I am experiencing a very similar problem:
I have a "server" running Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop that I use as my main file store - running four 1T drives as a RAID-10 array with Samba, Apache, SWAT, etc. running to help administer and use it.
It was running Fedora 10. (Because - at the time - Ubuntu would not even *install* with my 4-port eSATA card in place.) I went to update to Fedora 12 - and it was a mess...
I discovered that Ubuntu 9.10 would support my RAID setup natively - so I wiped the system clean and installed Ubuntu. (I generally prefer Ubuntu anyway.)
The way my system was originally set up was that it would give me a GRUB menu list for 5 seconds - and the menu list had two options: Fedora X.x.x.x (graphical), and Fedora X.x.x.x (console).
Most of the time, I would run my server in console mode so that there wasn't the memory and processor overhead caused by the GUI.
Why? I'm running this beast on an ancient Dell Optiplex GX-110 desktop with a 700Mhz P3 and a max of 512 megs of RAM that I scavanged out of a dumpster somewhere - along with just about everything else I use.
Unfortunately I cannot yet afford the luxury of the fancy bleeding-edge AMD 256 bit processors with 18 cores running at XXXThz. I gotta make do with what I can get, and that's why I like Linux. You don't have to be running bleeding-edge hardware to get the sluggish performance of an IBM XT. However, since I *am* running on cruft - I like to be nice to it and only run the heavyweight stuff when I absolutely need it.
This way, I could default into console mode 99% of the time, saving the overhead of the GUI for those times when I REALLY needed it.
However. . . . . . .
With 9.10 I have noticed some really annoying new "features"
1. It appears that there is no way to get a GRUB startup menu. Even if I **WANT** it.
2. Passing a kernel parameter (I was using " --3") absolutely does not work. I did not know about "text", and I have not yet tried it.
There seems to be some confusion here as to what works and does not work.
At the risk of sounding annoyed, Ubuntu spends a lot of time championing that they are "all about giving the user choices" OK, I wanna make a choice - start up with a GRUB boot menu or not. I wanna make another choice - Graphical startup or console startup. At this point it appears that I have about as much choice as a MAC user! Maybe even less. . . .
The reason I raise this is that the original reason I was attracted to Ubuntu was both it's ease of use, AND it's flexibility, without ramming some particular style or philosophy down my throat the way Fedora loves too.
Is there a way I can release these extremely restrictive defaults so that I can make my system behave the way *I* want it to, and not the way *SOMEONE ELSE* wants it to?
Thanks in advance for any help you folks can provide.
p.s. **PLEASE** suggest to whoever spins these distro's that locking down the startup process like this is the fast boat to Linux Obscurity.
What say ye?