Ubuntu 6.06 doesn’t work for me

Shits out on “mounting root filesystem” (spitting out hdd I/O errors, while the CD-RW device is just fine and the burned CD also). Apparently it’s a known bug, nevertheless, a showstopper and without a workaround. I am dissapointed ‘cause I heard good things about this version and wanted to try its ACPI support.

Update: What a f*cking piece of shit this is? So, the installer went through only after removing the “quiet splash –” from the default kernel line. After installing and rebooting, it would force on me 1600×1200 at 60 Hz (which is not the recommended resolution for this LG 19″ CRT). So, I use Gnome’s screen res utility to tell it to go to 1280×1024 (and that utility would insist that my monitor can do that resolution only at 86 Hz, while it can do it at 85 Hz in reality — I thought, nothing to worry about, as this might just be a rounding error in their calculation). Instead of going at that requested resolution though, it just reused the same resolution under VESA. Reloading the Gnome screen res utility to go back to either 75Hz or SXGA won’t do anything, Ubuntu now seems to be stuck in VESA and in that 1600×1200 resolution at 60Hz in particular. So, I have no other option but to manually edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file to simply change the driver from “vesa” to “savage”. This is the right driver for my graphics card and it’s being working fine with it since forever and ever. Hah, good luck with Ubuntu 6.06! When using the “savage” driver it says that “no screens found” and X11 doesn’t load (yes, the module exists in /usr/lib/xorg/drivers/). It only works with Vesa now and it won’t accept anything else anymore! I see no other option but to re-install, or get the f*cking CD and slam it out of the window towards Australia.

And don’t let me start that their new installer didn’t even ask me WHERE I want Grub to get installed (on MBR or on the / partition). It overwrote my MBR without asking me, and not only that, but it doesn’t recognize my BeOS and FreeBSD partitions as bootable and so these OSes are not included anymore in the booting menu. Anaconda does this elegantly without confusing the newbies and without removing this important feature from the power users.

Indeed, I got what I paid for. The reason why I get so worked up is because of all the Linux weenies who won’t stop saying how great the Desktop Linux is. It isn’t. It SUCKS, no matter what distro you use. With Windows or OSX you have to wait a week to find 1-2 small bugs with intense usage, but with Linux you are eating them on your face right out from the installer already. Poorly tested, poorly documented, and even poorly written in some places. Obviously, Linux is not what I am looking for in my desktop. I have higher standards that what it can offer me today.

Update 2: My sound card doesn’t work (and it’s one of the most supported sound cards out there). lspci does nothing. The ubuntu “application add/remove” utility spits errors. And I also showcase how Ubuntu thinks that it runs on 86Hz while it runs on 60Hz VESA. All that in 30 minutes of usage. This thing doesn’t pass smoke testing.

Update 3: The X and sound problems went away after adding to the GRUB the following kernel parameters: noacpi acpi=off. The rest of the issues remain. It is funny that I decided to try out Ubuntu because of its supposedly good ACPI support, and at the end I had to completely disable ACPI just to make the basic functions work. I guess, Ubuntu is good when it actually works.

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Tom Dison wrote on June 1st, 2006 at 10:29 AM PST:

I’ve switched from Mandriva 2006 to Ubuntu 6.06. ACPI works very well on my laptop (Emachines Athlon 2800+), but suspend and hibernate are still out of the question due to a problem unloading the USB drivers for my external drives. Frequency scaling has worked under a recent kernel for a long time. Most of the time my laptop runs at 500 mhz. It only spikes up to 2.1 ghz when it is under a eavy load. I use the ACPI applet for Gnome to monitor it. I really like the Add/Remove Software application and the Update application. Very professional looking.


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Eugenia wrote on June 1st, 2006 at 10:34 AM PST:

>but suspend and hibernate are still out of the question

What I am interested in is “suspend to RAM”, aka “sleep”. I don’t care about the rest of the ACPI functions… No Linux distro is able to put to sleep and wake up correctly any of my laptops or any of my desktops. Only once I got my Sony Vaio to sleep and wake up correctly, and after a kernel upgrade a week later (using the official upgrade package of my distribution), the goodness dissappeared. ACPI is a very hairy situation with Linux. What really surprised me though is that Zeta supports sleep way better than Linux does! I really didn’t expect that.


Tom Dison wrote on June 1st, 2006 at 11:02 AM PST:

ACPI is just a bummer in the linux world. My old laptops work just fine with Linux and APM. I just type apm -s and they happily go to sleep.


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Eugenia wrote on June 1st, 2006 at 11:07 AM PST:

New laptops don’t use APM though, so that’s not an option for my laptops. :(


Ludovic Hirlimann wrote on June 2nd, 2006 at 6:16 AM PST:

Eugenia would you give us your machine’s config so readres will have a clue on what hardware Ubuntu sucks.

And I agree with you linux is *not* ready for the desktop, mainly because most of the coders are geeks, so they are not bothered by the issues like the ones you describe. They even like those kinds of annoyance because it makes them feel stronger ….


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Eugenia wrote on June 2nd, 2006 at 6:29 AM PST:

The machine is this one: http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=1145 (although since then I have upgraded to 512 MB RAM, a second hard drive (hdb), replaced the CD-ROM with a DVD-ROM (hdc) and a CD-RW (hdd), added a firewire PCI card and a USB PCI card).
The machine used to work flawlessly with Linux 2.4. The problems started with 2.6, however some distros managed to work fine (e.g. Arch, which doesn’t patch stuff), a bit more difficult with SuSE (requires “nolapic” in order to see the optical drives but other than that it works) and Ubuntu, which is a total disaster on it. Fedora used to work fine too, but I haven’t tried the latest version on it.

BTW, the problems I am having are hardware-related kernel bugs. The bugs don’t exist because the Linux devs are geeks, but because of lack of intense kernel testing on as many machines as possible and for every kernel release. When MS is preparing for a release, they have over 1000 PCs and they are testing them. Heck, at the days of BeOS, Be had a lab with 50 *different* PCs in there. Every possible configuration was tested before release (changing pci cards from one to another, re-install OS, test, repeat — yes, it’s time consuming, but it’s necessary).

This doesn’t happen with the Linux kernel (or the FreeBSD for that matter). If a feature works on a given machine or a given series of machines, they commit it without intense testing. THIS is the part that I hate about open source OSes. There is no centralized authority to do intense testing on them. I know that Red Hat DOES have a lab and they DO testing. But many of the things they fix don’t get accepted to the main kernel and they end up just as patches on top of the Red Hat kernel. And when that happens, the rest of the distros don’t get these patches, and they make their own set of patches. Just like Ubuntu has lots of their very own patches that doesn’t go back to the main kernel for one reason or another. Problem is, by “fixing” some of the stuff of the default kernel, they broke other stuff.


Piotr Gawrysiak wrote on June 2nd, 2006 at 10:37 AM PST:

How true… For me Ubuntu almost works, it seems that ACPI support for my current laptop (which, btw, is an incredibly crappy machine – Dell Latitude D600) is good. Ubuntu 6.06 was the first distro able to suspend it (and wake up again :-) , hibernate. Bluetooth works. Volume controls work. Sound works. WiFi works. However there are many other issues – machine locks up randomly (apparently a known ATI related bug), Gnome buttons get messed up, mouse does not work (ok, had to edit xorg.conf by hand) etc. Sigh…

Dapper Drake was supposed to be a “polished” release, one to get long term support etc. But when I started investigating above issues I noticed, that several bugs – marked “critical” and “confirmed” in their Bugzilla, were submitted before release. This means that – gasp – they released a final (and major) version of an OS, knowing that it has serious bugs, some of them leading to potential data loss. Grrrrr… Some time ago I could say that stability constitutes one of the properties of Linux. Now, heck, Windows 95 seems to me a more stable system sometimes…

Linux is – after all – just a collection of software pieces, of varying quality. Ubuntu idea (to get all packages and *stabilize* them) seems sound in this context, but it seems to me they are much tooo small and underpowered…


AdamW wrote on June 2nd, 2006 at 11:09 AM PST:

noacpi acpi=off doesn’t make a lot of sense: acpi=off is the parameter for turning off ACPI, noacpi does nothing. Possibly whoever recommended it meant to say noapic , which is the correct parameter for disabling APIC (the Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller, a different thing entirely from ACPI). But if just disabling ACPI solves the problem for you, there’s no need to turn off APIC too. The world would’ve been saved a lot of conclusion if those two things hadn’t been given almost identical acronyms.

I don’t know where Ubuntu would be getting this supposed great ACPI support. To my knowledge all distros use the same ACPI code, from the acpi4linux project – http://acpi.sourceforge.net/ . The best you can do is just to include the latest code they have.

Which is my pet peeve with Ubuntu, really – it’s always being given credit for things it doesn’t do. All the positive reviews of Ubuntu I read are full of glowing paragraphs about things which are just bits of software Ubuntu happens to include, and which are also in every other major distribution.

My copy in VMware upgraded from 5.10 to 6.06 quite nicely, but for some inexplicable reason didn’t upgrade GCC or the kernel headers, which led to some fun getting VMware-specific stuff working again.


AdamW wrote on June 2nd, 2006 at 11:10 AM PST:

er, I mean “confusion”, not “conclusion” :)


Tom Dison wrote on June 3rd, 2006 at 5:30 AM PST:

Just for fun (hah!) I tried suspend on my Ubuntu 6.06 laptop. It went to sleep fine. Then I woke it up with a key press. What a mess! Wierd messages everywhere, X finally died and wouldn’t restart. Finally I tried to shut it down, but it wouldn’t go down, the hard-drive just kept spinning and wierd messages flying by. Finally I hard-powered it off (which I hate to do with hard-drive activity). That’s why I stay away from sleep, suspend, hibernate. It just doesn’t happen well on most laptops on Linux (I know some do) with ACPI. Dangerous!


Thom Holwerda wrote on June 3rd, 2006 at 8:19 AM PST:

Ubuntu’s ACPI works mighty fine on my Dell Inspirion 6000.


Andres wrote on June 3rd, 2006 at 10:43 AM PST:

Hibernate and suspend work fine for me :) I don’t think it did with Hoary or Breezy.

IMHO Most of the ACPI trouble comes from the faulty implementation of it by the OEMs. In fact, I used to get lots of ACPI parsing errors booting Linux, but a newer BIOS for my Acer Ferrari 4005 improved things a bit. I have no idea why Windows seems not to suffer from this situation.


Phantasmak wrote on June 4th, 2006 at 3:39 AM PST:

I’ve been stuck with Ubuntu since March. Yesterday, I upgraded to Dapper Drake, my X server got messed up, I reconfigured it and now, at the risk of jinxing it, I have to say that it works like a charm. I’m kinda suspicious of the suspend and sleep features and therefore I’ve never used them in Linux; other than that, it autodetected my graphics card and picked the right resolution and frequency. I’ve played with many distros and I always returned to Windows after a short while but this one I seem to enjoy.

I can’t bring myself to switching to Linux completely yet though; I use it predominantly for all my non-.NET coding needs but when it comes to movies, games and office applications I still trust good old Windows. I still haven’t managed to burn a single CD under Linux and I’m rather bothered since an activity like this should be trivial in this time and age. And I don’t think it will ever become a desktop OS because, as somebody commented above, most of the coders involved in it are geeks who don’t care whether it will ever come to desktop as long as they have an OS good enough for them. Let’s face it: Linux is not produced or maintained by an entity that wants to attract more people to using its own OS and the end user is not a customer who has paid for the software they use and therefore have demands from the manufacturer. Linux coders write software from the goodness of their hearts and they don’t care bulding a good interface so long as the desired (and most of the time buggy) functionality is there.


Zenja wrote on June 4th, 2006 at 8:39 AM PST:

I had the exact same experience as you, Eugenia. 60Hz vesa, but showing 1280×1024@86Hx (not 85). Also, GRUB wont see BeOS anymore :) ) I was even more adventurous and decided to not install a swap partition (hey, I want a swap file), and it is just a pain in the butt to get working. With Haiku/BeOS/Zeta, all you have to do is drag a slider. Same with screen resolution.

Linux will get some serious competition really soon now.


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