Ubuntu 10.10 nuked my boot loader

ubuntu-splash-transparent Last Sunday I downloaded the latest version of Ubunu, 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat). I then decided to use the Update Manager in Ubuntu to upgrade the version I was running (10.04) in-place. The download was nice and fast, I was asked a few questions, and then it was time to restart the computer. Instead of the GRUB menu, I was met by a message that some file was missing and I ended up at a rescue prompt. Nice. The boot loaded had been nuked/damaged. Seems like I am not the only one”…”

Finally, after some Google searches and some other tricks (including using a bootable CD with Clonezilla and Gparted I happened to have laying around), I was able to boot on my Windows XP partition. I got the Ubuntu CD burned, as I had been foolish enough to just download the ISO file but not burn it, as I assumed the install would work.

Eventually I got GRUB restored on my computer. Then I proceeded with copying the few files I had on my Ubuntu partition to one of my other drives, and reinstalled Ubuntu from scratch, so I had a nice new install. I actually first installed on top of the existing version, juts to try that out. That worked, but none of the new software in 10.10 were installed, so I opted to start all over.

I had less problems with this version compared with previous version. Perhaps it is that i am getting used to Ubuntu, or perhaps the distribution is becoming easier to use, My network card, a Netgear WG311, is still not supported natively in Ubuntu, but by installing ndiswrapper (which comes on the CD but is not installed by default) I would use the Windows XP drivers for the card. Very slick, took just a few minutes.

I had to install the Nvidia graphics drivers separately, but again, that was easy. The tricky part was to get my left monitor (I have two older CRT monitors connected to my system) to run in a higher resolution than 640×480. After some searching through Google and editing the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf file I was able to get 1200×1024 on that screen as well.

What about Notes 8.5.2 then? I am happy to report that it was extremely simple. I downloaded the compressed .tar file from the IBM Passport Advantage site, unpacked the contents (half a dozen .deb files) to the desktop and simply right-clicked on one file at a time and opened them in the Ubuntu Software Manager, Answered a question or two, and after just a few minutes I was all set. Actually much faster than installing it on a Windows XP PC at work, which I did today. Well, a small disclaimer, my system at home got a faster processor, 3 GB memory (vs. 768 MB at work) and probably faster hard disks”…”

Over the last year, I estimate that I have been in Ubuntu about 80% of the time, and in Windows just 20%. Perhaps even less. And after I installed some additional programs this week, for example to transfer digital video from my old camcorder, I might work even more in Ubuntu. I am not ready to fully let go of Winodws, I need a particular remote control program to connect to work. Of course. Vmware or VirualBox would solve that as well.

So if you haven´t looked at Ubuntu or some other Linux distribution lately, try it out.


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