Trusty Ubuntu Pain

This post is very time-sensitive and will probably be out-of-date almost instantly. Hopefully.

I’m working on some stuff that’s really only practical with Ubuntu 14. Which won’t really be released for another couple of weeks. One of the Enterprise-y types from the office is screaming that we should be using RedHat instead, but they he doesn’t seem to realize that he wants us to do cutting-edge stuff.

Not that ubuntu’s actually ahead of redhat what it comes to “cutting edge.” At this point, it seems like every other distro is tripping over its own feet to catch up with redhat. At least in terms of major, ground-breaking changes, redhat’s the upstream for basically everything foundational in linux. It’s just fun to pick on them.

My redhat-fan co-worker spent a long time a few days ago cussing about things he hates in Ubuntu. I didn’t have the time to explain that those changes are all coming from redhat. It’s just that he’s used to working with the ancient software that they’ve already beta-tested in the more forward-thinking distros.

Since I’m a gentoo user, I should probably mention that it gets beta-tested in the Luddite distros as well. Although, in the past 15 years, I have seen Red Hat come out with bleeding edge technology once or maybe even twice. In this case, the new stuff probably qualifies as a good idea.

That’s just background. If I thought anyone else would ever read this, I’d probably edit it away. But I haven’t gotten to truly indulge my inner writer instincts since NaNoWriMo, so I’m leaving it.

If only for the sake of word count.

So, anyway. To the point.

I decided, for various reasons (mostly those mentioned above), to try to install ubuntu to a second hard drive. The livecd forced me to choose somewhere to put a bootloader (I don’t know why…there really should have been an “I know what I’m doing” option that let me update my existing bootloader). And then the installation failed when it tried to install that bootloader to /dev/sdb1 the way I told it to.

Which was fine. I’m quite happy with the bootloader I have on /dev/sda1, and I really don’t want ubuntu to screw with it. I’m not in their target market of clueless newbs. I’d be right on the verge of switching over to Fedora (as much as I despise Red Hat) if the people who are doing interesting stuff there were able to get their stuff published.

Open Source politics are amusing. At least no one’s shooting anyone else.

That’s beside the point. After the ubuntu install failed, I booted back into my real system where I’ll continue doing almost all my work. I rebooted from there, got to the login screen, and…fade to black.

Fucking Canonical.

They boot up into X by default, and they don’t give any options for alternatives. This is why I *hate* letting computers make the decisions. When things go wrong, there’s never an obvious recovery path. The first step I took that actually made any useful difference was moving lightdm.conf out of /etc/init/ so the useless thing didn’t try to load up X and then crash.

I’ve wasted the evening trying to deal with the fact that this install is just broken now. I should probably do the install the way Canonical intended (with my real drive unplugged), and then adjust the bootloader appropriately.

But that’s the kind of garbage that I go through when I have to mess with Windows. And, pardon my French, fuck that. (Sorry, Mom!)

So I’ve booted back and forth about a dozen times this evening. The best hints I’ve been able to gather so far indicate that I need to use something like nvidia-xconfig to generate an xorg.conf.

Unfortunately, I can’t find a single suggestion about how to install that stupid program. It looks like it’s supposed to be part of the nvidia-settings package, but actual experimentation says that it isn’t so.

Maybe I’m running into a situation where the video card company isn’t going to release *anything* for this version until it has the official stamp of approval?

If that were the situation, it seems like the nouveau drivers should have worked. Even if they did work slowly.

Meh. Those modules are still active. So I don’t think that can possibly be the problem.

(“The Problem” == “I’d like to start X”…since I got past the “OS boots to black screen” thing earlier)

The bottom-line error that I’m running into is:

“Using system config directory “/usr/share/x11/xorg.conf.d” Number of created screens does not match number of detected devices. Configuration failed.”

Which is turning out to be completely useless on google.

At this point, I’d break down and install Fedora on this drive instead. If redhat weren’t stuck in the point of being obsolete just by their very nature. It’s more than a little ironic that they drive innovation in the rest of user-space linux.

I wouldn’t normally install something as corporate as ubuntu on my own time. Much less redhat. But I don’t see a way around it.

Except that they seem to have rigged the whole stupid thing so that it simply does not work.

I feel like I’m chasing my tail here. It’s past time to switch to something different and let it percolate in my subconscious.

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