Wednesday, December 5

Ubuntu Linux Is Dead, Long Live Ubuntu Linux

By The VAR Guy 25 comments

The VAR Guy received a rude greeting when he returned home from a business trip last night. His Ubuntu PC from Dell was dead. Fried. Done. Well, not entirely. But things were bad. The PC was displaying a bunch of errors and never fully booted up. But this sad story has a happy ending for The VAR Guy and Ubuntu.

The problems started after a nasty wind and rain storm on Long Island Monday night. Apparently, the storm knocked out power to The VAR Guy’s home — a sprawling mansion on Long Island’s famed Gold Coast, or so he likes to imagine. The power problems apparently caused the Ubuntu PC to partially boot up and power down multiple times that evening.

The VAR Guy’s wife dialed our resident blogger on Tuesday morning, saying Ubuntu had been reduced to a bunch of errors, no user interface … not even a command line. Call it the black screen of (near) death.

By the time The VAR Guy got home Tuesday night, he feared the worst. He’s a Linux novice and certainly didn’t know how to “recover” data on the system. So he decided to take the easiest route possible, and installed Ubuntu 7.10 from a CD-ROM.

Would this be an all night install — like in the world of Windows? Would it take hours to configure the operating system and related applications? Would our frustrated blogger have to “activate” dozens of applications using annoying online registration forms?

Actually, The VAR Guy was shocked by Ubuntu’s ease of install. With a few clicks of a mouse, the entire process required 20 minutes or less. Not just the operating system, folks. The install included OpenOffice, FireFox, and plenty of other third-party applications. Try that with your Windows/Microsoft Office set-up, folks.

So, shame on The VAR Guy for not using power protection to safeguard his Ubuntu PC. And shame on him for not backing up his data off-site. But thank you to the folks at Canonical for making Ubuntu an operating system that requires only minutes — rather than hours — to get going.

Comments (25)

  1. I think you mean only minutes rather than hours — to get going?

    TheSimkin, December 6th, 2007 at 12:24 pm #
  2. …well if Ubuntu was installed with a seperate home partition, he could’ve kept all his data and settings upon reinstall.

    explodingzebras, December 6th, 2007 at 12:58 pm #
  3. Thesimkin: Yes, you are correct. The VAR Guy has corrected his entry to reflect your feedback.

    joe, December 6th, 2007 at 1:09 pm #
  4. Why am I wasting my time reading this crap?

    Mr. Pink, December 6th, 2007 at 1:10 pm #
  5. Mr. Pink: Why am I wasting my time reading about you asking why you waste your time reading this crap?

    Groonity MvSpoon, December 6th, 2007 at 3:31 pm #
  6. It is crucial to set BIOS so as NOT to (re)start on return of power. Then, when the power goes out, the machine is off, and when the power comes back (and stutters, like it often does), the machine is still off, and won’t be damaged.

    palapa, December 6th, 2007 at 3:50 pm #
  7. Groonity MVSpoon: Why am I wasting my time reading about you wasting your time asking other commenters asking why the waste their time reading this crap?

    Moondoggy, December 6th, 2007 at 10:56 pm #
  8. Separate /home partition makes it incredibly easy to reinstall Linux. You can even install a completely different distro and your desktop will look and behave exactly the same.

    Name (required):, December 6th, 2007 at 11:05 pm #
  9. IF the system was damaged and didn’t run a file system check AND recover via the journaling system automatically, booting the live 7.10 installer CD would have allowed any needed recovery of (unspecified) personal data. A CLEAN install of 7.10 is most preferred in any case.

    In the unlikely event of a new hard drive that is partly working/failing, it would most likely not be caused by electrical surges due to a storm.

    Technically we did not define the problem. If it works reliably now, you’re good to go anyway. If you have read errors, you may have received a bad new (or not really new) drive. It happens.

    The lesson is installing Ubuntu (family) is fast AND includes far more real benefits immediately. That point is well made and well experienced here and with my many installs also.

    Spanky, December 6th, 2007 at 11:47 pm #
  10. Remastersys backup gui from linux mint (works with all deb based distros)allows you to make your own ubuntu(backup) livecd/dvd. Making a backup of your own system and having a live cd/dvd is very easy. My largest was a 11gig file so I couldn’t burn it to a dvd, I keep it on external hdd. You could backup your home dir and burn it to dvd it then use remastersys to make a livecd of your system.

    Clint Brothers, December 6th, 2007 at 11:50 pm #
  11. another stupid blog!

    duh, December 7th, 2007 at 12:22 am #
  12. I agree with the comments about a separate /home partition. I did that on my Windows boxes, too, back when I ran it. Always have a separate partition for your home directories, no matter what OS you run…for just such situations as this.

    Sum Yung Gai, December 7th, 2007 at 2:52 am #
  13. What a crap.

    Abhay, December 7th, 2007 at 3:33 am #
  14. I wouldn’t hesitate if you could run many sets of programs but not beefing if not time consuming on installing. Ooh sorry to the VAR Guy he Should purchase a UPS. Can ubuntu ran a Dual Boot on Windows or Mac.

    willie, December 7th, 2007 at 6:41 am #
  15. Putain t’es con, tu viens de découvrir le principe d’une distro linux ou quoi ?

    Abitbol, December 7th, 2007 at 7:10 am #
  16. There should be a BIOS Option “Stay off after power failure” which should be enabled by default.

    Problem solved.

    Volker, December 7th, 2007 at 7:34 am #
  17. Why is this supposed to be stupid or cr*p. Ubuntu, GNU Linux etc is so good but so few people use it.

    This is someone finding out how great Linux is & trying to spread the word. I say great & well done.

    Guy, December 7th, 2007 at 8:24 am #
  18. This isn’t unique to Ubuntu. A reinstall of virtually any modern Linux distribution is much less painful and much faster than any Windows reinstall. Whether it’s Fedora, CentOS, SuSE, Ubuntu, Mint, PCLinuxOS, or whatever, installation on Linux-compatible hardware is just simply good these days.

    Random CIO, December 7th, 2007 at 8:44 am #
  19. @Random CIO:

    I’m sorry, but I disagree with one point. Fedora is a pain to install. It took me at least an hour on my laptop. And then, it wouldn’t even boot. Ubuntu 7.10? 15 minutes. AND, excellent WiFi support.

    Sean, December 7th, 2007 at 9:16 am #
  20. Last paragraph should read:

    But thank you to the folks at “Debian” for making Ubuntu an operating system that requires only minutes — rather than hours — to get going.

    sean, December 7th, 2007 at 9:36 am #
  21. I would just like to reiterate Sparky’s comment that using the live CD, VAR Guy could have almost certainly saved his data before the new install. Once that was accomplished, creating a /home partition would be a logical step in creating a more bomb-proof installation. Besides saving the user’s data, a separate /home partition preserves many hidden configuration files. Preserving those files significantly reduces the time spent getting back up to speed.

    To be clear, I also support the comments regarding BIOS and UPS enhancements being a preferred preventative. That’s next time, though. Once you have the problem prevention is too late and a remedy is what is needed.

    Rambo Tribble, December 7th, 2007 at 9:41 am #
  22. Et puis franchement Ubuntu c’est pas si géniale que ça. Mandriva est beaucoup mieux.

    Abitbol, December 8th, 2007 at 3:40 am #
  23. You can easily prevent your machine from booting after a power failure, just set a BIOS password….

    LinuxMan, December 8th, 2007 at 4:24 am #
  24. The idea was : VAR Guy is a total novice. So all Ya sm4rt-a$$eS giving suggestions is good for what ?

    Secondly, I know it really looks like Ubuntu commercial , but the point was that Linux is much easier, faster, and less expensive (free) than Microsoft.


    r3, December 8th, 2007 at 6:33 am #
  25. […] While Red Hat and Novell battled on the server, Ubuntu Linux filed a small but important niche in the desktop Linux market. Though desktop Linux isn’t ready for all consumers, even our resident blogger managed to safely  — and easily — install Ubuntu on his Dell PC. […]

    TechIQ » Archive » Red Hat’s Loss Is Ubuntu Linux’s Gain, December 11th, 2007 at 3:14 pm #

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