I was enjoying my new Linux Mint desktop, mentioned in a previous blog. I had upgraded all the packages to the latest versions (for the Bianca distro, at least, which is a few months behind the current major release) using the mint tool and everything was swinging the way it was supposed to. Today, disaster.
yesterday I clicked on a button (I think called “Upgrade”) in the main menu, and up comes a box asking if I want to upgrade to Ubuntu 7.0.4, which I checked to find is the latest. That sounds good, I think to myself and press the fateful button. After 24 hours of downloading, it had become obvious that this was in a major operation that did not belong in a casual button. First, it required dozens of clicks on command prompts for packages that already existed. Then it suddenly exited. Was it finished? Hard to know. No processes running for it.
So I reboot, and it all fails. I t*suspect* the problem is that it has taken the file system configuration from my old Mandrake files on the bootloader, not from the Mint distro. So Ubuntu complains it cannot load the root partition; presumably it cannot find it on partition hd6 or whereever because it no longer exists. So now I don’t have a bootable system; or at least, it boots into a strange RAM-based shell and I suppose I have to use the command-line tools to fix something. I got tired of doing this kind of thing in UNIX 20 years ago, why on earth are we still there? I am lost tonight, grrr.
Anyway, the moral is, don’t push the button to Upgrade to Ubuntu 7.0.4! I know I should have downloaded the image and written it to ISO discs for booting, but the button was so tempting and seemed to be working well. Sigh. This is not a good experience.
I have been looking around for a non-Unix, non-Mac, non-Windows environment. One option that appeals to me is to have a LISP machine, because I used to work at TI supporting their Explorer AI systems at one stage: I see that some enthusiasts have actually made an emulator for the Explorer I, which might do me, though it is not clear how much of the Explorer system is intact with the distro. Another interesting option would be to build a system that only provided Java applications.
Looking around at the various virtual machine implementations and other technical option, it struck me that probably the easiest course currently is merely to have a stripped-down UNIX+X+DesktopManager with no applications that can be used as a fat host for the actual applications. Maybe I should try out BSD, for the base. It seems that most of the different environments that might be interesting are actually hosted under Linux/BSD anyway.
Suggestions for an interesting alternative to the hackneyed operating systems welcome. And ideas on how to get Ubuntu to look for the right disk partition when it loads doubly welcome!