Category Archives: Linux

More on the Gutsy Gibbon saga

This morning Justin left a comment on the previous post in which he requested that I post the results of issuing the lspci command on my current computer on the theory that perhaps something about the IDE controller might be causing my system not to see the Windows XP installation.  So now that I know to add the all_generic_ide switch to the boot command on the Live CD (thanks to Tomcat–TC) and I can get into Gutsy without my previous problems, I booted up under that this afternoon and took a screen shot of the results of issuing that command.  Though I don’t know if this will give Justin what he thought it would, I’m going to post that screen shot below for his and anyone else’s scrutiny.

lspci info only


As you can see the IDE interface is the SiS 5513 from VIA Technologies, Inc., so it does not appear to be the ICH7 or ICH5 IDE controller that Justin was anticipating.  I don’t know where that leaves us, Justin, but there you have it.

While I was in the Live CD, I went again to the install program and to the manual install section of the partitioner since I didn’t want to use the guided installation to use the full HD.  Here is the screen shot of the point I got to when I decided to bail out because the installation wasn’t seeing my Windows XP installation, though it does recognize that the partition on which it is installed is formatted as NTFS.  Here’s what the partitioner shows:


The two HDs are shown and the type of file system is accurate for both of them.  The 137 GB partition (/dev/sda1) is my C:/ drive and has Windows XP on it, and the 26.5 GB partition (/dev/sda5) is partitioned as my F:/ drive.  I’ve gotten to this same point before but haven’t had the courage to monkey around with /dev/sda1 because I don’t want to risk losing my Windows XP partition.  Any advice, encouragement, reassurance or other mojo-enhancing words anyone would like to share in the comments will be welcome.

Gutsy Gibbon Live CD mystery solved

On October 21st I posted here about the fact that I couldn’t boot from the recently released Live CD version 7.10 of Ubuntu, the so-called Gutsy Gibbon.  That post attracted more comment than any other ever has on this blog as others reported that they too had encountered the same problem.  One of those who responded was Tomcat–TC since he too was having the problem.  Gutsy Gibbon desktop Earlier today, Tomcat–TC reported back that he had found a solution that worked for him, and as the screen shot at the right demonstrates, I have just proven to myself that it works for me too.  For the first time, I was able to boot from the Gutsy Gibbon Live CD on this, my Sony machine.

Previously I had encountered the error message with the Live CD after I selected the default option to load or install Ubuntu.  However, on that initial screen one of the options, evoked by pressing F6, is to modify the command line before executing the boot up command.  Tomcat–TC suggested that I simply add the following parameter all_generic_ide to the boot command line after the words quiet splash and just before the two final dashes.  When you press F6 the cursor is at the end of that line and you can use the arrow keys to move it so that it is positioned after the words quiet splash and make the additional entry.  After doing that, I simply pressed enter and eventually the CD booted up into the Ubuntu environment. 

As you can see if you click on the screen shot above and view a larger version of it, there is an icon on the desktop to install the operating system if you choose.  I decided to do that, but there I encountered another problem.  There are seven steps in that installation before you actually commit to begin the installation.  The first few are designed to identify the language, the time zone and the type of keyboard you are using.  Thereafter, the partitioner is initiated to find the hard drives on the system and provide you the option of specifying where to install the operating system.  All of that went well, except that during the process of examining the installed hard drives it found no existing file system.  Since I didn’t want to kill my Windows XP installation by installing over it, I canceled the installation and will go back to the drawing board. 

I have no idea why this CD doesn’t see the existing file system.  Maybe someone who reads and responds to this post will be able to suggest how I might get it to see my Windows installation.  However, even if they don’t, encountering that problem doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for having learned the solution to the mystery of how to get the newly released Gutsy Gibbon Live CD to boot on my system nor does it lessen my appreciation to Tomcat–TC for his reporting back the results of his investigation and the resolution to the problem.  


Gutsy Gibbon Live CD boot problem

On October 18, 2007, the newest distribution of Ubuntu (Version 7.10, code named “Gutsy Gibbon”) was released, and I downloaded the ubuntu-7.10-desktop-i386.iso image and, after checking the MD5 checksum, burned it to CD.  Tomboy I was able to use this Live CD to boot into the new version and install it on the Dell 4100 system I have here at home.  Because the checksum of the downloaded image verified and the Live CD works on my Dell system, I know there is nothing wrong with the CD itself.  I took the screen shot at the right showing the desktop with the included program, Tomboy, on the screen.  (If you click on the image above, a larger version will open and you can read the two open windows to learn what a neat little utility Tomboy is.) 

So having succeeded in installing this new version on the Dell, I decided that I’d boot the Live CD on my Sony system where I have my Windows XP installation to consider adding a Linux partition alongside my XP partition on the Sony machine, but that’s where I ran into a brick wall.

On my Sony machine when I try to boot from the Live CD, I get a screen where I can choose to boot into the Live CD and then briefly there is an Ubuntu splash screen, after which the screen goes black and I get some text from BusyBox that says:

initramfs) [ 53.053436]  ata1.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x2 frozen
ata1.00: cmd c8/00:08:00:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/e0 tag 0 cdb 0x0 daa 4096 in

This same exception keeps repeating and then the same command is reissued and I supposed it would go on indefinitely.  I have tried this multiple times, always with the same result.  I must power off the machine to stop it, remove the CD and then reboot into Windows.  The Live CD just won’t seem to load on my Sony machine.

There are, of course, many differences between the two machines, and I suppose any one of them could account for what is causing the problem.  If you happen to have an idea about what my problem may be, I would appreciate your leaving a comment and pointing me to a resource on the Ubuntu forums or elsewhere that might direct me to a solution. 

Thanks for your help and advice.

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Learning in the digital age

I’ve said many times, I would have loved to have had a laptop computer available to me when I attended college back in the dark ages (1959-1963). Back then my tools were a spiral-bound notebook and a Bic pen for class notes, a manual typewriter, erasable bond paper and White Out for term papers, and doing research in the card catalog and the stacks of musty-smelling books in the school’s library. Don’t get me wrong. A fellow can learn a lot, and even demonstrate it, using those tools, so my lament that I didn’t have the laptop, access to the Internet and search engines to aid me really isn’t a complaint about how hard I had it as it is my way of marveling at the changes that have taken place in the last 50 years.

Fortunately one’s education doesn’t end when he graduates from college, and even as I sneak up (at the speed of light, it seems) on my 65th birthday, I am still pursuing my education but now with the benefit of all those tools that I didn’t have available to me back then. And I still find learning to be as delightful as I ever did.

For instance, yesterday I spent about 90 minutes listening to and watching a presentation of Dr. Lawrence Lessig’s Keynote speech, titled “Free Culture: What We Need from You,” at the LinuxWorld 2006 conference that was held last month in San Francisco. I didn’t have a chance to attend that conference, but in this digital age that doesn’t matter because all the Keynote speeches were posted yesterday so that those of us who “skipped class” can go back and experience what we missed. Dr. Lessig’s presentation was one of the most entertaining, informative and challenging learning experiences I have had in a long time. If you have any interest at all in the issues facing the development of the Internet, I recommend that you take the time to listen to his presentation. I would be truly surprised if you didn’t find the time spent “attending” this lecture both enjoyable and enlightening.

There are six other presentations available on that website that I plan to listen to today. If any of them are half as good as Dr. Lessig’s, I’ll consider my day well spent. And I’ll have had the benefit of all of these learning experiences without having paid any tuition, incurred any travel costs, or even having had to shower and get dressed to attend. Learning in the digital age is a marvel indeed!

First contact

Some might say I’m easily pleased, and I’d find myself hard pressed to disagree. Take a look at this video first …

Okay, let’s acknowledge that this isn’t yet perfect. I’ll grant you that. However, it is the first record of the fact that I can connect my Win XP computer (a Sony Vaio machine) to my Linux computer (a Dell Dimension 4100 machine) running Ubuntu 6.06. In the future, I may add audio content to this, but for now, it illustrates that I’ve been able to connect to my Linux machine from my Windows XP machine, and I’ve been able to record what I see there.

Think of it as “first contact.” Later we’ll work out the details of communication. For now, we’ve proved there is an intelligence on the other side of the dimension we are seeking to cross. I’m delighted with the results so far.

And I must give credit to my son, Mike, for the insight that permitted me to make this connection. Here’s an email I sent him earlier this evening:

Just wanted to congratulate you on your wisdom.

When I mentioned to you at lunch that I had connected to my Windows XP
machine from my Linux machine using VNC but that I still couldn’t
figure out the IP address of the Linux machine on my network, you
asked “Doesn’t it have caller ID?”

That question was inspired.

The answer is that, although it doesn’t have caller ID, it does have a
log of the transaction, called winvnc.log. When I checked that, sure
enough, it identified the fact that the connection had come from (the IP address of the Linux computer on my network).

So you helped me answer my question about what that IP address for my
Linux machine is, and in the process you have assured your place as a
beneficiary in my will. 😉 And what’s more, you have saved a couple
of poor souls like Daryl Houston and Shannon Kamer the chore of having
to hold my hand to find out the answer to this question.

In the words of the Guiness Stout commercial, BRILLIANT!

Thanks for your help

First post from Linux computer

Thanks to my friend, Shannon, I now have another computer (I still have the old one too), and the new one is running Ubuntu 6.06.  So my absence from posting for a while is at least in part because I have been on  “educational leave.”  If the truth be known, I’ve been quite busy on the Internet lately learning a lot of different things, but I just haven’t been posting here.  So I am due for some serious “catch up” posts in the next few days, because I’ve been exploring some things that were very interesting, at least to me.

I do want to make one comment of appreciation to Brent Roos for the invaluable assistance he provided when he described how to Install Flock on Ubuntu back on July 24, 2006.  Like almost everything else, if you know how, it’s simple but if you don’t, it’s an unsolvable mystery.  I was able to follow Brent’s instructions and, thanks to the ability to copy and paste, get the package installed.  So now I’ll be able to compare how Flock runs on Linux with the experiences I’ve already had running it on Windows XP. 

I’ll also point out that because of this new install of Flock, I revisited the Flock Start Page that has a nice set of videos that illustrate some of its features.  I like those and think they will help new users grasp some of the things Flock has to offer.  But for now, I’ll close this and get back to my studies. 

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