June 18, 2014

My Recent Linux Journey

A journey from Windows through doubt, frustration and despair to relief and a finally joy. This journey started on 31 May 2014 the day after the release of Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” Cinnamon and finished on the 17 June 2014. I worked on this continually for 8 or more hours a day over this time can’t work at the moment so I had time on my side.

I was excited at the prospect of the new Mint 17 “Qiana” Cinnamon release I had been waiting for a while I was running Petra with Cinnamon for some time with limited success just minor crashes delays and freezes was busy then so I didn't have the time to spend on it. I have been interested in Linux for some time and on another older PC some years ago ran with Mandrake and also SUSE.

My System

Mainboard Asus P6X58D Premium with 64 bit architecture

BIOS Version/Date American Megatrends Inc. 1501, 10/05/2011

Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU 950 @ 3.07GHz, 3068 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 8 Logical Processor(s)

Socket LGA 1366 with water cooling

Memory 32 G DDR 3 1600MHz Comprising 4x Corsair Vengeance Ver 2.12 1.50 v sticks

Power supply Sea sonic X series Model SS 750 KM Active PFC F3

Display NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1 GB DDR5

On windows 8 this card has diver issues with propriety drivers after the 314.22 desktop driver

Hard Drives Model Seagate ST31000528AS 1TB

Mounted as sda ( Partioned for different storage options movie's Digital Photos etc) this is connected to a 3gb data port on the main drive

Model Western Digital WDC WD1002FAEX-00Y9A0 1TB

Mounted as sdb (this drive held my windows 8 operating system and was partioned to run linux behind it with Root Swap and home partions) the other factor with this drive was it is connected to a 6g Sata port on the mainboard

Model Western Digital WDC WD1002FAEX-00Y9A0 1TB

Mounted as sda ( Partioned for different storage options movie's Digital Photos etc) the other factor with this drive was it is connected to a 6g Sata port on the mainboard

All of this is wrapped up in a nice Lain li allow modular type case. I use Logitech peripherals such as

Wireless (Mouse keyboard headset) and speakers

So with a fresh download of Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon burnt to a live dvd via power iso 5.7

my journey commenced, I partitioned sdb behind the windows partition ( where mint 16 had been ) expecting to be done in no time and happy and excited to explore

the latest version, well how wrong could I be. Things did not go at all well the install was fine but as I started into the system to personalise there were continual freezes lock ups and restarts (hard reboots) I read all I could an could not find any of the same issues except for my NVIDIA driver so I tried using generic one then slowly moved up but the same things continued to happen I could not get 10 minutes use out of the system.

So I re-downloaded the ISO file and re burnt it figuring something had gone wrong in that process but again the same issues raised their heads. I was not feeling at all happy at this point. Liking mint so much I decided to try the mate version after a few more hours of reading. This time I set the partitions up on sdc and download another ISO different desktop so things just might go better for me and they did for a while but then again once I had customised to the way I wanted given just a few crashes and hard restarts along the way mint mate to became unusable.

Not being one to give up and liking the Ubuntu / Mint way of installing packages I then tried several other distros to see if I could get a working Linux system, however to my dismay that was not to be. After using every version of Ubuntu L K I then tried Open suse for sure this would work another download. The system installed but would not boot past x so it just had to be my Graphics card.

I had another one here an older ATI card so I changed that and tried Pclinuxos this came close to working but still the same issue I put my NVIDIA card back in and tried a few more distros like Bodhi no joy there the live dvd would not even work. Onto Magei 4 and through Makulu Mate but no joy by this time it was its easier to forget linux than it is to proceed. I tried one more distro Lxle I set this one up on sda the Seagate drive it configured my NVIDIA card along the way and the distro seemed to work with my system or at least it did for a while, along the way through all this I had to reconfigure my windows boot loader to get the windows system to boot so it was a learning experience. However once again the system was not good.

I remembered that my system was over-clocked so I changed the memory settings and it seemed to work a little better but not much very long lag times and still system freezes. By this Time I am really thinking it will never happen I had used acronis for years to back up windows 8 and it had served me well so I was not really afraid to do anything as as I always had a fail-safe (well I thought so). After hitting the “return the system to default” in the bios I found out my fail-safe no longer worked and I had just crashed my whole system. Despair had set in.

So a day to rebuild my windows system then not to be beaten I tried Lxle again mainly because of the way it installed I had also installed it on my latop and it was the only Distro to pick up the wifi and use it during the installation. So back to it and to my ultimate surprise it installed well and ran even better. Wow this seems great then I went to open some files stored on other drives and to my surprise I could not see either of the two western digital drives sdb sdc on the system. Thinking of what had gone right with the install and why I couldn't see the other drives I read my motherboard manual and figured out I had those two hard drives connected to the 6gb sata connectors was this why I could not see them. A few checks of the bios and a quick change to have the drives recognised as AHCI as opposed to IDE and my whole system opened up.

I have now reinstalled Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon on my Seagate drive sda and the system runs perfectly. So now joy in fact I have written this on LibreOffice Writer. After spend so much time thinking my NVIDIA card was the issue I have solved to problem and I am not sure what exactly it was. I just wanted to share my experience as sometimes it can get frustrating but if you work through the issues you will find as I have a Linux system that works on pair if not better than windows and is far more enjoyable. My laptop remains with Lxle.