I usually don’t take the time to blog about techie stuff. However, if this will save other geeks some time and reduce the general frustration level, it will have been well worth the effort. A few days after Kubuntu 9.10 hit the streets I gave in to temptation; yeah, I let Synaptic do a system upgrade. Well, don’t you know, it turned into one of my biggest disasters since I left IT. Everything went fine until I tried to do something with my fuzzy new Koala. System freezes all over the place and then disk errors up the wazoo when I rebooted. Finally had enough, so went back to Intrepid ‘cuz I didn’t have anything newer on cd, then updated to Jaunty.
Yeah, I know, you shouldn’t reinstall an old version over a new one; but, …that’s what you need to do if you don’t want to lose all your stuff and you don’t have a good backup. Yup, second doofus award of the day! Mostly all joy when I got done two nail-biting days later. I did have a lingering file-system issue, though; a number of applications like Firefox, Acrobat Reader, Gimp, etc., would crash if I tried to do anything resembling File/Open or File/Save operations. But the kludgy work-arounds got to be too much of a pain in the neck so I figured to try the Koala again. Besides, they’d had a month to tune it up so things would work properly.
I managed to upgrade (from cd this time) to Koala and things seemed to be pretty OK. Then I went the next step to try to fix the file-system issues and converted from ext3 to ext4. That went all right except for the missing instructions! If you’re going to do that and then hope to boot successfully if you update the kernel, you better upgrade from GRUB to GRUB2. Yeah, they didn’t tell me that GRUB can’t boot an ext4 file-system. Well, that solved the file-system issues, the boot issues, slow and clunky action from KDE4 desktop effects (a herky-jerky cube, for instance); things were looking really nice.
And then the computer went to sleep.
Waking up went fine, but, look out; who knows how long it’s going to go before everything freezes up hard. I mean, like the only way out is to shut the power off. Everything was fine on a fresh boot but nothing doing after a resume from suspend. Since I’m using a laptop, suspend/resume is pretty important to me besides being a huge timesaver.
I checked the system logs but got no help; no significant error problems there, kernel panics or anything like that. And it proceeded to get worse, maybe ‘cuz I added some backport repos and updated to bleeding edge versions. Back to the disk errors on boot forcing a disk check that would ultimately fail, orphaned stuff, inodes messed up, times wrong, making fsck really work for its money! In fact, doing all the same stuff it did when I first brought home the Koala.
And then, finally, when I was about to give up and find a pencil sharpener to replace my word processor, I got another error message. Here it is in case you get it, too: “unable to find a suitable fs in /proc/mounts” followed by the question, are you sure there’s a file-system mounted? So I tried booting recovery mode, figured I’d be able to see more of what was happening. And, voila, there it was! Apparmor was throwing an error right before the other error message about “a suitable fs”.
My solution – kiss Apparmor goodbye, and quickly. Your favorite package manager or “apt-get remove” will ditch that baby right out of there. It still may try to start Apparmor on boot and then throw an error; the kludge for that was to comment out all the lines in /etc/apparmor/initramfs. The way it’s been working since I did that makes me think that might have been the issue at the beginning with Koala. It wasn’t a totally unprofitable experience; I learned a lot about the guts of Linux even though I didn’t really want to. Anyway, I have a Kubuntu 9.10 system using a 2.6.32-02063202 kernel, ext4 file-system, GRUB2, KDE4 on an Acer Aspire 5610 laptop with 4gb RAM. Haven’t taken the plunge to try a kernel with PAE to see if it will recognize all of the RAM. Maybe another day!