hard on equipment and the machine is more than likely to be dropped or otherwise punished sooner or later. She’s very careless with expensive gadgets… So, I don’t need to smash it… It’s already lost some key-tops because she allowed the grand daughter to play with it.

  11. dougman says:

    “It has. No need to say more. I don’t advertise their products.”

    LOL… of course you won’t advertise you are running an Intel product in your home you “no need to say more” hypocrite. You just admitted to dumping entirely on your WINTEL argument. Don’t look at me, just say what I do!…typical socialist scum.

  12. dougman wrote, “I am almost certain that it has an Intel processor.”

    It has. No need to say more. I don’t advertise their products.

  13. dougman says:

    “The machine is a decent machine. 6gB RAM, 1gB hard drive, 8-core 64-bit CPU. ”

    I am almost certain that it has an Intel processor. Open a command prompt and run”inxi -F” then post the results.

  14. Ivan wrote, “Why don’t you stop buying yourself crap so you can afford to buy your wife some decent hardware?”

    The machine is a decent machine. 6gB RAM, 1gB hard drive, 8-core 64-bit CPU. What more do you want? It’s just a few years old. After the installation, TLW has no complaints but the networking. Its wireless link is a bit slow. 54mbits/s is giving only 2MB/s downloads speed. The notebook has 802.11abgn so we might fix that by getting an n-type access point. I think the old wireless router is the problem. It’s the current AP and it is slow. I’m looking at 802.11g/n access points. Apparently most of the cheap ones are not gigabit/s Ethernet despite the hype… Why install stuff that’s a bottleneck from the beginning, eh? The new router (Beast III) is performing well. Other wired clients are getting full speed to/from the Internet.

  15. Ivan says:

    The machine was a gift from someone

    Why don’t you stop buying yourself crap so you can afford to buy your wife some decent hardware? Don’t be a selfish twit, Bob.

  16. It’s called LINUX, not “GNU/Linux.” The Linux operating system uses the Linux kernel. The only people who say “GNU/Linux” are butthurt ultra-communists like Stallman (and Pogson).

  17. dougman says:

    “He moved from a 6gB RAM-8-core notebook to something even bigger”

    So let me guess, it has an Intel processor built by System76 and if so, by allowing Intel in your home, you are now a hypocrite.

  18. dougman wrote, “I thought the TLW was using it, which is it?”

    TLW has no technical skill to be root so she operated the machine without root access. The machine was a gift from someone who got something better. The notebook is the heaviest notebook I’ve ever seen. He moved from a 6gB RAM-8-core notebook to something even bigger… The guy uses multiple TV-screens as monitors… She had the machine about a year before I was given root access by the previous owner. Finally, TLW’s demands to tinker with the system overpowered the previous owner’s wish to have as little as possible to do with the system so I was given the key.

    Come on. Ubuntu is supposed to be so user-friendly it’s sold to newbies… Recommended upgrades should not break. That one did to my great annoyance. I fixed the ultimate problem that Canonical was implementing something on TLW’s PC. They are not about empowering the end-user but having fun shipping units.

    Debian is better for what we want. Yes, I did a clean installation… TLW has not asked me to tweak a thing on the new installation. She’s just using it… She did say the Internet connection was a little slow at 54mbps…

  19. dougman says:

    “Nope. It was a LTS release. I forget which one. Could be 10.04, way overdue. ”

    10.04 was April 2010. No wonder the upgrade broke.

    You are a bigger fool then for even attempting to do so, the best course of action would have been clean install. Unless your plan was to have it bork it on purpose, so you can install Debian and have total control over someones device.

    “Previous owner feared updating Ubuntu… I only recently got root access.”

    I thought the TLW was using it, which is it? Did you get a re-purposed laptop from the pawn shop and make her use it?

    Seriously, you need to get over yourself and just toss a Chromebook her way.

  20. dougman wrote, “You must have been on a standard release”.

    Nope. It was a LTS release. I forget which one. Could be 10.04, way overdue. Previous owner feared updating Ubuntu… I only recently got root access.

  21. dougman says:

    “The message I got looked like this but it also mentioned security updates were no longer available for the current release.”

    You must have been on a standard release, and NOT the long-term support release. NO wonder, next time go with the LTS variety.

  22. dougman wrote, “They never state that.”

    Nope. They stated security patches were no longer available and that I should type some obscure command immediately (do-release-upgrade). User data was never at risk. The user data was on the server. I made a backup of a few extra files kicking around and user-settings, a couple hundred MB. The machine had been used as a thick client by another user and that was about a gigabyte. I didn’t need to save that but I did anyway.

    The machine is nice despite running on Intel CPU: 8 cores all idling…

    The message I got looked like this but it also mentioned security updates were no longer available for the current release.

  23. dougman says:

    “I was following the advice of Canonical who made the thing.”

    They never state that. The very first thing they mention to someone is, “Backup your stuff”. Geeeee, I wonder why?

    Do you always follow the advice of someone perilously Pogsey?

  24. dougman wrote, “you version upgraded from one version of Ubuntu to another, of which is generally refrained upon.”

    I was following the advice of Canonical who made the thing. Further, I don’t recall ever a problem like this with Debian and I’ve been using it for about a decade. The difference is essentially that Ubuntu using “testing” flavour, which is beta software and I’m using Debian’s “stable” flavour which is debugged for more than a year before release. It makes a difference.

  25. dougman says:

    “Recently, it needed a software upgrade to a more recent release. Ubuntu reported the exact command that root had to issue and I did so. After gazillions of files had been installed some errors popped up. ”

    So let me get this straight, you version upgraded from one version of Ubuntu to another, of which is generally refrained upon. Then, complained about it NOT functioning or even booting, as it should. DERP. You are an IDIOT!!

    The best cause of action is to always CLEAN install Linux, which coincidentally you did with your Debian install, but you whine about Ubuntu being broken, when you as the user, did something most people do not do. As an alleged “experience” Linux user and facilitator of the command-line, I find your actions to be ignorant.

    Typically, upgrades are just fine in Ubuntu. As long as you haven’t had to follow many tutorials or done any workarounds to fix problems in a unique way (i.e. using a special application to enable your wireless card or made some major changes to your kernel for whatever reason) you’ll be fine, but knowing you and you Pogsey, you hacked it to pieces, so of course when you attempted to version upgraded your system broke. Blame it on Ubuntu, then CLEAN install Debian, which should have been your option to begin with.

  26. Kurkosdr wrote, “Pog, you should really be planning for a migration to Chrome OS and Android. Don’t be the 21st century equivalent of the last guy leaving DR GEM.”

    Those two have problems similar to Ubuntu. The biggy is that there are too many layers between Google and the user. Google can’t make the billions of devices so Google depends on undependable partners. I think that stems from Google not being really into Freedom but utility. Freedom matters and the user is cut out of a full share of Freedom with those OS. That all comes down from the licence Google uses which allows makers to add non-Free software no matter how bad it is for the end-user or the whole ecosystem. RMS had it right.

  27. Agent_Smith says:

    Ah, that’s why its nickname is buguntu.

  28. Kurkosdr says:

    The community should have raised a big red flag over Shuttledork when he prioritized arbitrary shipping dates (down to month accuracy) over shipping better software, and whining about “cadence” as if the community had an obligation to follow him down that crazy path he chose.

    BUT, Canonical is a big company willing to throw money at Linux Desktop, hooray! They are going to fix bugs and contribute to X.org and the audio stack! Let’s help Canonical by making Ubuntu the default distribution for newcomers! By the time the community realised that Shuttledork is a Steve Jobs wannabe who only likes to mess with UI skins it was too late and Ubuntu had become the default distribution for newcomers.

    Which reduces the number of big companies willing to spend big on Desktop Linux down to one: Google. Pog, you should really be planning for a migration to Chrome OS and Android. Don’t be the 21st century equivalent of the last guy leaving DR GEM.

    PS: Also, you shouldn’t really have to have the latest version of the OS to run most new apps, just like my Acer Aspire One with Windows 7 and my HP Compaq nx9420 with Windows 7 can run most new desktop apps, but Desktop Linux requires that, but this is another rant for another day.

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