Saturday, October 29, 2011

Reinstalled Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric 3rd time

It was killing me for the AO722 as I have to do extra things each time.

First, the wired vs wireless conflict.  Since the 2nd time, it wasn't a fresh install and the USB OS starts to be "intelligent".  So much so that I can't even boot without an Ethernet cable connected.  All the known methods do not work.  Actually it can't even run on the USB drive, but can re-install itself on the hard drive.

For the resolution, recall that you need to blacklist atl1c in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf.  Then you need to
#rmmod atl1c
#update-initramfs -u

Without update, the kernel will always load the atl1c it remembered. 

Then disable the beep by alsamixer.  Find the conexant sound card by F5.  Actually muting the beep doesn't even work.  You have to turn the beep volume down to zero.

The 1st reinstall, it was because of Unity / Compiz.  The system menu bar disappeared and unity won't come out.  I can't launch anything.  I spent a few times more than the time taken to reinstall.  It wasn't that I mess up the settings.  I didn't even do anything.  I'm certain that many things that go wrong may lead to the self disabling of unity.  It may not even be hardware or desktop GUI related.

It was because all users are affected, while settings to unity and compiz are individualized.  Sometimes a crippled unity2D may work.  But you don't really want to keep that for long.  You can always launch something via terminal - ctrl-alt-t, or bring up an independent terminal session - ctrl-alt-F1.

The 2nd reinstall was due to messing up Grub, the boot loader.  All I wanted to do was to set the delay to 2 or 3 second before I can determine which OS to boot.  Basically you have nothing to do that.  All the docs are confusing as the new install will be Grub2, while if you have an old install, you will have Grub legacy.  The recommended startup manager don't work for Grub 2.  There is the Grub-customizer that can do it but it wasn't in a trusted repository.

I could have triggered a downgrade to Grub1, or I did that accidentally, or I never have Grub1.  I tried to reinstall Grub2, but probably on the wrong partition as root.  I have at least 7 partitions.  3 comes with windows. 1 linux swap.  1 for the OS.  1 for users.  1 unused, to grow at demand.  Once that was the crippled OS with users file for temporary backup.  I ended up with the Grub> prompt at boot.  It is easier to reinstall than looking up the command documentary.

Even with Grub working, there was a lot of blank screens in between the so called splash screens - giving some feedback for the users that the OS is loading.  It takes oneiric 30 secs to get to the login screen (only a few more seconds for Windows 7).  There is 5 sec of blank screen after the bios screen, and after the Grub screen, the rest of time will be mostly blank, until the brief splash screen at the end.  That would be really bad.  My wife thinks it was dead.

When I accidentally have grub legacy installed, there is always a text message telling you that it's booting.

The grub-customizer can add you own image to replace the blank screen.  But without animations you would think that the machine is hanged.

Its really a good idea to make a separate partition for the users, so you just overwrite the OS without copying the user files around.

First, don't encrypt your home directories or any partition containing them.  Because all the user config files will be encrypted.  You can't even reconfigure for them as the superuser.

The idea is simple.  Install gparted to resize, create the partitions.  You need one for root, the OS, and one for /home, which contains all the users.  You have to run Ubuntu on the USB for example, as the partitions must be unmounted in order to modify them.  You cannot unmount the OS, root partition.  You just need to mount the new partition using disk utilities and copy over the old user files to the user partition.

If you are keeping the current OS, you need to remove all the old user files on /home, and make empty dummy user directory in it.  You have to modify /etc/fstab and add the user partition to be mounted at /home.  When you reboot everything will be the same as before, except the users will be on a different partition.

When you reinstall the OS, it's simpler.  The live USB Ubuntu have all the options if you choose the custom option.  You will be asked which partition for root and which one for /home etc.

Sometimes the old users will not be recognized or have errors.  Sometimes it's due to file ownership.  If all else fails, rename the user directory.  Delete the user.  Add the same user.  Copy over the user files to the same place.  Without a separate partition, you or the installer may accidentally erase everything.  And for a clean install, you want to erase the old configurations on the OS.

There is something wrong over at Ubuntu.  It looks very nice and good for a fresh install.  All the geeky things are hidden or not even bundled.  You may win some but if anything happens, nobody will be able to help.  You don't throw the 1% existing users under the bus go get a few new recruits.  The forums are not working.  You have ubuntu forums and then ask ubuntu.  Most of info are outdated.

Whenever you make a decision, you should consider the CIA interrogation manual, classified or unclassified.  One main technique is confusion.  Ubuntu is good at it now.  You will pay whatever price for constant confusion to go away - buy a powerful notebook and pay up for the windows anti-virus scams, or buy a more expensive apple.

And then there is the physical abuse that don't register.  In the ubuntu forums you can't search for more than once every few sec.  In ask ubuntu many proxy servers or potential servers are banned.

And then there is the non-violence abuse.  Posting a link to point to somewhere else is both abuse and confusion.  May be really 1% should be using Ubuntu, but if there is no increase for long, there will not be a Ubuntu.  On the other hand, throwing everything old under the bus will be a disaster.  But if you don't develop something cool, there won't be developers left. 

So, when in doubt of where to go, what to do next, consult the CIA manual.

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