Tag Archives: 1st world problems

Linux can be frustrating v1

In part 1 of an almost certainly recurring series of posts on the subject, I learned about the frustrations that can come from naive Linux operation.

For some background on the subject, I own, operate and cherish a laptop that is almost one-third my age. Most of it is still going strong, and with Linux 10.04, runs almost as fast as the better half’s Windows 7 laptop that’s a couple of years old – at-least on common tasks as web-browsing, cat videos etc.

Currently, the only iffy part of the machine is its battery and charging situation. The original battery is intact and gives me a strong 15 minutes on a full charge. The charging point is temperamental so the cable needs to be held in just the right way for the thing to charge. It’s basically at a point where any expense to improve its lot might as well be used to fund a new machine.

I’d loathe to part with it because of sentimental attachment as well as sheer bloody-mindedness. Each year it accumulates as a functioning machine, in some strange way, makes me proud of myself for perseverance, tolerance and the development of my hardware maintenance skills.

Having said that, my resolution to persevere was greatly tested this past weekend. During some web-browsing the OS froze so I did a hard restart. Although it must be admitted that I was remiss in doing so without trying something else first – at the least a soft restart or kill -9 or something.

On next boot-up I was presented with the error as discussed here: http://askubuntu.com/questions/25695/initramfs-error-during-boot

After the first few panicked gulps, a Google search revealed the above solution. However, my Linux-live startup USB gives me this error: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/usb-creator/+bug/645818

Solving that with a simple <TAB> input, which brings up the list of available commands and then keying in ‘live’ brought me to the next problem. Ubuntu would not boot beyond showing me its logo with a looping line of filled dots. After more soul-searching I reached a point of browsing around for new laptops on Amazon.

Then, the significant other was kind enough to hold my hand and ask me to persevere. Some banging-on-the-keyboard-ing later, a new error message showed up: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1345125

After creating a new startup usb with a different Ubuntu Distribution (12.04 LTS) with unetbootin from Windows. Things got back to normal and now my beloved is alive again.

It helped me learn several things: The nature of Ubuntu ensures that such problems don’t go away easily – indeed are par for the course for one who decides to throw in his lot with it, instead of Windows or Mac. But there are tons of other people with the same problems and a virtual army of faceless and apparently tireless people have helped solve most, if not all, of them, for no pay and scant praise. There is hope for humanity yet.

I think I’m a better person after this ordeal