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Old 12-29-2011, 10:48 AM   #1
bosth
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Solving boot to commandline problem


Hello,
I'm a Slackware user, but I installed Ubuntu on my father's netbook and he's been using it fairly happily for the last year or so.

He's currently on vacation and says he "gets an error message" when he tries to boot into Ubuntu. It turns out that the message is just the command prompt:
Code:
$USER@$COMPUTER $
There is nothing else on screen and let's assume he didn't or can't catch the messages during booting, and let's assume he "changed nothing" which caused it to break. And he's probably running whatever version of Ubuntu came out "about a year ago".

I figure I could probably muddle my way through and fix it ... if I had the computer in front of me.

I've asked if he's booting into a recovery mode (Ubuntu has that as a boot option, right?), but I doubt he's making that simple of a mistake.

Coming from a Slackware background and only slightly familiar with Ubuntu my first thought was to get him to try:
Code:
sudo init 4
and see what happens, but it'll get tedious quickly to get him to try things and then have him transcribe the error messages by hand into another computer just to email it back to me. I'm looking for any suggestions on how to proceed.

Thanks!
 
Old 12-29-2011, 11:01 AM   #2
eSelix
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"init 4" will not help, as Ubuntu will not use runlevels (but of course it can be configured). You should check /var/log/Xorg.0.log for errors after trying to start "service gdm start".

I suspect that you need to recompile video drivers. If you used proprietary then just download and run installer as root in the console. But it can be anything, you need to check log, also /var/log/syslog.

Last edited by eSelix; 12-29-2011 at 11:05 AM.
 
Old 12-29-2011, 11:16 AM   #3
bosth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eSelix View Post
"init 4" will not help, as Ubuntu will not use runlevels (but of course it can be configured). You should check /var/log/Xorg.0.log for errors after trying to start "service gdm start".

I suspect that you need to recompile video drivers. If you used proprietary then just download and run installer as root in the console. But it can be anything, you need to check log, also /var/log/syslog.
Right, so init won't get me anywhere on Ubuntu... If I had the computer myself, I'd be going through the logs, but I'm not going to get him to do that. I just want a few things for him to try, to see if we can get it going. I assume you'll need a sudo in front of any service commands, right?

Any other suggestions?

Thanks.
 
Old 12-29-2011, 11:21 AM   #4
273
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<aside>
One thing to try is to simply type:
sudo startx
It may work and, if not, could give some clues as to what is not working.
</aside>
 
Old 12-29-2011, 11:30 AM   #5
bosth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
<aside>
One thing to try is to simply type:
sudo startx
It may work and, if not, could give some clues as to what is not working.
</aside>
Wouldn't it just be
Code:
startx
since he doesn't want to have a root session?
 
Old 12-29-2011, 11:35 AM   #6
273
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Very probably. I don't think that's ever worked for me though -- I don't seem to have permission to do so.
Edit: When running Ubuntu and Debian whenever I've been dropped into the shell on startup the way I've started X is by sudoing it as it doesn't work without.
I know it's different but I tried to run:
startx -- :1 vt8
Just now and the result was:
X: user not authorized to run the X server, aborting.

Last edited by 273; 12-29-2011 at 11:39 AM.
 
Old 12-29-2011, 11:36 AM   #7
inspiron_Droid
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Code:
sudo tellinit:3:
or edit /etc/initab

Code:
defaultrunlevel
:3:
 
Old 12-29-2011, 12:58 PM   #8
widget
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With out more info it is hard to say what the problem is.

Ubuntu takes you to a # (root) prompt in recovery mode so that does seem to say he is not booting that way.

Code:
startx
is the way to go. If that does not work it will give some clues. Make sure he gets the messages from the screen if it fails.

Adding sudo to it would indeed, if it worked, put him in as root and this could only make things worse.
 
Old 12-29-2011, 01:37 PM   #9
bosth
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Ok thanks for the answers. I've just heard back and startx reports (in his words) something like:
Code:
You do not have access to program or feature X
I assume this is actually the message
Code:
X: user not authorized to run the X server, aborting.
reported by 273 above.

As I said, I'd be digging through the X.org logs, but I'd rather not have him do that... though maybe
Code:
grep EE /var/log/Xorg.0.log
would be produce reasonably short output. Before I do that though, any other suggestions?
 
Old 12-29-2011, 01:56 PM   #10
eSelix
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Better using context feature
Code:
grep -C 3 EE /var/log/Xorg.0.log
Even more better would be if he can take a photo of screen and paste it here, for example last lines:
Code:
cat /var/log/Xorg.0.log
 
Old 12-29-2011, 04:28 PM   #11
bosth
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Photos are a good idea... results pending.
 
Old 01-08-2012, 01:51 PM   #12
bosth
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Ok, finally heard back with the attached jpg, but as you can see the grep command was typed incorrectly so not much to go on. Could a full disk or /tmp partition be behind this I wonder?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMGP2699.JPG (128.9 KB, 7 views)

Last edited by bosth; 01-08-2012 at 01:58 PM.
 
Old 01-09-2012, 02:27 PM   #13
eSelix
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1. startx will not work without root privilages. Anyway, in Ubuntu to start X with normal login window, is command
Code:
sudo service gdm start
or in older versions
Code:
sudo /etc/init.d/gdm start
2. IO Error relates to X, so I don't think it has something common with disk, but this cannot be excluded, so check
Code:
df -h
3. Log is necessary, do it again
Code:
grep   -C   5   EE   /var/log/Xorg.0.log
 
Old 01-09-2012, 05:56 PM   #14
bosth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eSelix View Post
1. startx will not work without root privilages. Anyway, in Ubuntu to start X with normal login window, is command...
Interesting (from a Slackware perspective). I only use X by running startx as user.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eSelix View Post
2. IO Error relates to X, so I don't think it has something common with disk, but this cannot be excluded, so check
Code:
df -h
3. Log is necessary, do it again
Code:
grep   -C   5   EE   /var/log/Xorg.0.log
Yes I'm waiting for the results of the commands typed correctly. I thought of the disk space problem since I've seen X perform very strangely when it can't write to /tmp.

I think in the end, I will probably end up fixing this when he has returned and I have it my own hands!
 
Old 01-10-2012, 04:09 AM   #15
eSelix
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Quote:
I only use X by running startx as user.
Sorry, I just checked and I was in mistake. You can also run startx as usual user in Ubuntu.
 
  


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