TideLog Posts Tagged “Linux Mint”

Mika recently gave me her old eMachines E625 laptop after she bought a new one from me. I dual booted it with Linux Mint, as there was still some of Mika’s files under Vista that she wanted to keep. The only thing that didn’t work was the wireless. The card appeared to be installed under Device Driver Manager, but I received the message “Device not ready – firmware missing.”

I was scratching my head for ages. Using Ethernet for the time being, I tried downloading official Broadcom wireless Linux drivers and building them, but that hit a wall with Error 3 (I never did find out what that was). I swapped drivers under Device Driver Manager, still no luck. Admitting defeat, I phoned my linux chick, Kana, and her simple solution made us both laugh! She told me to open Software Manager, search for “b43”, and install the package “firmware-b43-installer”. It worked! The wireless on/off button light also worked!

She said you can also use Terminal by typing “sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer”, but to do that you’d need to have known the package name first. I love you, Kana, my gorgeous Japanese geek goddess xxx Seriously, everyone should have a Japanese geeky programmer for a ladyfriend!

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Unless you’ve freshly installed Ubuntu or Linux Mint Ubuntu & Debian Editions, you’ll probably notice that each time you boot up, the GRUB bootloader menu lists a bunch of previous Linux kernels which you can boot into. While this can come in handy for disasters – if you suddenly can’t boot into the new kernel after an upgrade – those previous kernels, images and modules are mostly just wasting disk space.

While you can manually go into Synaptic Package Manager, search for all the bits and pieces of previous kernels, and mark them for removal, here is a much easier method, thanks to Kana, she’s a Linux consultant and teaches me Linux using Mint, OpenSuSE and Debian. In a terminal, simply paste the following command, and it will remove all but the current kernel (if you’ve upgraded your system, or had an update with a new kernel, please reboot your machine before running this). It will also remove old graphics driver modules for old kernels, and modules related to VirtualBox if installed:

dpkg -l ‘linux-*’ | sed ‘/^ii/!d;/'”$(uname -r | sed “s/\(.*\)-\([^0-9]\+\)/\1/”)”‘/d;s/^[^ ]* [^ ]* \([^ ]*\).*/\1/;/[0-9]/!d’ | xargs sudo apt-get -y purge

Yeah, I know, looks like Geek hieroglyphics, doesn’t it? Kana said she studied the docs for Debian Packager and Apt to get all that! You will see some info about what is going on:

The following packages will be REMOVED:
linux-headers-2.6.35-22* linux-headers-2.6.35-22-generic*
linux-headers-2.6.35-23* linux-headers-2.6.35-23-generic*
linux-image-2.6.32-25-generic* linux-image-2.6.35-22-generic*
linux-image-2.6.35-23-generic*
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 7 to remove and 13 not upgraded.
After this operation, 586MB disk space will be freed.
(Reading database … 261863 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing linux-headers-2.6.35-22-generic …
Removing linux-headers-2.6.35-22 …
Removing linux-headers-2.6.35-23-generic …
Removing linux-headers-2.6.35-23 …
Removing linux-image-2.6.32-25-generic …

It will then generate a new GRUB menu, and when you reboot, you’ll see only the current kernel is listed. Kana uses this all the time, she says she’s never had any trouble with it 🙂 Aren’t geeky girlfriends cool?

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I needed to repair a VirtualBox Linux Mint install because I updated VirtualBox and suddenly LM decided it didn’t want to start, it just kernel panicked its butt off! Kassie walked me through how to do a repair install type of installation. This works like the Windows XP, Vista & Win 7 “Repair/Upgrade install”. I’ve made notes here as she did it with me, so it’s here for my and my readers’ use in the future!

Before you start, make a backup of the virtual machine itself by making a copy of the machine in VirtualBox by clicking “File”-“Export Appliance”

To repair an installation use the Live CD of the version you have installed, and if you want to upgrade an installation use the LiveCD of the newest version.

Step 1. Load the “live CD” by attaching the ISO of it to the VM on the Storage settings page, or using a real disc version.
Step 2. Open the installer, pick your localization, then go forward.
Step 3. Pick the same timezone you had on first install.  Go Forward. Pick the same keyboard layout that you had previously, and click Forward.
Step 4. To do a “Repair Install” pick the “specify partitions manually (advanced)” option. Go forward.
Step 5. This next step MUST be the SAME as you had previously.

I have 4 Partitions:
Partition one is my home partition.
Partition two is my Linux Mint boot partition.
Partition 3 is my windows partition, I know this because it is NTFS.
Partition 4 is my swap.

For me to do “Repair/Uprade Install” I have to click on partition one and then click Change. I change partition one to the SAME file system it had before crashing (Ext4) and the SAME Mount point it had (/home), then I click OK. DO NOT  FORMAT!
Then I change partition two to the SAME file system it had previously (Ext4) and the SAME Mount point it had (/) then click OK. DO NOT FORMAT!

I don’t change and DO NOT FORMAT partitions 3 and 4. NOTE: You need to setup the partitioner the SAME way you did in the first install.  DO NOT FORMAT!  DO NOT FORMAT!  DO NOT FORMAT!  DO NOT FORMAT!

Step 6. Now it’s safe to click Forward. The following message will appear with different sda numbers etc depending on your setup:

“Do you want to return to the partitioner? The file system on “/dev/sda2” assigned to / has NOT been marked for formatting. Directories containing system files (/etc, /lib, /usr, /var, …) that already exist under any defined mountpoint will be deleted during the install. Please ensure that you have backed up any critical data before installing”

IF YOU DO NOT SEE THIS GO BACK TO THE PARTITIONER! You clicked format  on something. Again DO NOT FORMAT!

If you see the message just Continue to do “Repair/Uprade install”.

Step 7: When you see the parts asking “What is your name?  What name do you want to use to log in? Choose a password to keep your account safe. What is the name of this computer?”

All MUST BE THE SAME as when Mint was first installed! Especially if like me you originallychecked the option to encrypt your Home dir. If you don’t get your credentials the same your Home folder will be inaccessible, you will LOSE ALL DATA in there!   Then click Forward.

Step 8: Ready to install (“Repair/Upgrade install”)? Are you? You are only ready if swap is the only partition to be formatted.  If you see other partitions to be formatted, go back to the  partitioner (step 5). If swap is the only partition to be formatted, you can click “Install” to do “Repair/Upgrade install”

Step 9. Restart PC, then install updates and proprietary drivers. Reinstall software as needed. NOTE: Most software configurations should NOT have been deleted as they are saved in your home folder. Once you reinstall software using the Software Manager or Package Manager things will work as they did

Step 10. Finished!! These steps will work for both Virtualized installs, and native installs on a PC HDD. Thankyou to Kass for helping me, I thought my encrypted Home folder was lost forever!

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