Ubuntu 11.10 = The final nail? Not loading after Linux update

As per the usual 6 month release cycle of bizarely named Ubuntu major updates, October 2011 heralds the launch of ‘Oneiric Ocelot’ to our machines. (This is major release 11.10)

Although I love Ubuntu for all the ethical, community and stability sides to it, the releases of 10.xx and now both 2011 releases have driven me slightly insane. The main bug-bear I’ve come across so far with Ocelot is getting the damn thing to work!

In case you were like me and had no idea what an Ocelot is... its one of these cute little wild cats. Awwwww

Installation is usually a doddle for anything in Ubuntu; with its own ‘software centre’ to make searching for, installing and uninstalling programs a piece of cake. Being the geek I am I nearly always run this from the CLI; not only a great way to learn more about the OS but also a way to customise decisions better. Updating the OS is a simple case of running the updater while the machine is doing other stuff; I can’t remember how long it roughly took to download and install… perhaps an hour? After updating and going for the reboot I was dropped in to pre-logging screen that just had the few lines shown below:

* Checking battery state...
Starting XAMPP for Linux 1.7.3a ...
XAMPP: starting Apache with SSL (and PHP5) ...
XAMPP: starting MySQL ...
XAMPP: starting ProFTPD ...
XAMPP for Linux started

At this point it would hang indefinately. Joy. Not.

After looking into the boot order and then disabling a few custom program launches from the Run Level directories… it turned out it wasn’t anything I’d configured for setup. Running “dmesg > tempFile.txt ; tail tempFile.txt”  showed the following jems/gibberish:

init: cups main process (10473) terminated with status 1
init: cups main process ended, respawning ...

Now a return code of 1 is usually bad. In fact it should always mean something bad. So perhaps thats the issue, this ‘CUPS’ process? Well CUPS is a non-essential system to handle printing… its hardly a core function of the OS, but stranger things have happened in the world of IT. Needless to say that disabling CUPS and rebooting only showed different errors in the dmesg output 🙁

After searching what felt like half the internet, a user on a certain Linux forum, PM’d me and suggested I used the following:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure gdm

Well I wasn’t sure how or why this would work, as its telling the package manager (dpkg) to reconfigure an existent installed package called “GDM”, or Gnome Desktop Manager.

Running it gave me an option to use GDM or LightDM … well I’d only heard of GDM so I selected that and hey-presto the boot sequence finishes! Crazy!



As usual I’m posting this not as a great piece of literacy (I’m sure its soooo entralling for the non Linux/geeky people who read my blog. NOT), but as a hopeful hand to other 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot users who find themselves in a similar position. It might be applicable to Karmic Koala, Lucid Lynx, Maverick Meerkat and Nutty Narwhal users also (Yes those are the names of the 4 predessors of Ocelet)

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