obarthelemy
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:09 am

<venting>

I've been dabbling with computers for ever. I even freelanced as a network admin for very small Windows networks, I'm the one recommending, assembling, installing, configuring PCs for people around me... And I spent the week end feeling like a dumb idiot trying to work with Linux. I reached none of my goals, and broke it to fresh install at least 6 times.

I got my brand spanking new ARM-based Hercules eCafe. Has an internal SSD, a first, also bootable, SD card (there a switch to choose SSD or SD1), and a second non-bootable one. Uses a tweaked version of Ubuntu-arm, with custom kernel and modules. Can use either *very* restricted Hercules repos (no gparted...) or regular Ubuntu ones.

I did not manage to:

1- Create a bootable SD card. There's a boot loader + custom kernel that have to go in the first, unpartitionned, 4 Megs. Never could ascertain I had the right stuff to put there (I should, the SSD was booting fine and I had a recovery.img), nor that it put it there, or maybe it was another problem. There's a tool to create a recovery SD card, I could not get from there to full Linux in-place.
>> solved, 2 ways: Hercules published a utility to do just that, and we got the required details to do it by hand.

2- uninstall software. When I figured I wouldn't be able to boot off the SD, I figured I might as well try to work of the SSD. I tried uninstalling some superfluous packages. You have to sift through tens of dependencies per package, trying to figure out if they're safe to remove or not. I failed several times, no clue how/why.
>> doesn't seem solvable, there's no "uninstal package and specific dependencies" in apt-get and its siblings. Might try to uninstall the main packages and do a clean-up, once I get backups running.

3- update the OS. System Update kept putting it in an unbootable state.
>> solved, need to disable the ubuntu repos. What's the point of having a separate "update system" icon if it doesn't do that for you ?

4- I can't even exit to a command prompt. I can open a terminal, I can't exit f***ing X, nor find where to tell f**ing linux not to boot into X. There's hundreds of incompatible instructions about how to do that, I tried a handful, none worked.
>> not solved, haven't found where gdm launches. Using tty1 o save time, if not ram. Similar issue on the SSD: the natty one doesn't launch X (yeah !), but doesn't launch anything either, got to manually start a tty. Tried to find info on the boot process... found a gaggle of it, none seemed to work.

5- setup network shares with Samba. Installed samba, rebooted, still had no 'smb' choice in the 'sharing' app.
>> cifs.ko and slow_work.ko issues.

I'm tired, and pissed, and dispirited.

</venting>

EDITs: updates >>, after 4 days of trying, with UKscone invaluable help. Thanks !

tnelsond
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:11 am

4. I just don't use a login manager and I boot to the console very time.

obarthelemy
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:13 am

how does one disable the autorun login manager ?

tnelsond
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:15 am

What login manager and os are you running?
Well regardless, the easiest thing to do is just uninstall the login manager.

A lot of window managers also have a kill x key combination.

jamesh
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:21 am

On the other hand, I run Ubuntu on my standard desktop and have had no issues whatsoever. Whereas the others half's Vista box is a complete pile of poo.

I disabled X on my Raspi so it booted to prompt - trying to remember how I did it....I've left my notebook at home, so will try and respond this evening.

Isn't there an uninstall option in apt-get - can you use that? That should sort dependencies out for you.
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obarthelemy
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:25 am

Os is Ubuntu, LTS I think, though the display looks very Unity-like.

If I type "login manager" in Synaptics, and sort by installed date (only way I could find to have a list of installed stuff) I get: login (system login tools), gdm (gnome display manager), and libpam-ck-connector (concolekit pam module). None of the three sound good for t... should I remove "login" ?

Edit: since it seems I'm running gdm, I google 'exit gnome', found sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop... which puts me in a blank screen with a flashing cursor at the top left... no X, but no prompt either. ctrl-alt-backspace doesn't work either.

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Jongoleur
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:43 am

I'd never heard of this little beastie befor, so I looked it up. As its an ARM based, I can see the attraction as a platform for getting to grips with ARM before the Pi arrives, but

(it) Uses a tweaked version of Ubuntu-arm, with custom kernel and modules.

I think that says it all, there's probably too much customisation there to get it to work in a way other than that envisaged by the manufacturers, and having had a look at their website and the instructions for reimaging the boot SD, its probable that they've had a lot of people bricking the beastie in order to make it do what THEY want.

Apropos of nothing, I've got a Sheevaplug - NewIT, the distributors in the UK, have a large user community with links to other support forums with fairly quick responses to problems like the one you're having. I feel that it might be a lot more difficult to get solutions to specific eCafe hardware/software problems as Hercules aren't as proactive.

At least with the Pi, there's going to be a strong support community! *looks around*

:-)

(as its Ubuntu, then it should be 9.04, as that was the last supported ARM system. I'm assuming you can run a Terminal window? I haven't got my thinking head on at the moment, so thats as far as I can go. *g*)
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

obarthelemy
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:06 am

Yes, terminal runs fine. Ubuntu ARM support is ongoing for Cortex-level chips (which the eCafe's is), they just dropped the Pi's v6 a while back.

More knowledgeable people seem to have successfully booted off the SD, I'm just failing at the "bootloader and kernel in the SD's unformatted first 4M" step. I should know what to do next. The unformatted part boggles my mind.

jamesh
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:27 am

I think what you are doing counts are fairly unusual (and therefore quite difficult), so don't blame Linux!
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Jongoleur
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:28 am

*red face dept*

I'd seen ARM and Ubuntu, and skipped over the Cortex A8 bit...

I second what jamesh says - you're in the deep end of the pool there, and that goes back to what I said about the user community. If the knowledgable aren't sharing then things are more difficult than they need be!
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

pieter
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:21 am

Point 4.: Going to a console. : Press Ctrl-Alt-F1.
Going back to X : Ctrl-Alt-F7

That should work.

Most Linux Distributions have(had) 6 Terminals (Ctrl-Alt-F1 <-> Ctrl-Alt-F6).
X will start in the next available Terminal, hence Ctrl-Alt-F7

pieter
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:23 am

Point 1: Bootable SD-Card.

I usually install on the SD-card.
You could also try the unetbootin tool but this will create a usb-stick/dvd type installation.

hippy
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:25 am

Quote from obarthelemy on October 10, 2011, 03:09
I'm tired, and pissed, and dispirited.

That completely reflects my own experience with embedded Linux and trying to use commercial products in a way not originally intended. The manufacturers aren't interested, those who understand the product are few and far between and don't have the time nor inclination to lead newbies by the hand, and I don't have enough experience to understand or do whatever needs to be done.

You are either running with the experts and experienced or you're on the sidelines trying to figure out how to join the race. It is easy to end up frustrated, disheartened and walking away.

With the R-Pi it should hopefully be very different. The platform is open, will become more ubiquitous, has 'learning' at its heart and a strong and diverse community will help lead people to their goals no matter what their previous experience.

The impossibility of permanently bricking the R-Pi cannot be underestimated as an enabler for experimentation and, if one does destroy an R-Pi, it's a fairly small cost to replace it.

jamesh
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:52 am

Well, you are trying to do something with the product it was never intended to do - that is a recipe for pain and heartache.

Imagine taking an ordinary Ford Focus, and taking it racing. Something the original design was not meant to do. You need to....take the engine apart and rebuild it with more horsepower. You might even need a completely new engine. You need to do the same with the gearbox, or replace it with something better. You need to seam weld the chassis and install a roll cage. You need to remove all the seats and replace with race spec. You need new seatbelts, and new mountings for them. You need to get rid of the standard suspension and replace with something better. You need a fuel cell rather than a tank. You need to install extinguisher systems. Pain from start to finish, with little or no help from anyone (including the manufacturer) as nobody will have done it the same way. It's all possible, but very painful.
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ukscone
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:41 pm

to stop GDM/Gnome have you tried using rcconf?

sudo apt-get install rcconf
sudo rcconf

another possible way is from a terminal window

cd /etc/rc3.d
sudo mv S30gdm K70gdm

Blars
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:47 pm

Now you know how I feel in windows. If you have depenancy problems like that, you are either doing something wrong or using the wrong distro. With Debian, a simple "apt-get install foo" will install foo and all it's dependancies. (AFAIK Ubuntu didn't break that.) gdm is the "desktop manager", remove or disable it from starting and you should get a simple login prompt at boot.

tnelsond
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:53 pm

Quote from obarthelemy on October 10, 2011, 08:25
If I type "login manager" in Synaptics, and sort by installed date (only way I could find to have a list of installed stuff) I get: login (system login tools), gdm (gnome display manager), and libpam-ck-connector (concolekit pam module). None of the three sound good for t... should I remove "login" ?

Edit: since it seems I'm running gdm, I google 'exit gnome', found sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop... which puts me in a blank screen with a flashing cursor at the top left... no X, but no prompt either. ctrl-alt-backspace doesn't work either.

If you're getting that blank screen perhaps typing CTRL-C will terminate whatever program is running and free up the prompt (On my computer pressing CTRL-C in a command line program terminates it).

Pieter's advice with CTRL-ALT-<F KEY> should work great for getting to the prompt as well.

I don't think it would be good to uninstall "login" though, because I believe that is used to login to the console. As Ukscone and Blars has stated, and you discovered, gdm is the thing to stop.

__Miguel_
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:07 pm

I'm sorry I'm not able to help you out, since I'm exactly in the same place as you when it comes to Linux (probably even worse, the best I've managed was to sort of getting XBMC fully running on my ION machine, but even then there was a sound issue), but I'd like to give you some strength.

Linux, as I understand it, can be a very good or bad mistress, and sometimes you can feel like killing someone... Windows is better on that department: everything is standard, and if you have an USB port and enough HDD/SDD space, it will install and be done with it. Of course that means a lot less freedom, there's nothing like Linux to make stuff small (RasPi or the PogoPlug come to mind).

Also, something I've realized, it appears Windows Power Users usually have a worse time handling with/migrating to Linux than those who are only regular users or have a solid background in *nix systems. I tell you, even with Ubuntu I have difficulties knowing where stuff is and how I do somethings...

So, again, a bit of strength from Portugal, so you can keep trying.

Miguel

Svartalf
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:19 pm

Quote from Jongoleur on October 10, 2011, 09:28
I second what jamesh says - you're in the deep end of the pool there, and that goes back to what I said about the user community.

Deep end of the pool? The moment he said "unformatted first 4MiB of the flash" I knew he's off into something as deep as the Marianas...

@obarthelemy: If you're off doing things like this, it's not Linux that's the issue- you're doing something difficult to begin with and any OS is probably going to be "fun" on that score.


If the knowledgable aren't sharing then things are more difficult than they need be!


He's off doing something better described as a "black art" than anything else... ;)

Svartalf
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:28 pm

Quote from hippy on October 10, 2011, 12:25
That completely reflects my own experience with embedded Linux and trying to use commercial products in a way not originally intended. The manufacturers aren't interested, those who understand the product are few and far between and don't have the time nor inclination to lead newbies by the hand, and I don't have enough experience to understand or do whatever needs to be done.

Indeed. The problem lies in that it's this way with more than Linux- it's just that you can lay hands on Linux stuff much easier and it's easy to get off into a space of this nature...


You are either running with the experts and experienced or you're on the sidelines trying to figure out how to join the race. It is easy to end up frustrated, disheartened and walking away.


Heh... In truth, it's easier to get "running with the experts" with Linux than many of the other embedded solutions out there. Imagine, if you will, someone trying to do it, never having done work with any of the embedded tools and blindly feeling your way through doing the very first steps on the Linux side of the story. I managed that. :D


With the R-Pi it should hopefully be very different. The platform is open, will become more ubiquitous, has 'learning' at its heart and a strong and diverse community will help lead people to their goals no matter what their previous experience.

It's my hope. Biggest problem is that much of the embedded space is this way, by rote, no matter what OS you're talking about there. Having something that tends to make it less by rote by it's very nature and ability to allow people to just simply tinker...well...


The impossibility of permanently bricking the R-Pi cannot be underestimated as an enabler for experimentation and, if one does destroy an R-Pi, it's a fairly small cost to replace it.

It's a compelling story to say the least. Bricking a 5-10k development board's a big, painful prospect- so you tend to not go where angels fear to tread unless you can replace it AND you're one of the experts in the field. All but unbrickable and $25-35US? You'll do all sorts of things, really.

obarthelemy
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:15 pm

Thanks for the replies guys... and no one made fun of me, too ^^

The ability to boot off the SD card is advertised in the 1-page product brochure, so I'll go rise hell on the manufacturer's site (which seems to have.. 2 active posters) about the lack of documentation, if not tools, to do just that. I don't think it's very deep-end-ish to try and boot of an SD card that's advertised as able to do so; plus it's equivalent to switching boot drives on x86 (which I do all the time, via the Bios).

Just to be clear, I'm not trying to get a terminal windows or non-X workspace (ctrl-Fx does work, so does Terminal and Terminal(root) ), I'm trying to save RAM by not running X at all. Also, I'm not trying to *install* software with all dependencies, I'm trying *UNinstall* it, as a way to make up for not being able to do a clean, minimal, install to SD. Hercules's recovery tool has no option, and dumps their whole distro with OOo plus 7 language packs, for example... on the SSD. I've tried to start off the recovery SD, which obviously has the required boot files and some sort of mini-linux that seems to run in RAM and dd stuff over to the SSD... no luck for now.

I tried UKscone's rcconf thing to wiggle out of running X, but cancelled out because the conf parameters looked weird to the point of being unrealistic: Bluetooth checked (the eCafe has none), gdm unchecked (and nothing else that remotely looked like a desktop environment in the comments), pcmcia checked (eCafe has none) no cron, hostname, network-interface, udev anything...

Anyway, don't worry about me, I've done my venting, there's obviously lots of things I need to learn, hopefully Hercules will deliver tools or info.

I did manage to find some OS info: Ubuntu release 10.04, GNOME 2.30.0, Kernel 2.6.35.4-ecafe-V2... Funny, the gnome stuff should work.... Anyway...

PS: luckily, the eCafe is unbrickable too: brick the SSD, switch to SD boot, break out your trusty recovery SD (image+windows creator tool on Hercules's site), let it re-image the SSD., switch back to SSD boot, reboot to "factory condition"

SlayingDragons
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:26 pm

I haven't read through the whole thread, but if you want a minimal install that's exactly how you want it, why don't you try Arch Linux? I've had far, far less problems with Arch than any other distro I've ever tried. It doesn't have X installed by default, you have to do that yourself, so it's exactly as you want. It doesn't automatically start X or a login manager unless you add it to your inittab or rc.conf.

tnelsond
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:32 pm

Quote from SlayingDragons on October 10, 2011, 20:26
why don't you try Arch Linux?

Yep, that's why I use Arch.

Well also there's a minimal install for Ubuntu which allows you to build your system from the ground up sorta. It's so much easier than stripping stuff from Ubuntu.
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Insta ... /MinimalCD.
It's been years since I used Ubuntu though.

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ukscone
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:38 pm

Installing another distro of linux is running before he can walk. first of all he needs to make a bootable sd card (i'm really suspicious about the unformatted 4meg at the start of the card, even on the el cheapo chinese mipsbooks that came out a few years ago they used a small FAT partition of the bootloader/kernel image).

i'm a bit snowed under atm but if i get a few minutes later on i'm going to d/l the recovery files and take a look at the dd image of the recovery sd card and see how it's setup partitionwise

obarthelemy
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Re: I hate Linux !

Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:59 pm

To save some time and encourage good samaritans:


http://imageshack.us/photo/my-.....cafe1.jpg/


http://imageshack.us/photo/my-.....cafe2.jpg/

1st one is the recovery SD, 2nd one is the fully-functional SSD, click on link for full-size image.

and one guy who succeeded did the following (started off the rescue image) , except I can't find "uImage-2.6.35.4-ecafe-v2", and the dd seems suspect (only 1M, not 4M-1seek ? how big is a seek ? I'm guessing it's the partition table @0.5M ? and how big is the kernel ?)
wrote the eCAFE rescue image to an SD card
I used gparted to reformat the ext3 on the SD card as ext4 (I also made the partition use the full size of the SD card, minus the 4MB at the start of the card)
I used the minimal natty-rootfs from http://elinux.org/BeagleBoardU.....atty_11.04
I unpacked the minimal rootfs to the new ext4 partition on the SD card
I copied the modules dir for the eCAFE-kernel from the eCAFE-lucid to the modules dir in the natty rootfs
I used dd if=./uImage-2.6.35.4-ecafe-v2 of=/dev/sdX bs=1M seek=1 (/dev/sdX being the SD card) to write the kernel image to the SD card
now I could boot the minimal natty with no X (push CTRL+ALT+F1 to get a terminal)
now I installed "ubuntu-netbook) using an Ethernet cable
I copied the ralink Firmware for wlan
I recopiled the imx xorg-driver (needing some other armel deb packages not in the ubuntu repos from the web). X works without the imx-xorg driver too, but not very fast.
the gsteamer needs to be rebuild with fslmm (I didn't do that yet) ;)

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