Nicolas314

All my geeky stuff ends up here. Mostly Unix-related

Upgrade disease strikes again

with one comment

Booted my laptop this morning to be greeted by a silent upgrade of Firefox and Thunderbird simultaneously on Windows — silent in that case meaning less modal windows and many popups all over. Whatever. The only improvement I could see was that clicking on links in Thunderbird failed to open a page in Firefox. Spending time in Thunderbird options, I found how to open links in Chrome but Firefox never responded.

Took me a while to figure it out so just in case: you can bring it back to normal by setting IE as your default browser and setting it back to Firefox. “Open link in browser” should now work again on Thunderbird. This almost got me to tip over to Chrome. Probably for the next FF/TB update.

Next: I wanted to change my BlackBerry ID. Simple enough: you log onto your BlackBerry account on the RIM web site, declare a new email address, click on the links you receive by email, done. But not so much on your BlackBerry device: no matter what you type in the login window it is modified back to your previous ID and login fails with a weird 5-digit error. A bit of search on the BlackBerry forums brought no better than wiping the device and re-installing from scratch. Sure, why not? Prepare the yaks!

Procedure goes like this:

  • Download 117 megs of BlackBerry desktop software, install, reboot
  • Download newer device firmware (cool, an upgrade!): 100 more megs, install,
    reboot
  • Plug in BlackBerry device, type password twice (on device and on
    screen), wait.
  • Desktop software tells you “Backing up device”
  • Desktop software tells you “Upgrading OS” and “Wiping device”
  • Desktop software tells you “Oops, I lost your backup. Good luck, sucker!”

Re-installing everything from scratch including enterprise activation took a while and eroded my nerves a bit, but my BlackBerry is almost functional now. Note to self: never change email ever again.

Back home: my son boots up his Ubuntu desktop, gets a full-screen window advertizing the latest and greatest Ubuntu 12.04 Persuasive Pedobear, clicks “Upgrade”, and watches as his desktops slowly dives into hell. After a couple of hours of intensive disk thrashing, the poor desktop fails to shutdown, forcing a manual reboot. The bootsplash consists of a large smear of dirty purple and ends up in a wrong resolution. On a 22″ screen I can only see the rightmost part so no menus, no dock, no joy. Switch to manual install:

  • Time to backup his home directory: 2 hours
  • Time to download/prepare a USB install: 15 minutes
  • Time to boot and install Ubuntu from USB: 2 hours
  • Time to restore his home directory: 2 hours

I could have avoided the backup/restore phase. I only have myself to blame for not partitioning his disk with separate root and home during the last install. Almost forgot to mention: the screen is still garbled after a clean manual install. Apparently a bug with NVidia cards attached to 16/9 screens, a configuration I believe quite common nowadays among Ubuntu users. How could they miss this in QA is beyond me. I ended up generating a new xorg.conf with the nvidia-settings tool, which is bugged beyond hope but at least will create a working config. The login screen is still messed up but activate auto-login and it quickly switches to a decent resolution on its own.

To be honest: I tried dist-upgrade for every single Ubuntu release since Ubuntu exists and never succeeded so far, either through GUI or command-line. Never worked on desktops, laptops, virtual machines, you name it. But maybe I was just unlucky. And every time I wonder: why TF do I keep trying?

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Written by nicolas314

Thursday 10 May 2012 at 7:35 pm

One Response

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  1. Persuasive Pedobear. Ruined my laptop screen with coffee on this one.

    Ben

    Friday 11 May 2012 at 5:13 pm


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