Ubuntu 10.04 post-installation fun

Obviously – this is the continuation of my previous post. I mentioned how I upgraded my computer, but I published the post before I rebooted it again. First thing I encountered was GRUB menu over-populated by various kernels. There reportedly is some way how to limit this – still it’s stupid if you ask me. For some reason you specify that “4th item in the menu is default” in GRUB configuration (menu.lst). When the list was changed, Windows suddenly wasn’t my default (maybe it was some diabolic plan of Ubuntu developers ;-)). Maybe I don’t remember it right but I’m convinced that LILO configuration had some statement in the particular section saying “this is the default, this I want”.

“Ok, I’ll fix it when I boot Linux the next time,” I said to myself. Next time was a bit more complicated though. First I learned that “Grub error 22: Partition not found”. Luckily I had Ubuntu installation CD I used for my wife’s computer. I booted, went to shell, mounted my root partition, chrooted… WTF? Why is bash not recognized? There I realized that this time I booted 32bit kernel and my OS on disk is 64bit. What a shame. 🙂

Ok, let’s do it without chroot – which I really like the most, because you feel like at home in your chrooted root partition, right? I removed all those older kernels from my (/mnt)/boot/grub/menu.lst and entered grub command. “Hey, stupid, you have to install grub first!” said Ubuntu. “Eh?” well you always learn something new, right? Obviously not the best emergency CD around, but suggested “apt-get install grub” made the trick. Of course you have to do it every time when you don’t succeed on your first try (guess if I did :-)).

First I found out that root(hd0,x) from my menu.lst is not recognized. I checked the disk… to my surprise system disk was on /dev/sdb – whatever. And Linux partition was 4. So root(hd1,3) was OK, setup(hd1), quit. I had to fix partition designations in menu.lst as well. Funny – what was sdb4 now was sda3 before. Don’t know why. Reboot – I felt I’m closing in.

Kernel was loaded this time, but disk by UUID=xxx wasn’t found. What the heck? Live CD again. My /etc/mount was OK when I compared it with /dev/disk/by-uuid listing. But grub’s menu.lst wasn’t. I fixed root partition UUIDs – don’t ask me why they had to change it and why all my UUIDs must have been altered. No idea, honestly. Being there I realized, that I still have (hd0,3) in menu.lst, while the disk was (hd1) now. I fixed that as well. (Wrong!) Reboot.

Partition not found. Confusion. “Oh, I’m so stupid!” I realized I was tricked by Live Ubuntu again. “It read kernel the last time, I shouldn’t have changed this! It is hd1 in Live session, but hd0 otherwise obviously!” Don’t ask me why. I don’t know. But it really is. Live CD for the rescue again. I fixed menu.lst one more time. I wrote the grub configuration to hd1 just to have the same disk named hd0 during the boot. Whatever. I’m curious how would my mother solve this problem. 🙂

Finally I had menu as I wanted, default boot to Windows (stone me!) and Linux actually booting! What made me even more confused – I was convinced I changed Windows section root from (hd0,0) to (hd1,0) and back as well – and it booted every time. I’m not really sure anymore – and I don’t want to try it again. But I’m pretty much convinced.

Now I finally have Ubuntu 10.04 up and running after the “smooth upgrade”. Never praise your upgrade before reboot – obviously. And good luck to all your upgrades. Sometimes you don’t need it, but sometimes… 🙂


Ubuntu 10.04 installation fun

Although now I use Windows most of the time, here and there I feel the need to update Ubuntu on my computer. This time I’m curious mostly about OpenShot video editor. I had Ubuntu 9.10 installed in Virtual Box and there was obviously no problem with upgrade from inside the OS itself. I have 8.04 on my computer and I’m curious how long will that take. 🙂 Finally I have one more 8.04 on wife’s notebook and because that one refused to boot properly with GUI I decided to try different way – install the new Ubuntu from CD over the old one. I don’t need any data from there after those two years anyway. 😉

Download and burn was painless, I put the CD into that notebook and booted from it. There was some warning that the initialization didn’t went well, but after OK I went to GUI where I could investigate (so the previous dialog said), but I carelessly went on. Installation wizard took me to partition table and I could decide if I want to install Ubuntu side by side with my Windows (I had 1 EXT3 and 2 NTFS partitions) or to use the whole disk – or use advanced option. I decided for the first option thinking that it will not touch the partitions. Probably naive. Resizing process started on 0% and after ten minutes of fear it finished on 0% and aborted because it couldn’t resize the partitions (probably NTFS? I don’t know). I tried to open 40G and 100G NTFS partitions from Places menu – no response. “Whatever!” I said to myself and restarted the computer. Windows booted, 100G partition was fscked and everything was fine in the end – what a relief.

Encouraged by this success (=no data loss ;-)) I went for one more try – and of course again without backup. You know… my trust in Ubuntu was shaken a bit, but it did no harm after all. So far. So I wanted to explore, how to get over that partition problem and replace the old 8.04. So I booted from installation CD again – this time it went to the GUI without any warning dialog. Strange, but nothing I haven’t seen many times before with many different products, right? Things just change in time. 🙂 Install, partitions dialog. This time – out of options – I went for manual selection and specified the root partition and of course that I want to format. Everything seems to be going nicely from then on – at least so it seems when I blink at the notebook screen next to me.

When I rethought my initial try – as I always try to find the problem, and why not start with blaming myself – I realized the possibility, that the installer wanted to add 10.04 to 8.04 and Windows XP and leave them all side by side. Of course stupid from my point of view. The description maybe was clear enough – I don’t remember it now. Maybe I just read it wrong and it would be obvious when read properly that 10.04 will be added and 8.04 will be preserved as well (along with Windows XP of course). In any case I was still missing simple dialog: “This will be your new partition table… blabla… proceed?” I’d definitely go back from there and rethink my procedures.

Still I have to say that Ubuntu is as good as it always was and probably getting better all the time (it should, right?). I’m happy that no data was lost and my systems are nicely upgrading on the background while I’m writing this or it’s done already on my wife’s computer. Life is just beautiful. 🙂

Bottom line: There is missing a clear path how to replace older Linux, be it Ubuntu or whatever else. Something fast, clear, nice for lame user without selecting / partition in advanced mode (not that complicated, but still). One question: “Do you really want to replace this BlaBla Linux? All data on that partition will be lost. Your Windows XP will not be affected. Proceed?” That is the thing I’m missing as an upgrade option.

Firefox 3 – not better browser for me

Firefox 3 in its beta made it into the fresh Ubuntu 8.04. And I experienced the same situation like in December 2006 – see my post for details. Of course the problems were not the same. Sad hero in this release is “awesome bar“. While I understand why it’s so great for many, I also understand many others who hate it. The reasons are quite simple really and one of the most important is – we can’t choose older bar with older behavior. Especially behavior is important for me, I don’t mind that the bar shows more although there are people who do – and for valid reasons.

In Firefox 2 I could get to my favorite pages very quickly. I’m sort of keyboard user and as such I can press Ctrl+L and write two letters with Enter faster than I move my hand to mouse. As a result of that I don’t use bookmarks very much although I have some on Bookmark bar of course. With new Firefox 3 I often hit completely different page after writing my always-working two letters – and that drives me crazy to say the least.

There is no option how to turn it off – not even in about:config page (if there is it must be something new and thank God for enlightening Firefox developers in the meantime). I can’t understand what’s so great on changing many things to “better” with no option to leave original behavior!

There is an extension that imitates original address bar, but the behavior is still “awesome”. I hope that Firefox 3 in final version will have both address bars – because bringing in only the new one is clearly a stupid idea. Address bar is *address* bar. I want to write URL there and I want only URLs to be suggested to me.

Best URL bar ever was invented years ago – in Galeon (maybe it wasn’t first browser with it, but it was the first time I saw it). When you pressed TAB to complete the URL, only the common part for all URLs from history was completed and you had to give a clue how you want to continue. So it worked like auto-completion from bash. Of course you could always use arrows to choose URL from history. That was something. It was the answer to URL bars where you often had to choose very long URL while you were interested only in its start (name of the site, not the precise article – for instance). No need to delete a lot of characters from the end of URL. Galeon is more or less dead now – but not because of the address bar – of that I’m sure. 😉

Current Firefox 2 handles similar things well too. Although the completion isn’t “stop at the first ambiguous part and let me choose” at least it offers short site URLs first in the history. I don’t know if it’s based on URL length or it counts how often I wanted the main site… but it works nice. So please, please… don’t “fix” something that works. In Firefox 3 I have to watch carefully if the site I really want is selected and I need more to write letters to get to it. That’s not an enhancement – that’s a flaw. Howgh.