punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Debian apt-get misery: Part 1

So, there's one of those "don't pull the thread" kind of stories.

  • I used to have Ubuntu, then they went all UNITY/GNOME3 on me. So when I got a new system, I installed flat Debian.
  • But I installed Debian Squeeze (Stable) for amd64. It lived up to its name, it was stable.
  • Except when I had to install Nvidia proprietary drivers. The Nvidia drivers were good. But apt-get hated them, because it messed up some xorg-alternative-something-something package, due to a bad link in the install script. Long story short, the packages are fine for 32-bit, but the 64-bit need some work. But this made installing packages difficult because they would ALWAYS get the error "can't find link to libgl-something.1," which was there, but a link to libgl-something.1.2 which wasn't there. So I'd link it to libgl.209.12 (something) which was Nvidia's video driver, but then it would error out, "this is a 64-bit executable" which, duh, it's a 64-bit OS. It was annoying, but I was able to install packages.
  • Except when it came to various packages, which errored out, because a few packages (like MAME) wanted the xorg-alternative-something-something to behave, and so I couldn't install them. So much for continuing my Pokemon Blue game.
  • So I needed to install a DVD burner for making movie CDs. My favorite is DeVeDe. It wouldn't install because I had a copy of ffmpeg libraries that were too old. I couldn't upgrade ffmpeg because... xorg-alternative-something-something was messed up.
  • So I tried to do a dist-upgrade, which did nothing but make the machine worse and worse. This failed on all kinds of levels. I tried various fixes and long story short, rendered Linux unbootable. I have dual-boot into Windows, and that works (so, you know, GRUB works). And my /home partition is a separate partition, which is also backed up daily, so I am not hosed when it comes to data, so I decided to do a fresh install of Debian 6.04, Wheezy, which is the "testing" version (as opposed to "stable"). I should have started with Wheezy anyway, as "stable" is always way out of date because it takes so long to test the stability of packages and their dependencies. The install download constantly timed out, which mirrored the issues I have had off and on for a while getting the Debian ftp mirrors for *anything* (even here at work). Their servers time out, the sources.list have IP errors (or at least DNS is not updating quickly), and it took 30 minutes just to get an 198mb netinstall CD.
  • The first CD didn't match the MD5 hashsum. So I had to download it again. Then it took two CDs to burn it via the Windows7 "burn an ISO" program, whatever the hell that does. At least it doesn't try to burn one ISO file on the CD like WindowsXP did, it actually burns a real image. The first image failed, and the CD was not recognized as boot media. The second image worked.
  • Then, of course, a few more hours to get the packages. Many timeouts. Then it said it could not find a kernel to install, but constantly asking for it to find one (I assumed due to the timeouts) eventually found one: version amd64-3.02. At around 11:30pm last night, I booted into Debian and it hung at some funky-assed error dealing with AHCI or something. Known bug, you need to change some things in your modules.conf. So I tried to boot into "recovery," and that failed at another error that didn't recognize something in my hard drive. So I thought I'd mount it off a rescue CD I had and... the BIOS didn't see that CD as bootable. I gave up, because now it was midnight, and I had work to go to in 6 hours.

My options seem to be among these:

  • Re-install Debian squeeze-stable. I'll be back to issues with my packages.
  • Try installing wheezy-testing again. Maybe the install got borked with all the timeouts.
  • Go back to Ubuntu, which seems to have a lot of this figured out. Then I'll have to deal with Unity/GNOME3 unless I install KDE or XFCE. XFCE seems so unpolished,
  • Download Kubuntu. KDE 4 isn't that horrible, and GNOME 2 is on its way out, anyway.
  • Download an RPM distro, like Fedora.
  • Just accept that I paid $129 for Windows 7, use that. No way.

Either way, I have to get my desktop up and working. I have to burn some DVDs before the weekend.
Tags: apt-get, computer, debian, disaster, linux, tech

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