Ubuntu-devel-discuss Digest, Vol 36, Issue 10

Davyd McColl davydm at gmail.com
Wed Nov 4 08:38:35 UTC 2009

On Tue, 03 Nov 2009 20:07:58 +0100, Mario Vukelic wrote:

> I don't think that the OP provided enough information to understand
> what went wrong during his upgrade; it does seem that he may have tried
> update-manager first and resorted to the manual process only once it
> failed.

Apologies if I wasn't quite clear -- I have been known to ramble a little.
At the risk of once again flooding the mailing list with useless information
(sorry!), here is the sequence of events leading up to the issues at hand:

1) Notice update-manager icon in the tray; clicky!
2) Get update-manager screen telling me that I have about 4 packages that
may be updated.
3) Update-manager refreshes to show the "New release available frame". Like
an OCD spider-monkey on crack, I click on that thing!
4) Another dialog pops up, starting the upgrade process that I've been
accustomed to (downloading scripts, etc)
5) This dies ): No idea why, really. Just death, cold, alone, and without so
much as a crash report.
6) I re-launch update-manager from the tray icon, to find that I now have in
the order of 1000 packages that can be "upgraded". The "update to new
release" frame doesn't re-appear. For all intents and purposes, it appears
as if my machine has been morphed into a Koala with some negative karma
points and a lot of upgrading ahead. I'm not daunted -- this looks like what
I would expect if I were to manually edit my sources and do a dist-upgrade.
So I click on "update"
7) After some time, the libc6 issue appears, asking me, via standard
gtk-style deb messages, to restart, amongst other things, gdm. At this
point, I drop out to a VT, stop gdm myself, and progress with apt-get
dist-upgrade, thinking that the package manager for libc6 is probably a lot
smarter than me and has his/her reasons for requesting a restart of gdm, as
well as realising that if I don't do this in a VT, I have an endless loop
ahead of me.
8) rounds of apt-get dist-upgrade interspersed with apt-get install -f until
things seem calm. The occasional dpkg --purge of conflicting packages that I
don't essentially need (indi and d4x come to mind) and some manual fixing
for packages with bad post-install scripts (wicd comes to mind)
9) restart gdm. Desktop starts up. Update-manager claims I still have
upgrading to do -- I let it.
10) update-manager and apt both agree that my machine is up to date. The
"reboot" icon prevails in my tray, so, like a well-trained bdsm sub, I go
for the 'boot.
11) Death. No working grub, and I'm unable to resurrect grub from a live
boot of a Debian Lenny dvd (which I'm using because my ubuntu download
wasn't done yet and this is the most recent 64-bit live dvd that I have) --
grub-install complains about "read errors" for the installed stage1 file on
my ubuntu filesystem. Re-installing grub debs on that filesystem in a
chrooted shell don't cause the problem to go away. I cry, gently, to myself,
in the corner and shake my fist all cute, furry, bear-like creatures.
12) I boot into win7 and leave ubuntu 9.10 64bit iso downloading. I'm mildy
infuriated when the stupid win7 OS reboots in the middle of the night, and
restart the download in the morning. I do basically the same thing through
the Ubuntu 9.10 cd that I attempted with the Lenny cd:
 i) boot cd, mount my original root fs
 ii) grub-install <boot device> --root-directory=<where root was mounted>
--recheck --no-floppy
 iii) grub seems installed. Yay!
13) Reboot. Grub is, indeed, installed -- but doesn't seem to have a clue
about my config -- I just have a grub shell. Lucky for me, I've spent time
in this mystical place before. Unluckily for me, this version of grub no
longer understands the "kernel" parameter. The "help" command, the pause key
and a certain amount of Clint-Eastwood-like lucky-punkness provide me with a
command "linux", which I try -- and it works just like the old "kernel" one
did. After a little messing about, I have my old install alive again, and I
re-run grub-installer there, with no arguments. A reboot shows a working
grub menu and some sense of order is restored to my little world.

On a positive note: the entire system seems a lot more responsive now. I'm
assuming that a lot of that has to do with the kernel upgrade. Still, it's
nice to see my ath64 6400x2 behaving like the beasty it should be (or was,
when I bought it... )

There is no shame in not knowing; the shame is in not finding out.
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