Ubuntu 13.10 – Saucy Salamander Upgrade

saucyLast week, Ubuntu started pestering me about upgrading from 13.04 to 13.10.  While I should have know better, I elected to go ahead and perform the upgrade.  Not that it’s out of the question for me to run on the bloody, razor’s edge, I just made a couple errors in judgement that cost me a few hours of shop time.

My first mistake was not having a backup.  I use Ubuntu One and Dropbox to store off my important data so if the OS tanks, oh well.  It would be a pain in the ass, but I could get through it.  What I didn’t expect was that this would actually happen since the upgrade from 12.04 to 13.04 was flawless.  So, no system-wide, disaster recovery, monkeys ARE flying out of your butt backups.

The second error was basing this upgrade success on the last upgrade.  While it’s only been a few months, a secret squirrel is capable of jacking up a build within one cycle.  I’m a software engineer.  I know these things.  Hell, I’ve DONE these things.  Bah… what could go wrong, aye?

So, I started out getting the notice to upgrade which I eagerly confirmed.  I got the normal, mentions about breaking your stuff, back up your stuff, the moon is made of cheese disclaimers.  Blah…. waving them off with a deft click of the mouse, I continued into Saucy Nerdvana…

Just as a matter of conversion, when an upgrade notice tells you NOT to turn off your machine, they mean it.  No foolin, here.  It’s going to cause problems.  The moon will become a ball of Nachos!

About half way through the multi-hour upgrade, my machine started twitching.  Error in Judgement #3.  I should have found another machine to work on while the upgrade finished.  But I was being a little lazy and about to be paid for sloth.  The OS suddenly twitched, pitched, then switched.  Finally it locked up then shut off.  Technically, I did not turn off the power but I probably pissed it off somehow.

I attempted to boot it back up and got to my Grub menu but not much further.  The boot process ended with a black screen and a fully functional mouse.  This would have been cool in 1972 but it just sucked for 2013.  I tried some vain attempts at repair but nothing worked.  It was dead, Jim.

My hope was that I could install a fresh copy of 13.10 on top and everything would be fine.  So I downloaded the latest version and burned it to a DVD.  I then booted off it and started the install process.  I was warned that all my programs would be going to heaven by everything under my home directory would be fine.  So, when prompted, I put in my username and password, then sent the install off to do it’s thing.

After a while, it finished and I rebooted.  I added my username and password into the login form and…. nothing… Whaaaa?

It turns out that Ubuntu assigned a new ID to my user account.  So, even though the username and password were the same, I was not allowed access.  Luckily, I was able to switch into the terminal (CTRL + ALT + F6).  I was able to log in here and then via sudo, chown my home directory to my new user account.

Then I spent about 4 hours reinstalling the apps that I really, really needed.  Had I not put in my actual username and password, I suspect that my creds would still have worked without issue (since I was able to log in with my secret squirrel account).

So, in the end, I got to keep all my important stuff and do a little Fall cleaning of crap that has been accumulating.  But it should have been easier that that.  No fault of Ubuntu’s.  I simply got lazy and didn’t follow my own rules.

So, now I have had my 5-year computer epic fail moment, which usually gets me back on the straight and narrow.  I’ll probably be waiting for v14.10 before I upgrade again, staying on version behind, like usual and running backups like I should.

But then again, where would the fun be in that…

Beaglebone Black and Ubuntu – Copying the OS Image to the SD Card from Linux

beagleAbout a month ago (maybe longer), I started my Beaglebone Black saga and in one of my first posts, I recall mentioning that I was unable to copy the OS image to the SD Card in Linux.  My process was to format the card, then boot into Windows and use ImageWriter for Windows to copy the image to the card.  Then move back over to Linux to carry on.  Yesterday, while I was waiting for FFMPEG to compile (foreshadowing), I was be-bopping around on adafruit.com’s web site and read a paragraph about the Mac process for copying the image to the sdcard.  I had previously skipped that since I wasn’t using a Mac.

So, after some careful experimentation, I was able to get the copy to work on Ubuntu.  Here’s how I did it:

First, check to see what the device designation is:

sudo fdisk -l

for me it was /dev/mmcblk0

Next, for convenience, I changed directories to my Downloads folder where I unpacked the gzip’d version of my OS image.

Finally, I entered in the following command:

Before doing this, be aware that this command, if not carefully used, could quickly and easily destroy your host system.  Just pretend that you are on the ledge of a very, very tall building without a railing.  Scary?  You bit it is!

sudo dd if=ubuntu-raring-13.04-armhf-3.8.13-bone20.img of=/dev/mmcblk0

The article included an additional parameter, “bs=1m” but Ubuntu did not like it so I took it out.  I can only assume it is a Mac-related thing.

Anyway, after entering this command, I waited about 20-30 minutes.  When the prompt came back, I pulled out the card, slipped it into my BBB and viola… A new, sexy install of Ubuntu was on my card, waiting for glorious projects.

Here’s the original article (the code is near the bottom):


PS.  Yes, Be-bopping is an industry term.  Don’t believe me?  Look it up…