Saturday, 7 December 2013

Multiple Hassles Installing LMDE

I had a hell of a time installing Linux Mint Debian Edition on a particular PC.

The PC was running Ubuntu 13.04 fine. It is just a generic Asus Mobo with AMD Quad Core CPU and a Geforce550Ti graphics card. Nothing special in there at all.

So I grabbed the LMDE  CD that I used to install the PC I am currently using to type this blog entry, stuck it in the CD tray and booted the PC up.

It simply stopped booting at some point and just sat there.

I rebooted and this time chose "compatibility mode" on the grub boot menu.

Among other things, compatibility mode does not hide all the stuff starting up so you can see what is happening as the system boots up.

My system got as far as "udev starting version 175" and then just stopped. Eventually I decided that it was not going to go any further.

So thinking that my CD may have gotten scratched, I grabbed a USB key and used dd to create a usb key from the original iso I had downloaded.

Once that was done I plugged the key in and repeated the above process with the exact same results.

Hmmm. Now I resort to google and discover that this has apparently never happened to anyone else. OK.

Back in the day, one of the first things we used to do when troubleshooting stuff like this is to remove all peripheral hardware. In my case this was pretty much just the graphics card so I pulled that out.

Boot the PC up again and what do you know I got to the Mint desktop!

So, problem 1 is resolved.

Next, I click the installer and repartition my /dev/sda which is where I will be installing LMDE.

While playing about in gparted I received a warning that /dev/sdc had some problem. I ignored that because /dev/sdc is just the USB key that I was installing from.

So, the install process went smoothly, all the files copied over fine and we eventually got to the stage "localizing packages".

While the install is progressing I had been mucking about on this PC and glancing over at the progress of the installation occasionally.

At some port I noticed that this "localizing packages" was taking a mighty long time. I waited a bit longer until I decided that no, it was not progressing. I consulted top and sure enough there was no noticable activity showing at all.

I rebooted and tried again with the same result.

Then I remembered the partition warning from earlier and tried again, this time going back to the original CD.

This time everything went well. The installer finished and suggested that I reboot which I did only to get an error message from grub;

error file boot/grub/i386/pc/normal.mod not found

Goddamn it. Is this PC cursed?

So, first thing to do obviously is just to try re-installing grub.

Once again I boot the live CD, this time I go to a command prompt as root.

First, mount the drive

mkdir /root/tmp
mount /dev/sda1 /root/tmp

Then install grub

grub-install /dev/sda --root-directory=/root/tmp

Reboot and finally see the blessed desktop in all its Cinnamon glory.

To recap:

To fix the udev error, remove your nvidia graphics card

To fix "localizing packages" use a CD rather than a USB key

To fix grub error, re-install grub

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