2007-07-27: Installing Ubuntu

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Attempted to install Ubuntu Feisty Fawn 7.04 on my work computer (Lenovo ThunkPad R61). Here's what happened...

Contents

Problem 1: Boot failed due to problems recognizing (?) hard drive

It started booting off of the CD and presented me with a menu. I selected "Start or install Ubuntu". It proceeded merrily, with a happy little screen with the Ubuntu logo and a back-and-forth status indicator telling me it was working... But then, pow! It dumped me to a console (an utterly useless console, I might add) with an utterly useless error message:

BusyBox v1.1.3 (Debian 1:1.1.3-3ubuntu3) Built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.

/bin/sh: can't access tty; job control turned off
(initramfs) 

After searching around, I discovered that many different people have received that error (and have gotten there by doing different things -- for example, some of them were upgrading, whereas I was installing from a CD), but unfortunately I didn't see many solutions to it.

People recommended trying many different things, most of which didn't even apply to my situation (doing a fresh install from a CD):

  • Look at my /etc/inittab ? I can't; there isn't one!
  • Edit my menu.list ? I can't; I don't have one yet!
  • Boot off of a live CD and run fdisk -l ? I can't; I don't have a Live CD!
  • Try mounting drives?? Why? It already finds the CD-ROM just fine. What needs to be mounted?
  • Change grub? I don't have any control over grub yet, do I? It's not even installed on my hard drive yet.
    • "Grub was aiming to the wrong partition (swap!) and thus it couldn't boot ubuntu properly."

In fact, it looks like this error actually has nothing to do with the problem, and the real problem quite possibly varies widely between all of us who get this error.

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/showthread.php?t=474493&page=2. Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.


nx5000,2007-03-23

As I said months ago (my post from December) and you said yesterday, this "can't access tty" error doesn't mean anything by itself so probably nobody will help you in this thread. Any problem during bootup will lead to this warning. My advice: [...] Open a new thread in ubuntu detailing your Ubuntu version, how you installed it, HW specs again and the PREVIOUS ERRORS (if any), not this tty thingy.

Then I encountered a couple more useful suggestions:

/bin/sh: can't access tty; job control turned off - Page 3 - LinuxQuestions.org (http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/showthread.php?t=474493&page=3). Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.


jnikolai,2007-06-22

If you're getting this error, and you don't have the option of moving drives around (if you're on a laptop, for instance), try going into your bios and turning off AHCI on the SATA controller. It might be worded differently - disable anything about advanced controllers, enable anything referring to compatibility. YMMV, of course, but it worked for me.

I tried that, as documented in the table below.

#1638 (LiveCD fails, Hanging at "Starting init...") - LiveCD Trac - Trac (http://wiki.linuxfromscratch.org/livecd/ticket/1638). Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.


alexanderθlinuxfromscratch.org,03/13/06 06:06:44

03/13/06 06:06:44 changed by alexander@linuxfromscratch.org ¶ Let's test if this is an OOM-like situation caused by incorrectly detected memory size. Please boot the CDs (original, with bind mount, and with shell-based init) on both i586 and i686 with the following line: linux noapic pci=noacpi mem=64M Then try once again with "64M" replaced with the real RAM size.

I tried that, as documented in the table below.

In addition to getting the "can't access tty" error and being booted to the shell, after waiting a while (about 1 minute after I landed on that screen) on that screen (not touching anything) it gave the following output:

[    67.540] ata1: port failed to respond (30 secs, Status 0x80)
[    67.540] ata1: COMRESET failed (device not ready)
[   131.016] ata1: port failed to respond (30 secs, Status 0x80)
[   131.016] ata1: COMRESET failed (device not ready)
[   200.492] ata1: port failed to respond (30 secs, Status 0x80)
[   200.492] ata1: COMRESET failed (device not ready)

I didn't get any more after those 3 failures. Seems to indicate to me that it might be some kind of hard drive IO problem.

Chart

Inputs Outputs
Boot Options (in addition to file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper initrd=/casper/initrd.gz ) SATA Controller Mode
quiet splash -- (defaults for Start or install Ubuntu) AHCI

(Alt-Ctrl-F8:) Dumped to BusyBox / ash
(Alt-Ctrl-F1:)

Loading, please wait...
-- Compatibility (Alt-Ctrl-F1:)
[    6.4  ] squashfs: version 3.2-r2 (2007/01/15) Phillip Lougher
[Heard a lot of CD-ROM access... And then it just hung there.]

(Alt-Ctrl-F8:) Dumped to BusyBox / ash

noapic pci=noacpi nohlt mem=nopentium -- Compatibility Booted up successfully! (Into X Windows.)
quiet splash noapic pci=noacpi nohlt -- AHCI

(Alt-Ctrl-F8:) Dumped to BusyBox / ash
(Alt-Ctrl-F1:)

Loading, please wait...
noapic pci=noacpi nohlt mem=nopentium -- AHCI (Alt-Ctrl-F1: )
[         ?] ata1.00: qc timeout (cmd 0xec)
[         ?] ata1.00: failed to IDENTIFY (I/O error, err_mask=0x104)
[         ?] ata1.00: limiting speed to UDMA7:PIO5
[         ?] ata1: port is slow to respond, please be patient (Status 0x80)
[   132.820] ata1: port failed to respond (30 secs, Status 0x80)
...
[   204.780] hub 6-0:1.0: USB hub found
...
[   205.320] hub 6-4:1.0: 4 ports detected
[No further output until I pressed Enter]
(initramfs) 
[Pressed Ctrl-Alt-Del]
[          ] Restarting system.
[   541.???] [Something about PCI...?]
quiet splash noapic pci=noacpi nohlt -- AHCI

(Alt-Ctrl-F8:) Dumped to BusyBox / ash
(Alt-Ctrl-F1:)

Loading, please wait...
noapic pci=noacpi nohlt mem=nopentium -- AHCI (Alt-Ctrl-F1:)
...
[    4.832] scsi0: ahci
[    5.316] ata1: SATA link up 1.e5 Gbps (SStatus 113 SControl 300)
BusyBox v1.1.3 (Debian 1:1.1.3-3ubuntu3) Built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.

/bin/sh: can't access tty; job control turned off
(initramfs) 
[   35.316] ata1.00: qc timeout (cmd 0xec)
[   35.316] ata1.00: failed to IDENTIFY (I/O error, err_mask=0x104)
[   43.296] ata1: port is slow to respond, please be patient (Status 0x80)
[   66.312] ata1: port failed to respond (30 secs, Status 0x80)
[   66.312] ata1: COMRESET failed (device not ready)
[   66.312] ata1: hardreset failed, retrying in 5 secs
[   71.792] ata1: SATA link up 1.5 Gbps (SStatus 113 SControl 300)
[repeats, though some is different]
[  101.792] ata1.00: qc timeout (cmd 0xec)
[  101.792] ata1.00: failed to IDENTIFY (I/O error, err_mask=0x104)
[  101.792] ata1.00: limiting speed to UDMA7:PI05
[  109.772] ata1: port is slow to respond, please be patient (Status 0x80) 
[  132.788] ata1: port failed to respond (30 secs, Status 0x80)
[  132.788] ata1: COMRESET failed (device not ready)
[  132.788] ata1: hardreset failed, retrying in 5 secs
[  138.268] ata1: SATA link up 1.5 Gbps (SStatus 113 SControl 300)
[repeats, though some is different]
[         ] ata1.00: qc timeout (cmd 0xec)
[         ] ata1.00: failed to IDENTIFY (I/O error, err_mask=0x104)
[         ] ata1: port is slow to respond, please be patient (Status 0x80)
[         ] ata1: port failed to respond (30 secs, Status 0x80)
[         ] ata1: COMRESET failed (device not ready)
[         ] ata1: hardreset failed, retrying in 5 secs
[         ] ata1: SATA link up 1.5 Gbps (SStatus 113 SControl 300)
(initramfs)
[Pressed Ctrl-Alt-Del]
[  782.   ] Restarting system.
-- Compatibility (Alt-Ctrl-F1: )

[ 6.4 ] squashfs: version 3.2-r2 (2007/01/15) Phillip Lougher [Heard a lot of CD-ROM access... The screen went blank for a second...] Done Begin: Running /scripts/init-bottom... ... [It eventually booted up into X Windows. But it gave a warning about Restricted Drivers: In order for this computer to function properly, Ubuntu may be using driver software that cannot be supported:

  • Atheros Hardware Access Layer (HAL)

It looks Atheros has to do with my wireless network card. So I guess there's not much I can do about this.]

Links / Glossary

AHCI - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Host_Controller_Interface

http://madwifi.org/wiki/HAL HAL - MadWifi - Trac

Problem 2: ext3 file system creation ... failed

The ext3 file system creation in partition #1 of SCSI1 (0,0,0) (sda) failed.

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/ubiquity/+bug/99908 Bug #99908 in ubiquity (Ubuntu): “The ext3 file system creation in partition #1 of SCSI1 (0,0,0) (sda) failed.”

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/ubiquity/+bug/107259 Bug #107259 in ubiquity (Ubuntu): “Xubuntu partitioning can fail because ubiquity does not prevent thunar from automounting new partitions”

Suggested that one try using Gparted instead...

So I deleted the primary partition (/dev/sda?) and the swap partition that was underneath the extended partition '/dev/sda2' (it wouldn't let me delete that one directly) (not sure if that was a good idea).

Then I tried to create a new primary partition (ext3, 53 GB) on /dev/sda.

This had an error, but I think it might have completed successfully anyway (??)...

The error was:


The kernel was unable to re-read the partition table on /dev/sda (Device or resource busy). This means Linux won't know anything about the modifications you made until you reboot. You should reboot your computer before doing anything with /dev/sda.

I imagine "installing an operating system on /dev/sda" would fall under the "doing anything with /dev/sda" category, so I guess I'll reboot.

Hmm... When the system came back up and I went to GParted, it said that /dev/sda1 had a ntfs filesystem (53 GB), which would seem to imply that it hadn't successfully created my new ext3 partition.

This time, I tried doing 'Format /dev/sda1 as ext3' instead of deleting and re-creating that partition...

Now I went to start the installer (without first rebooting). The partitioning step still wanted me to format the partition I just finished formatting. I'm not sure why, but I went ahead with it (the "guided" option -- telling it to use the entire disk), and it proceeded to format the disk. And, thankfully, this time there were no errors!

It copied the files over and told me to remove the CD and reboot.

Problem 3: Hangs after logging in

So now I booted up from the hard drive. It asked me to log in, so I did. It looked like it accepted my password, and the login "window" (if you'd call it that) went away, leaving just the gradient, tan-colored (?) background, and a mouse pointer that I could move around.

But it just stayed there. I saw no progress indicator, nothing. After about 10 minutes, I had to go so I turned the computer off.

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