Richard Jones' Log: Yay for RAID, boo for grub (well, Ubuntu's grub)

Wed, 31 Oct 2007

One of the disks in my home Linux machine died a couple of days ago. Boo. After the last time I had this happen, I set up a RAID-1 volume for our data. Yay! No data loss, and got the RAID up and running with the new disk in very short order. Even after installing the latest Kubuntu release at the same time.

Well, except for the frustrating 2 hours lost to grub. I ran into a problem I've previously run into (but clearly blocked from memory): under Ubuntu, grub doesn't order the disks the same as the BIOS, and thus the system can become unbootable in a most confusing way ("Grub stage 1.5 ... Error 15" and I'm on my own).

The solution for me was simple: make sure the disk you're going to boot grub off is the first in the list according to the BIOS, regardless of what grub or Ubuntu say. While Ubuntu was calling it "hd0", the BIOS knew it as "the second disk". When I re-plugged things so the BIOS saw the disk "the first disk", Ubuntu called it "hd2". Woot.

It's working now. Just. Unfortunately last night I had a transient boot problem (aka the system didn't boot but I reset and then it did) reminiscent of a previous problem ... I'm not ready to replace the damn motherboard yet, but if another connector dies I'll be down to two and I'll have to :(

I've also just installed the same Kubuntu release on my work Dell laptop - and everying works, even suspending etc. The screen setup stuff is a little annoying to deal with after using an OS X laptop at the last job (where the OS is capable of detecting screen plugs & unplugs, unlike X11).

Comment by Matthew Marshall on Thu, 01 Nov 2007

Display configuration is improving. A few weeks ago I deleted my xorg.conf, but started X before replacing my backup. To my surprise it worked just fine, and I've been running without a configuration file ever since.

Supposedly X.Org 7.3 supports hotplugging displays.

I remember fighting to get my scroll wheel to work.


Comment by jegHegy on Thu, 21 Aug 2008

Thank you so much for this post. We wasted a couple of hours because of this confusion between the BIOS and Ubuntu on 8.04.1. You're are hero!