Hidden Features

Veterans of Linux installs from the early days may chuckle at my new discovery, but I’ve only been installing Linux since the graphical days of Anaconda and Fedora Core 1. (But first some background info) I was recently installing Xubuntu on my father-in-law’s computer. He wanted me to install a new Windows Media Player version, but I needed to upgrade to Windows Service Pack 2. The Kami at M$ were not smiling upon his household because this hosed the computer.

No windows recovery disk, and it was an old POS computer so I decided to install xubuntu. My brother loves Ubuntu and recently I read an article about how awesome Xubuntu is on old POS computers. The computer was so old I had to use to alternate CD so that I could do a text install. In my opinion, I should be able to do this off the regular CD too. This wasted my time and an extra CD-R. Well, they’re cheap nowadays, so no biggie.

The install appeared to hang at the part where it read the partitions. This was, no doubt, due to XP SP 2 hosing things, but I became impatient so I rebooted and tried again. Again it appeared to hang. So I searched the virtual terminals to see if I could run some commands in the background to figure out what was going on. This is where I came to the part where veteran Linux hackers will laugh. I went to F4 and viola! It was showing all the errors occurring during the install! Then, some part of my mind remembered reading that in the lore. In the old days of text installs (before beautiful GUIs and error boxes) the only way for the computer to communicate on more than one channel was to have different virtual terminals display different parts of the install. I can just see the smiles on your faces! So now I have a tool for when installations go wrong.

By the way, I did get it to install. Now to try and get wireless working.

Author: Eric Mesa

To find out a little more about me, see About Me