Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Lose

Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Lose

Summary: Sometimes you just lose, lose, lose, which is the kind of day I have had today. It started out with the stupidity of Windows Update.


Sometimes you just lose, lose, lose, which is the kind of day I have had today. It started out with the stupidity of Windows Update. After that I thought it would be interesting to look at the new release of Linpus Lite 1.7. My only previous experience with Linpus was quite some time ago on a very early netbook system, and I wasn't impressed with it, so I wanted to see if they have improved it significantly. The release announcement sounds very promising, but of course they always do. I downloaded the ISO, burned it to a CD-R, and installed it on my Samsung N150 Plus. The N150 is a classic netbook, with an Intel Atom CPU, so it should be very much the type of system that Linpus is targeted for. Unfortunately that didn't work out very well. There was no indication of trouble during the installation, but when I tried to boot the installed system it wouldn't work, it just kept cycling back to the boot screen. Grrr.

When I gave up on that, I decided to have another look at the latest Ubuntu 12.04 daily build. Now fair is fair, and this is pre-release software so there are absolutely no guarantees that it will install or run properly yet. But they have made a couple of alpha/beta releases already, so it has been installed by quite a few people and it is generally shaping up and stabilizing by this time. Not for me, unfortunately. The installer (ubiquity) crashes when it gets to the disk partitioning step, apparently it doesn't like the large number of paritions I have. I tried on several different systems, and got the same crash every time. Grrr.

So, some days it just doesn't pay to even try. After three strikes I was out, I put away the computers and went off in search of some other form of entertainment. I hope that your Sunday has been more rewarding and/or productive than mine.

jw 18/3/2012

Topic: Linux

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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  • I also tried Linpus 1.7 yesterday - I was a bit more fortunate in the installing process than you, though. The interface is quite aesthetically pleasing, although somewhat sluggish. I could not find a way to install any other programs apart from the ones found on its very own software center (you can take your pick from around 50!). That translated into no media codecs, so I was unable to play any videos. I did not play with it long enough, but it shows potential - I was, however, put down by its seemingly closed nature. Now, on to something else: I have been following your blog for a while, mostly because we seem to share, more or less, the taste for OSs and laptops. A couple of months ago I bought an Aspire One 522, a slight different model than yours, the one with the high-def screen, and up to today, have not been able to play sound through the HDMI port (video works fine). Have you tested yours yet? I use Ubuntu 11.10 and would very much like to stick to it.
    Anyhow, keep up the good work, JW!
    Best regards,
  • Hi, we would like to know more about the format of your partition table. It is probably caused by the GPT partition which Linpus Lite 1.7 CD edition does not really support it at the moment.
  • Generally speaking, in order to follow the GPL license, an open source Linux distribution will only have free codec pre-installed in the system.
  • @larmany2000 - it is a completely standard Windows/MS-DOS partition table. The only change from the state when it was delivered from Samsung has been to add an Extended Partition, and then create a number of Logical Partitions within that, making a total of 15 partitions.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • @fcorreajr - I have never tried to play audio over the HDMI interface, but I will have a look at that the next opportunity that I have, and I'll try it on several different laptops and netbooks for comparison. I'll post the results here when I can.

    Was it the AO522 that you installed Linpus on? If so, I'll probably give it a try on that as well. After the failure on the N150 Plus, I didn't feel like wasting the time trying another system, but if I knew that I had a better chance of success, I would still like to see what it looks like.

    Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for reading and commenting.

  • @jw
    Its worth viewing that partition table with Acronis Disk Director, or Paragon Tools - just to see if it is viewable under different (commerical) tools. Acronis Disk Director is quick to pick up on errors in the table structure. It all gets a bit dicey when you use all 4 partitions, well 3 + an extended one. When you create, move, delete partitions - small gaps can be left between tables, which in effect - break the 4 Primary Partition table rule, same goes for having more than one visible Primary Partition.

    You may find switching between OS's that you whole partition table becomes unreadable in the coming weeks (have a backup!)- that is why I tend to recommend using only one piece of software to create, and edit the tables (I'm using newly released Paragon HDM 12 Pro), and avoid using different versions of tools between OS's.

    Its just safer to only use one piece of software for manipulating your partitions, as there can be small technical differences on how each tool, interprets a 'standard' Windows/MS-DOS partition table.

    My theory on this is commercial Packages will have paid MS for the technical info on the exact partition layouts, where as the free ones may have done so by analysing how MS creates the partitions, ie. before and after analysis of sectors (spot the difference), which might not be as accurate. You can't completely rely on a so called 'standard Windows/MS-DOS Partition table', in reality it doesn't really exist, when you mix in many different operating systems.

    Just be careful, as I've been in the same situation, and lost data big time. Always backup the important stuff.

    I doubt it is anything to do with Linpus Lite 1.7, you'll probably find Acronis can't read your partition table either.
  • @Adam - You may be right, and I will have a look at it. But on the other hand, I have ten (yes, 10) other Linux distributions installed on that N150 Plus, along with Windows 7 Stupor Edition, and they are all happy - and after the Linpus boot failed, I went back and installed another Linux distribution into the partition where Linpus had been, and it installed and booted with no problem.

    My personal guess is that Linpus either doesn't like having so many partitions (15), a problem I have seen more than once previously with other distributions, or they don't like having it installed in an extended partition.

    I certainly agree with you about being careful and always keeping current backups. Not only because of the partitioning dangers, but also because I move things around and install new releases so frequently that I sometimes forget what is where and why.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • @larmani2000
    The problem with the software center on Linpus 1.7, is that there is no easy/intuitive way (maybe no way at all) to add software sources or any program apart from the very limited offer that can be found there. Again, I did not fiddle with it for a long time.

    My AO522 came with the Ontario C50/Radeon HD 6250 combo, with a higher screen resolution than regular netbooks (1280x720). It is a great linux machine, although the internal mic doesn't work really well (this problem is apparently fixed in the next LTS Ubuntu). Good luck with the Linpus installation this time!
    Best regards to both of you (larmani & JW)!
  • Update on the AO522 HDMI out sound problem: it works once the proprietary drivers are installed and if the internal speakers are turned off. The Flash performance is still subpar, though. HD Youtube videos (sometimes up to 1080p) run smoothly under Windows 7 but I can only manage 720p (with frame loss) on Ubuntu.