09 Nov

Very Weird Week

This is a techie blog.. stop now if you don’t do geek.

I have had the strangest week with my Ubuntu installation on my Dell. I upgraded to 8.10 and all of a sudden my system stopped talking to the Internet via my network adaptor. Aaaargh! Nowadays a PC with no access to a network is useless, not only do I need the ‘Net to do my work but all my files are not on my work machine but on my file server. A LiveCD of 8.10 had the same problem so I sighed and reinstalled 7.10, reconfigured and started the upgrade back to 8.04. It’s not too awful on Ubuntu, all the apps and stuff comes as part of the install, and then there are the little tweaks and changes I make and I can do most of them from memory. All my data is on the file server so as long as I have a fstab backup then I am ok. It was eerie to see the video driver/kernel problem that scared me silly earlier this year happen before my eyes as 7.10 upgraded itself, broke the video drivers, recovered and then moved to 8.04.. like watching evolution at high speed!

In the end, after various pleas on ‘net forums I began to realise that no-one else had this problem. I also noticed that I was having real problems with DNS lookups and DHCP on my laptop. I switched it to using OpenDNS for DNS (not as easy on a Linux box as I thought it would be if you still want Auto DHCP for the machine IP) and things improved. My suspicion moved to my Orange router.. the second one I have had since the last one seemed to be the cause of my 6 weeks of intermittent Internet earlier this year. So, resisting the temptation to beat it with a branch in Basil Fawlty style, I rebooted it a few times. Oh look, DNS problems gone.. wonder if it was the route all along.

Now.. I thought, it’s time to be sensible and make a full disk image of my PC and have a perfect backup so I can upgrade to 8.10 and if it fails to network I can simple restore my image of my 8.04 setup. I downloaded Clonezilla and made a copy of my partition to another partition. It seemed to work. I rebooted and I got an odd error message but realised that my fstab referred to the backup partition as reiserfs but in fact it was now ext3. I changed it. Or did I? Long story short.. my system has been accessing both the original and backup since they share the sam UUID, a unique partition identifier, which they now both share! I have a working system which I upgraded to 8.10, but the upgrade seems to have gone to the backup disappeared! So.. I have edited BOTH fstabs, stopped using the UUID and moved to /sda1 and /sda3, and I am about to reboot.. wish me luck!

——-> 10 minutes later….

It worked. Mind you.. the 8.10 upgrade has vanished like snow in rain, which is very odd given that I sat here and watched the whole lot download, answered the configuration questions and so on!

——-> 60 minutes later ….

All sorted. Now I have tried a 8.10 Live CD and once again the network adaptor fails! Aaargh. I also noticed that my gnome-terminal failed to run. Have I got a dodgy LiveCD? I am downloading a new one now. In the meantime I think I shall stay with 8.04, after all it is a LTS (long term support) release so it’ll be kept safe and secure and frankly I am quite happy with all that 8.04 has, 8.10 would be nice but not killer.

In the meantime I have installed Debian 5 (lenny) on my laptop.. alongside Ubuntu 8.10 and Puppy 4.. but that is my ‘mess about toy’.. since it really is an old piece of junk.