Friday, December 19, 2008

I Got Bitten By An Intrepid Ibex

Oh what a disaster! On Monday evening I clicked on the update manager on my Ubuntu box - also known as, and it told me there was a new distribution release. I was previously running Hardy Heron and Intrepid Ibex was now available. The Ubuntu update process has always worked beautifully for me, so I did it without hesitation.

Of course if something didn't go wrong I wouldn't be telling this story. After all the updates were installed and the machine rebooted, nothing happened. It got as far as starting the GUI and just hung with a wait cursor. So I restarted in safe mode and grabbed the kid's laptop so I could Google a solution. I eventually figured out that it was GDM - Gnome Display Manager, which is responsible for starting X and managing user logins, which was hanging. So I tried upgrading that, removing it, whatever, only to realise that my wireless networking hadn't started either.

By this time I'm onto the second day of debugging. It took me a long time to figure out that the interfaces wifi0 and ath0 are the same thing, but I have to work with ath0. There are very good instructions on the Aetheros site about how to get ath0 going, so I followed them exactly. It all worked up to the point where I use DHCP to get an IP address. It couldn't get one. The router sees my machine connect, but won't give it an address. I figured out I can install a debugging tool for the Aetheros driver, but I'd need networking to do that.

This morning I tried turning off security on the wireless router so I could connect even if I had the security stuff wrong. The router instantly became inaccessible to everything. Well, I guess it's secure. I had to take the laptop to the router, connect with a cable and turn the security back on. Then I gave up on the wireless networking problem and set up the card table next to the router so I could connect my machine using the cable. That at least allowed me to install all of the debugging software, but I haven't had time to use it yet.

The beautiful part of Linux is that everything else still works. I started the web server and the stats generator, so extended stats is working again, for the moment. This evening I'll have another bash at getting wireless working again because I don't really like having my computer on the card table. I'd just like this problem to go away, it's not very interesting. Damned ibexes.


gerrod said...

I thought that wifi and networking were two of the big things they updated in ibex?

Friendless said...

Well that would certainly explain why it broke :-). It might have been that WiFi would have worked it the GUI had started properly, but I've reverted to Heron now (very painful process) and I'm running again.