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Thefarie_496
May 25th, 2010, 12:45 PM
Hello folks,

I opened a new thread because I couldn't find much about problems I have with Ubuntu installation (in reasonable time). I understand that if this is wrong, the administrators will move or remove this post to another place. Just do it if necessary.

From us common people who don't know much about computer system internals and who just wish to have the computer working and use it, here are now some complaints about the new version of Ubuntu Linux. I'm yet another guy trying to enter the world of Linux, and I wouldn't write here if it weren't due to troubles :( (I'm a mathematician and I need a computer to write math articles with lots of math formulae, and occasionally with a picture or two inside the text.)

So, the story is as follows. At home I have a PC with only one fixed disk which hosts MS Windows XP SP3 in one partition. Few years ago I tried to install Ubuntu Linux 7.10 in another partition and after formidable obstacles that you wouldn't believe could happen, I even succeeded somehow to make it function properly. I think there were boot problems that I solved by replacing the GRUB boot loader by LILO but I no longer remember how I did it. Took me awfully lot of time. Later, I rarely logged in to Ubuntu, just to see if it's still there and working. So I'm almost sure that the problems described below aren't due to hardware as both Windows and Ubuntu functioned normally so far.

Well, I decided to upgrade to 10.04 but I read somewhere that a smooth upgrade from 7.10 to 10.04 is not possible. So, after downloading the ISO file and making the Live CD I installed the new distribution in the same partition, thus superseding the old 7.10 (I chose to format that ext3 partition during the installation). The process didn't report that there was anything wrong. Apparently, it wanted to connect to Internet to synchronise the computer's clock which I skipped, as well as downloading some files which I skipped, too. (I mean, how come the procedure needs network access at a stage in the middle?) But then, Linux won't boot! I learned that there's a new GRUB loader (GRUB2 or something) installed that should get the job of loading OS done but it didn't. It just said:

error: unknown filesystem
grub rescue >

Hey, what filesystem? And then at this prompt, no sensible command is accepted.

I tried to repeat the installation a couple of times, but always with the same outcome. Then I found at the end of the procedure that there is a limited control over where to put GRUB; my disk is seen as /dev/sda, the first partition is /dev/sda1 (of type ntfs) with Windows, and the second one is /dev/sda2 (of type ext3) where I installed 10.04. I played a little bit with choosing every reasonable option for placing GRUB but the result was always the same: "unknown filesystem" ?! There's a third partition called "swap" for which I don't know what it is for; it was presumably created by the installation itself. It's identified as /dev/sda5, and there's also a fourth one of type FAT32, as /dev/sda6, which I use for innumerable data files in Windows. Now where are /dev/sda3 and /dev/sda4 ? Could this present a problem? I'd very much appreciate if anyone had an idea what this is all about.

Then I tried to resort to LILO as I did it before with 7.10 but it looks like LILO is not part of the installation software. I learned that I had to install it separately. Now, how do you do that if you don't have the system up and running because it doesn't boot? Hmm ...

I booted Linux from the installation CD and then again, it took me quite some time to figure out how to connect to Internet---I have a DSL at home---by using something called "pppoeconf". Okay, this worked, I was online and then I found somewhere that I need to do "sudo apt-get install lilo". I issued this command but this time the result was a number of lines telling me that LILO can't be installed because "package lilo is not available" or something like that. Now what? I'm in circulus vitiosus as I don't have any possibility to wake up this new installation :(

So, anybody knows what could be done here? Or experienced something similar? Looks pretty much hopeless to me---note that I'm not a computer techie.

Well, at least I found out that I have to use Windows XP Installation CD with the "repair" option in order to restore the situation. Which I did, so that at least the XP now works as before.

I don't know, maybe this is something very stupid but I think there are some strange things about Ubuntu installation.


As far as I understand, an installation of a new (version of) OS is supposed to be self-contained, with no need for extra stuff from Internet during the process. I don't think it's a good idea to try to synchronise the computer's clock to a network time server even before anything else is installed; it could better be done AFTER the installation and the OS already running. Same with some files that need to be downloaded before the installation procedure finishes (?). Well, if network connection is indeed indispensable, the procedure should at least say something about, or inform the user about configuring the connection and then do it. And if this is reasonable, it could also configure the (default) network connection for the newly installed OS, so that when Ubuntu boots, the connection is already set up and ready to use.
When choosing a TZ (time zone), few hours are automatically added to the current system time (??). In my case (Slovenia) 2 hours, as if it is assumed that the current system time is GMT. This is certainly wrong because at my machine, the current time is already set correctly at GMT+1 (and with daylight saving option). It's okay that the user is able to choose his/her TZ but instead of automatic adjustment of the clock, this should be optional.
I saw in various threads in a few forums (including this one) that GRUB causes lots of problems. If I understand correctly, the booting subsystem is not part of the Linux itself which can rely either on GRUB or on LILO or many other utilities. Well, for a normal non-techie user like me, this presents quite an obstacle when anything goes wrong and the OS doesn't boot. Instead of complicating things with GRUB (or LILO or whatever), why don't the developers include a simple integrated (and working) boot module in Ubuntu? Or at least, they could include optionally more than just one boot loader, say, GRUB and LILO together, just in case. If one fails then there's another which can do the job.

Well I apologise, I know that Ubuntu is for free, I didn't spend any money, so nobody is obligated to solve my problems. If a member of the group of Ubuntu developers is reading this, I appreciate what you're doing. I have a little experience with HP-UX which, I recall, was completely reliable. It didn't cause me any problems, not once. But that was about 13 years ago (I'm an old man already ;)) Anyway, I thought I might finally replace MS Windows with Linux which I consider lightyears better, but now I'm bitterly disappointed, to the extent that I'm thinking about giving up :( Hope not.

Regards,

M. L. S.
(somewhere near) Ljubljana
Slovenia



Sorry for such a lengthy essay. I'm not familiar with the jargon in Linux community.

mikewhatever
May 25th, 2010, 01:31 PM
Hi, and welcome to the forums. I am undecided if your post is an attempt to vent frustration, a user experience account, or a help request. If it is the latter, will you be willing to cooperate and provide requested information? If so, let's start with the following - boot from the live cd and post the output of sudo fdisk -l from Applications->Accessories->Terminal.

eriktheblu
May 25th, 2010, 03:15 PM
I can't address all those issues, but here's what I do know:

Since this is a fresh install and a format, I would recommend using the ext4 file system instead of ext3.


at the end of the procedure that there is a limited control over where to put GRUB; my disk is seen as /dev/sda, the first partition is /dev/sda1 (of type ntfs) with Windows, and the second one is /dev/sda2 (of type ext3) where I installed 10.04. I played a little bit with choosing every reasonable option for placing GRUB but the result was always the same: "unknown filesystem" ?!
This messed me up too, and I'm not exactly sure how to use it. The graphical grub installer seems to be a new feature in 10.04; I suspect that's why there is confusion about it. I ended up after the install going back to a live CD session and manually installing Grub2 with
sudo grub-install sda
I'm going to bet that will fix your problems.


There's a third partition called "swap" for which I don't know what it is for It's the equivalent of "Virtual Memory" in MS Windows. It behaves as system memory in order to free up resources (or for hibernation modes).


Now where are /dev/sda3 and /dev/sda4 ? Could this present a problem? I'd very much appreciate if anyone had an idea what this is all about.
We should be able to see all your partitions with

sudo fdisk -lfrom a terminal in a live CD session.


As far as I understand, an installation of a new (version of) OS is supposed to be self-contained, with no need for extra stuff from Internet during the process.For the most part it is. However, no CD can possibly contain support for all the possible hardware configurations and still result functional modern OS. Some software cannot be distributed by Ubuntu due to licensing restrictions.

I think the developers want Ubuntu, once installed, to be ready to use without having to do additional configuration. Most of the time, it works.


When choosing a TZ (time zone), few hours are automatically added to the current system time (??). In my case (Slovenia) 2 hours, as if it is assumed that the current system time is GMT.
Windows sets the system time to local time. Ubuntu assumes system time is GMT. You can Set Ubuntu to use local time, or you can select GMT on install.

This is certainly wrong...
I'm certain the detractors and merits of both methods have been thoroughly debated, but it's only annoying to those who use both.

It's okay that the user is able to choose his/her TZ but instead of automatic adjustment of the clock, this should be optional.It should be simple to configure after installation.


Instead of complicating things with GRUB (or LILO or whatever), why don't the developers include a simple integrated (and working) boot module in Ubuntu?They did; it's called Grub. Ubuntu, and really any Linux distro is just a mass of small pieced together programs, each with their own name, tricked into working together. Every OS has a boot loader, for Ubuntu, the default is Grub.


Or at least, they could include optionally more than just one boot loader, say, GRUB and LILO together, just in case. If one fails then there's another which can do the job.
I can't say it's completely impossible, but I don't think it can be done with currently available software. Your BIOS runs the show until it finds a bootable disk (IAW your boot priority). Once it does, it looks to the MBR, and hands the reins to the boot loader. The boot loader is done once it selects an OS to boot. It can't determine if the OS boot was successful, because it is no longer running. Likewise, your BIOS has no idea if it the boot loader failed.

I guess you could set Lilo as a chain load option in Grub, but if Grub fails to load it will do you no good.

Thefarie_496
May 25th, 2010, 09:31 PM
Hi, and welcome to the forums. I am undecided if your post is an attempt to vent frustration, a user experience account, or a help request. If it is the latter, will you be willing to cooperate and provide requested information? If so, let's start with the following - boot from the live cd and post the output of sudo fdisk -l from Applications->Accessories->Terminal.
Hi,

in fact all three, but this is not important. I'd only like to solve a problem for which I don't have enough of expertise.

sudo fdisk -l outputs the following:

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 164.7 GB, 164696555520 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 20023 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xcf80cf80

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 6264 50315548+ 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda2 6265 7830 12578895 83 Linux
/dev/sda3 7831 20023 97940242 5 Extended
/dev/sda5 7831 8091 2096451 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda6 8092 20023 95843758+ b W95 FAT32
ubuntu@ubuntu:~$

Now I see that there's also /dev/sda3 containing the other two, 5 and 6 (?). Still no /dev/sda4. Should they be renumbered?

SRST Technologies
May 25th, 2010, 10:03 PM
You declare yourself a common person without Linux secret knowledge. Then you decide you need control over where the bootloader goes. Then you begin a dissertation on bootloaders and the differences therein.

Come on, you're just a guy who needs to write some math formulas. It doesn't matter to you why there's no /dev/sda4, does it? I am unaware of any mathematical program that requires /dev/sda4.

If you can justify why you need to have this type of control over your system to write math formulas, I'll put some thought into this.

Thefarie_496
May 25th, 2010, 10:03 PM
Since this is a fresh install and a format, I would recommend using the ext4 file system instead of ext3.
I did it but the behaviour was the same ("unknown filesystem").

The disk partitions are listed in previous post.



I can't say it's completely impossible, but I don't think it can be done with currently available software. Your BIOS runs the show until it finds a bootable disk (IAW your boot priority). Once it does, it looks to the MBR, and hands the reins to the boot loader. The boot loader is done once it selects an OS to boot. It can't determine if the OS boot was successful, because it is no longer running. Likewise, your BIOS has no idea if it the boot loader failed.

I guess you could set Lilo as a chain load option in Grub, but if Grub fails to load it will do you no good.
I didn't mean that. I was thinking about the possibility that the distribution could incorporate two boot loaders so that the user could select one during the installation, and only the selected would be installed. If it didn't work, one could reinstall everything and select the other boot loader in order to see if it solved the problem.

Well, on the other hand, it is not possible to put gigabytes on a single CD. The Live CD can't have everything I'd like to.

Anyway, thanks to both mikewhatever and erictheblu for considering this thread.

M. L. S.

eriktheblu
May 26th, 2010, 12:40 AM
I don't really understand how Linux assigns names to partitions, but it's not terribly important. Mount points are now set by UUID so the SD number (I'm getting the nomenclature completely wrong here) is irrelevant for most purposes.


I did it but the behaviour was the same ("unknown filesystem").

I don't think the problem is your file system, but your boot loader. Using ext3 over ext4 will not make Grub install any better.


I was thinking about the possibility that the distribution could incorporate two boot loaders so that the user could select one during the installation, and only the selected would be installed.While I certainly appreciate such redundancy, most accounts show Lilo to be an inferior boot loader.

I don't think the problem is actually with Grub, but with the Ubuntu 10.04 Grub installer. I truly believe
sudo grub-install sdafrom a live CD will fix your issue.

Lucid (10.04) is still fairly new; if your problems persist, try 9.10. It's only 6 months old, will have support for another year, and there aren't a lot of feature differences that I have noticed. 9.10 does not use the same Grub installer, so you probably will not have the problem.

mikewhatever
May 26th, 2010, 02:18 PM
Hi,

in fact all three, but this is not important. I'd only like to solve a problem for which I don't have enough of expertise.

sudo fdisk -l outputs the following:

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 164.7 GB, 164696555520 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 20023 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xcf80cf80

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 6264 50315548+ 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda2 6265 7830 12578895 83 Linux
/dev/sda3 7831 20023 97940242 5 Extended
/dev/sda5 7831 8091 2096451 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda6 8092 20023 95843758+ b W95 FAT32
ubuntu@ubuntu:~$

Now I see that there's also /dev/sda3 containing the other two, 5 and 6 (?). Still no /dev/sda4. Should they be renumbered?

Hey, thanks for the output, and for keeping it short. The partition numbering looks perfectly fine, you don't need to do anything on that account.
Let us proceed with the file system issue, and check if the UUID of sda2 matches that the config files. From the live cd, mount the linux partition as follows:


sudo mount /dev/sda2 /mnt

now, post the outputs of the following commands:


cat /mnt/boot/grub/grub.cfg
cat /mnt/etc/fstab
sudo blkid

Thefarie_496
May 27th, 2010, 10:25 PM
Hello again,

/boot/grub/grub.cfg is attached to this post as grub.txt.

The contents of /etc/fstab is as follows:



# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
#
# Use 'blkid -o value -s UUID' to print the universally unique identifier
# for a device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name
# devices that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
#
# <file system> <mount point> <type> <options> <dump> <pass>
proc /proc proc nodev,noexec,nosuid 0 0
/dev/sda2 / ext4 errors=remount-ro 0 1
# /mnt/c-winxp was on /dev/sda1 during installation
UUID=94643D85643D6ADE /mnt/c-winxp ntfs defaults,nls=utf8,umask=007,gid=46 0 0
# /mnt/common-d was on /dev/sda6 during installation
UUID=E358-A8BD /mnt/common-d vfat utf8,umask=007,gid=46 0 1
# swap was on /dev/sda5 during installation
UUID=bc208c13-e23a-49ea-b75b-0923c2a809bd none swap sw 0 0
/dev/fd0 /media/floppy0 auto rw,user,noauto,exec,utf8 0 0
and the output of blkid is



/dev/loop0: TYPE="squashfs"
/dev/sda1: UUID="94643D85643D6ADE" TYPE="ntfs"
/dev/sda2: UUID="64baef82-5674-48ca-a870-b8badc559b0f" TYPE="ext4"
/dev/sda5: UUID="bc208c13-e23a-49ea-b75b-0923c2a809bd" TYPE="swap"
/dev/sda6: LABEL="COMMON-D" UUID="E358-A8BD" TYPE="vfat"
I apologise, for the next few days I'll be somewhere in the countryside, far from any computer. Will log in to the forum again next week.

M. L. S.

mikewhatever
May 29th, 2010, 12:09 PM
Hm.., as far as I can see, everything is in order. When you get back from the country, post the device.map content as well:

sudo mount /dev/sda2 /mnt
cat /mnt/boot/grub/device.map

As the last resort, try reinstalling grub from the live cd:

sudo mount /dev/sda2 /mnt
sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt /dev/sda

kansasnoob
May 29th, 2010, 02:42 PM
If a member of the group of Ubuntu developers is reading this

The devs very seldom read the forums.


As far as I understand, an installation of a new (version of) OS is supposed to be self-contained, with no need for extra stuff from Internet during the process.

Wrong, an internet connection is necessary to complete the installation. If your network connection fails the installation process will fail.

If you'll post the full output of the Boot Info Script as described in the following link I'll see if I can help:

http://bootinfoscript.sourceforge.net/

I don't know much about network connections as I've always been lucky in that area :(

skymera
May 29th, 2010, 02:51 PM
Wrong, an internet connection is necessary to complete the installation. If your network connection fails the installation process will fail.


I've never once had an internet connection during installation.

Everything the install needs, is on the LiveCD.

Minimal install requires internet.

kansasnoob
May 29th, 2010, 04:16 PM
I've never once had an internet connection during installation.

Everything the install needs, is on the LiveCD.

Minimal install requires internet.

I wanted to see just out of curiosity as I've never actually tried it, but you appear to be mostly correct. However after installing I could not boot and running the boot info script shows I'm missing crucial boot files:


sdb1: __________________________________________________ _______________________

File system: ext4
Boot sector type: -
Boot sector info:
Operating System: Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
Boot files/dirs: /etc/fstab

What it should look like:


sda3: __________________________________________________ _______________________

File system: ext3
Boot sector type: -
Boot sector info:
Operating System: Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
Boot files/dirs: /boot/grub/grub.cfg /etc/fstab /boot/grub/core.img

You'll notice it's missing both its /boot/grub/grub.cfg and its /boot/grub/core.img :confused:

I did notice that the install completed much more quickly with the modem shut off and at about 15% it said "calculating files to skip copying".

Thefarie_496
June 2nd, 2010, 10:03 PM
Hello folks,

I'm back to my home computer.


Hm.., as far as I can see, everything is in order. When you get back from the country, post the device.map content as well:

sudo mount /dev/sda2 /mnt
cat /mnt/boot/grub/device.mapAs the last resort, try reinstalling grub from the live cd:

sudo mount /dev/sda2 /mnt
sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt /dev/sda
Hmm, device.map does not exist in the specified directory /boot/grub in the Linux installation ? Also, reinstallation with grub-install doesn't help, still no device.map, and booting is unsuccessful.

Thefarie_496
June 2nd, 2010, 10:17 PM
The devs very seldom read the forums.



Wrong, an internet connection is necessary to complete the installation. If your network connection fails the installation process will fail.

If you'll post the full output of the Boot Info Script as described in the following link I'll see if I can help:

http://bootinfoscript.sourceforge.net/

I don't know much about network connections as I've always been lucky in that area :(
The output of this script is attached here.

Thefarie_496
October 6th, 2011, 02:45 PM
Forget about this, guys. After having serious hardware (and also software) problems, replacing the machine with a new one, adding a new hard disk, and a considerable delay due to other reasons, now the two installed OSs (Linux and Windows) work fine, each one on its own disk.

Thanks everybody and ciao :)

P05TMAN
October 6th, 2011, 03:22 PM
I wonder if boot repair could've resolved the issue altogether. Glad to know you got it to work

Thefarie_496
October 7th, 2011, 07:50 AM
Perhaps, if I put in more effort; but I had to solve more serious issues first ...