[ubuntu-uk] Server won't start without screen

Glen Mehn glen.mehn at oba.co.uk
Tue Oct 26 22:41:13 BST 2010

Do you get to see what happens when the screen is plugged in? i.e,. is 
it stuck before grub or after? I kind of assume you aren't running X on 
the server (stock ubuntu server, right?)

I know of a hosting company who uses mac minis (though I can't think of 
who they are at the moment... grumble...) as a server that sits between 
dedicated machines and virtual servers. Obviously only good for 
low-intensity i/o tasks. You might try to find them to see if there's 
something mac-specific that's going on.

I would easily put £20 on it being a mac thing that has to be disabled 
in the mac prom, but I've no idea how to do that (I don't think that 
apple opens up their firmwares to outside people)

Aha! Here's the company. The short version suggests not using boot camp 
(I'm not sure what else you might use)


On 26/10/10 21:57, Simon Greenwood wrote:
> On 26 October 2010 21:09, Rob Beard <rob at esdelle.co.uk 
> <mailto:rob at esdelle.co.uk>> wrote:
>     On 26/10/10 20:50, Paul Willis wrote:
>     > Hi
>     >
>     > I set up Ubuntu 10.04 LTS server on a Mac Mini and shipped it
>     off to our other office (too far for me to go and troubleshoot)
>     where they plugged in a screen configured the network settings in
>     the cli and then unplugged the screen.
>     >
>     > Everything worked fine until at some point a few weeks later the
>     machine was switched off and when turned on again it wouldn't boot
>     up properly (well it wouldn't appear on the network) until a
>     screen was plugged in at which point it booted fine and appeared
>     on the network without any problem.
>     >
>     > Unfortunately I'm not sure how the unit came to have the power
>     disconnected it is plugged into a UPS all I know is that it was
>     turned off when staff came in in the morning.
>     >
>     > This same scenario occurred a second time a week or so later and
>     once again a screen was required for the server to be fully
>     operational.
>     >
>     > When it starts up with a screen I'm told there i
>     I've run a couple of headless servers and never had this issue, it
>     just
>     carries on.  That's not to say there maybe a setting where the Mac
>     expects a monitor to be connected.  I've seen something along these
>     lines on some PCs although it tends to be more a keyboard or mouse not
>     plugged in rather than a screen not plugged in.
>     Does it boot when the screen is plugged in but turned off?
>     Also, could it be that some cleaner is unplugging the UPS or something
>     thinks that the machine should be turned off to save electricity
>     thinking they're being helpful?
>     If you solve it or not I'd suggest maybe putting something on the plug
>     or a note over the socket saying that the kit has to be kept
>     plugged in
>     and turned on.  I've seen some things that you can get which fit round
>     the plug and cover the power switch (although I don't know where
>     you can
>     get them from, maybe Maplins, CPC etc or even an office supplies
>     company
>     maybe?).
>     By the way, I did a quick google search, looks like someone else is
>     having a similar issue with a Mac Mini but with XP...
>     http://forums.macnn.com/104/alternative-operating-systems/296206/headless-mac-mini-server-using-bootcamp/
>     Might give you more to go on.
> You could try disabling the DVI port in the Ubuntu config. Xorg does 
> test on boot whether a screen is installed or not, so you might need 
> to set the DVI port to be ignored. This article gives a clue: 
> http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=992602 but not much detail.
> s/
> -- 
> My CV: http://bit.ly/sfgreenwood_cv
> Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/simonfgreenwood
> Twitter: @sfgreenwood

Glen Mehn
glen.mehn at oba.co.uk
skype: glenmehn | blog: http://glen.mehn.net/mba
UK: +44(0)7942 675 755 | US: +1 415 704 4737

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