Linux Mint Installation Woes

June 8th, 2011 | Categories: Linux, walking randomly | Tags:

I’ve been a user of Ubuntu Linux for years but the recent emphasis on their new Unity interface has put me off somewhat.  I tried to like it but failed.  So, I figured that it was time for a switch to a different distribution.

I asked around on Twitter and got suggestions such as Slackware, Debian and Linux Mint.  I’ve used both Slackware and Debian in the past but, while they might be fine for servers or workstations, I prefer something more shiny for my personal laptop.

I could also have stuck with Ubuntu and simply installed GNOME using synaptic but I like to use the desktop that is officially supported by the distribution.

So, I went with Linux Mint.  It isn’t going well so far!

I had no DVDs in the house so I downloaded the CD version, burned it to a blank CD and rebooted only to be rewarded with

Can not mount /dev/loop0 (/cdrom/casper/filesystem.squashfs) on //filesystem.squashfs

I checked the md5sum of the .iso file and it was fine. I burned to a different CD and tried again. Same error.

I was in no mood for a trawl of the forums so I simply figured that maybe something was wrong with the CD version of the distribution – at least as far as my machine was concerned. So, I started downloading the DVD version and treated my greyhound to a walk to the local computer shop to buy a stack of DVDs.

When I got back I checked the .md5 sum of the DVD image, burned it to disk and…got the same error. A trawl of the forums suggests that many people have seen this error but no reliable solution has been found.

Not good for me or Linux Mint but at least Desmond (below) got an extra walk!

Desmond the greyhound

Update 1 I created a bootable USB memory stick from the DVD .iso to elimiate any problems with my burning software/hardware. Still get the same error message. MD5 checksum of the .iso file is what it should be:

md5sum ./linuxmint-11-gnome-dvd-64bit.iso
773b6cdfe44b91bc44448fa7b34bffa8  ./linuxmint-11-gnome-dvd-64bit.iso

My machine is a Dell XPS M1330 which has been running Ubuntu for almost 3 years.

Update 2: Seems that this bug is not confined to Mint. Ubuntu users are reporting it too. No fix yet though

Update 3: There is DEFINITELY nothing wrong with the installation media.  Both USB memory stick and DVD versions boot on my wife’s (much newer)HP laptop with no problem.  So, the issue seems to be related to my particular hardware.  This is like the good old days of Linux where installation was actually difficult.  Good times!

Update 4: After much mucking around I finally gave up on a direct install of Mint 11.  The installer is simply broken for certain hardware configurations as far as I can tell.  Installed Mint 10 from the same pen drive that failed for Mint 11 without a hitch.

Update 5: As soon as the Mint 10 install completed, I did an apt-get dist-upgrade to try to get to Mint 11 that way. The Mint developers recommend against doing dist-upgrades but I don’t seem to have a choice since the Mint 11 installer won’t work on my machine. After a few minutes I get this error

dpkg: error processing python2.7-minimal (--configure):
 subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 3
Errors were encountered while processing:

This is mentioned in this bug report.  I get over that (by following the instructions in #9 of the bug report) and later get this error

p: cannot stat `/usr/lib/pango/1.6.0/module-files.d/libpango1.0-0.modules': No such file or directory
cp: cannot stat `/usr/lib/pango/1.6.0/modules/': No such file or directory
E: /usr/share/initramfs-tools/hooks/plymouth failed with return 1.
update-initramfs: failed for /boot/initrd.img-2.6.35-22-generic
dpkg: error processing initramfs-tools (--configure):
 subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 1
Errors were encountered while processing:

I fixed this with

sudo ln -s x86_64-linux-gnu/pango /usr/lib/pango

Trying the apt-get dist-upgrade again leads to

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
 python-couchdb : Breaks: desktopcouch (< 1.0) but 0.6.9b-0ubuntu1 is to be installed
 python-desktopcouch-records : Conflicts: desktopcouch (< 1.0.7-0ubuntu2) but 0.6.9b-0ubuntu1 is to be installed

Which, thanks to this forum post, I get rid of by doing

sudo dpkg --configure -a
sudo apt-get remove python-desktopcouch-records desktopcouch evolution-couchdb python-desktopcouch

A few more packages get installed before it stops again with the error message

Unpacking replacement xserver-xorg-video-tseng ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Processing triggers for ureadahead ...
Errors were encountered while processing:
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)

I get past this by doing

sudo apt-get -f install

Then I try apt-get upgrade and apt-get dist-update again…possibly twice and I’m pretty much done it seems.

Update 6: On the train to work this morning I thought I’d boot into my shiny new Mint system. However I was faced with nothing but a blank screen.  I rebooted and removed quiet and splash from the grub options to allow me to see what was going on. The boot sequence was getting stuck on something like checking battery state. Up until now I had only been using Mint while connected to the Mains. Well, this was the final straw for me.  As soon as I got into work I shoved in a Ubuntu 11.04 live disk which installed in the time it took me to drink a cup of coffee. I’ve got GNOME running and am now happy. 

My Linux Mint adventure is over.

  1. Satish
    June 8th, 2011 at 15:38
    Reply | Quote | #1

    One should burn the .iso at really low speeds like 2x (or 4x). You haven’t mentioned the speed that you used. HTH

  2. June 8th, 2011 at 15:50
    Reply | Quote | #2

    Thanks for the advice Satish. I burned it at whatever the default speed is. Burning speed has never been an issue before and I have created a LOT of boot CDs/DVDs in my time. YOu could be right of course but I have already wasted enough CDs/DVDs trying. It’s bad for the environment :)

    Some people have suggested a problem with older SATA controllers but this is unconfirmed.

    I’m in the process of creating a bootable USB pen drive (using usb-creator-gtk) from the .iso image to see if that helps at all.

  3. Jimi
    June 8th, 2011 at 16:22
    Reply | Quote | #3

    I have a Mint partition that I installed from a flash drive the way you seem to be trying now. I hope it works!

  4. June 8th, 2011 at 16:24
    Reply | Quote | #4

    Nope. Failed…Same error.

  5. June 8th, 2011 at 16:46
    Reply | Quote | #5

    Works on my wife’s laptop though. Is my laptop too old at 3 years do you think?

  6. June 8th, 2011 at 21:54
    Reply | Quote | #6

    Thanks for the post.
    Indeed I am in the same situation… I have Natty in a mini laptop and though it works fine I just do not like it. It feels too MAC for my taste and too much visually oriented.

    So, how is ti going with Mint 10? Would you say is a nice substitute for Ubuntu?


  7. Charles Knight
    June 9th, 2011 at 01:52
    Reply | Quote | #7

    Huh. I guess Mint is allergic to some combination of hardware you have. I’ve always had trouble-free installation and maintenance with Mint, and that’s why I chose it for my parents’ computer. They don’t know Linux from a hole in the wall, but they happily surf the web, email me chain letters and play card games all day long with it.

  8. June 9th, 2011 at 03:04
    Reply | Quote | #8

    linux mint 10 seems to work a lot better than 11. i’m like you, ubuntu is ruined, i couldn’t find its usefulness and now i’m working linux mint

  9. Dave Cable
    June 9th, 2011 at 09:13
    Reply | Quote | #9

    Hi Mike

    Just FYI – Ubuntu 11.04 includes Gnome. At least it did on my machine following a dist-upgrade from 10.04. System -> Administration -> Login screen allows you to set the default window manager. Choose “Ubuntu Classic” to get Gnome.

    Or you can choose it on a per-session basis by picking a user on the login screen and selecting “Ubuntu Classic” at the bottom.


  10. June 9th, 2011 at 10:02

    @Charles I guess you are right. Linux Mint really doesn’t like my laptop. Seemed to like my Wife’s laptop just fine (booted into the Live CD no problem). Couldn’t actually go through with an install though because my wife probably considers putting Linux on HER laptop grounds for divorce.

    @Dave – Thanks for that. I wanted to use the Desktop that is fully supported by the distro but considering my multiple problems with Mint I think that it’s back to Ubuntu for me. Heck. I’d pay for a fully supported Ubuntu with GNOME. Unity is just rubbish IMHO.

    As for Mint, I’ve discovered yet another problem on my laptop. It won’t boot when on battery power. Freezes on ‘Checking battery state’ or some such message. Final straw!

  11. Silver
    June 10th, 2011 at 04:44

    Have you tried the Debian version of Mint. I don’t know but Ubuntu these days don’t always great and since Linux Mint main distro is based on that, there are weird issues here and there. Just try the Debian version and see how it goes. Also like some people suggested, just burn it slow just to be safe.

    Of course I’m a Windows user since Linux tends to give me all sort of problems and issue but I do like playing with a lot and so far Mint usually is much better even back when it first came out at version 3 or 4 I remembered. I hope it works out for you!

  12. H4xor66
    September 4th, 2011 at 00:23

    yeah … i went and bought a brand new HP laptop today wiped windows 7 off of it and tried to install mint 11 , it goes through the whole install process till the very end then i get an error ( kernel panic switching back to text mode) then it just sits there stalled …. i now have a 500 dollar paper weight. i was so excited to switch to 11 from mint 9. now im just broke and disappointed … until today i would have recommended mint to anybody looking to get into Linux …… now i wont even recommend Linux to anyone ever , it seems to be taking huge strides backwards. im about to go out and purchase another copy of win7 ( since i wiped mine ) and just get used to windows again after 5 years of Linux