September 1, 2006

Mepis 6.0 looked lighter as far as applications, but it took more than twice as long to install as 3.3.1. In fact, I remember 3.3.1 taking not much longer to install as booting off the live CD.

I did run 6.0 off the live CD and after having run an installed version for awhile it was unbelievably slow. Nothing lose by doing a total reinstall. Except for a few hours. The install process was much longer this time, lasting about an hour. And then once I had it installed and configured….

Some sort of server error and the thing would not even let me log in!

This was getting beyond annoying. In fact, it was getting irksome to an extreme. I was extremely disgusted. The thing worked in live CD mode, why couldn’t it work once installed.

So, what to do?

I thought I might try reinstalling Mepis 3.3.1 but my disk is actually getting a bit worrn out and THAT wasn’t working. I began to suspect maybe my machine was screwing up.

I decided to try PCLinuxOS and this live CD booted up okay. Installation isn’t quite as clear cut as Mepis, oddly enough.

If I could find my Freespire disk I might have tried that, but it is no where to be found.

The key to installing PCLinuxOS is to log in as “guest” instead of “root.” Then you can see the icon for installing.

So I spent an hour or so waiting for PCLinuxOS to install. And there again, was an unspecified or unknown error. However, instead of leaving me totally powerless, it went back int live CD mode.

Hmmm. Now it is looking more and more like something might be wrong with this hard drive. I suppose it’s possible. That would explain why the live CDs seem to work as well as they do. And here at work, the live CD of PCLinux is adequate despite having only 198 Mb of RAM. It is not nearly as slow as Mepis 6.0.

The problem with the live CD is that it ties up my CD burner, so I can’t make new disks of other distros. That is a major downer as I was just getting good at it!

I do have one more distro to try (one is lost, and two others are on DVD..useless here.)…I suppose I could. The dreaded Ubuntu! It would be a MAJOR deal if that worked and everything else didn’t!LOL!


Update: Even the mighty Ubuntu, savior and ruler of the known Linux universe, failed to install on this hard drive. So that sort of hilighted the problem. I had another 7 G had drive lying around and put that in. After cleaning the Mepis 3.3.1 CD, I gave that another try. It worked. And so did the installation. I was now back to where I started.

But not quite. I learned something from the hours and hours I spent fiddling around. I learned that perhaps the live CD idea of portable Linux has some flaws. Namely, tying up my CD burner for when I might want to try and download utilities, files and other distros. At home, I have two drives and it isn’t a problem. At work, I’m lucky to have the CD burner.

Plus I learned that it doesn’t matter what OS you have when the hardware goes bad. I didn’t see any sort of diagnostic tool onboard any of the live CDs that would check a hard drive. But the fact they didn’t always detect it should have been my first clue.

I’m such a noob.




  1. That’s cause the diagnostic tools are all on the command line!

    Seriously, the normal user’s level of understanding caps out at defrag.

    The power user’s level of understanding caps out at partition.

    Diagnostic tools only give meaningful results to advanced users, and advanced users understand WHY console is great… namely that consoles tend to give A LOT of information what is easily filtered and parsed. Any GUI giving equivalent results will just be a wrapper around the console – which asks the question “Why?” – or say something like “Your hard drive may be fuxxored, I dunno.”

    That and modern hard drives are pretty obvious when they die. And F/OSS devs tend to have more than one computer – and hence easily test bad drives.

    Just a word of advise for data on old hard drives – don’t use a tree-structured file system (like Reiser) unless you have some redundancy. If a sector gets damaged, any unlucky children (and grandchildren and …) get lost. Huzzah!

  2. Hey there

    Thanks for this great post it was just the missing info that i needed for my study

    I have bookmarked your site in the hope that you will bring more of this great stuff to the table


    Wilco Breens

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