“Read-only filesystem”

So, I’m writing this post in the hopes that someone with more knowledge will read it and hopefully be able to track down the issue.

It started last Friday (February 8th) on my husbands Gateway laptop while he was at work. When he got home on Monday morning, he informed me of it – ‘I think I broke my computer…’ After looking at it for a little while, I realized that his file system had been marked ‘read-only’. A bit of googling informed me that this was usually a mark of a dying hard drive. After backing it up, I decided to try formatting and re-installing to see if that would, by chance, fix the problem. And it did! At least, initially. However, as soon as I updated all the packages and installed a couple of programs (Samba, Chromium), it reoccurred. Which made me suspect, initially that his hard drive as in deed dying or dead.

At approximately this point however, the exact same thing started happening on my laptop (a Lenovo IdeaPad). As a result I posted on ubuntuforums.com (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?s=19c5720cfb4ab8a14e1f6d7b264e6118&t=2115225) and was directed to a bug report (https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/1063354), which matches it. It appears to be a problem related to the kernel, though why it has taken several months to rear its ugly head I couldn’t say. In any case, I did a bit more googling and found a couple of ideas on how to fix it, at least temporarily. By booting into a live image of Ubuntu 12.10 I was able to run sudo dpkg-reconfigure -a – which fixed it on my laptop, mostly. It still goes into read-only mode, semingly at random, but a reboot immediately afterwards has, (thus far) fixed it.

The same can not be said for my husbands’ Gateway. After a third re-install of Ubuntu 12.10 (and giving him instructions to upgrade everything *except* the kernel), it worked fine for approximately 2 days, but has now reverted to read-only filesystem status, when booted. However, when I boot into a live image, the files do not appear to be read-only, and sudo dpkg-reconfigure -a has not worked the same way it did on mine :(. I think I’m going to try a fourth re-install (using 12.04), and hope that it remains functioning…

Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated!!


Google Summer of Code!

Wow, I can’t quite believe it, but I’ve been accepted to Google Summer of Code 2012. Its kinda crazy – another one of those things, I can definitely say if you’d told me would happen, oh, even 6 months ago, I’d have laughed at you. But strangely it has – and I’m psyched. Right now, I’m focused on finishing this semester, which mostly involves preparing for finals next week. Then I’ll be able to focus on GNOME Clock & GSOC completely.

I am trying to decide what to upgrade my kids’ computer to – its an old desktop, currently running Xubuntu 11.10 (I think, it may be 11.04). I spent some time last night reading about the various distro’s focused on kids, namely Debian Junior, Edubuntu, Debian Edu and Skolelinux. Debian Junior sounds the most interesting, and I may very well give it a try. Anyone have suggestions/thoughts/experience with one of these distros?

Installing Linux Mint Debian – with an end goal of Debian & GNOME 3?

Has anyone done this? I tried installing straight Debian a few months ago and ran into wi-fi driver issues along with not being able to figure out which CD/DVD’s I needed to install w/o having to download massive quantities *during* installation. I realize this isn’t a problem for most people anymore, but I average 10-20k down, 40-60k on a really, really good day. As a result, I ended up back with Ubuntu 11.10 & now 12.04 w/ GNOME 3, since it works without massive install headaches & hours and hours and hours downloading just to get it to work.

Anyhow, Ubuntu 12.04 is about to come out and I know I’m going to end up upgrading to something in the next couple months and I think its time I gave Linux Mint a shot – I’d like to see what the fuss is all about, and I’d like to get on a more straight Debian, rolling release schedule for myself at least (though I’m really not sure what I’ll do for all my family/friends that I have setup on Linux these days).


Any suggestions? 

Ubuntu & GNOME 3 for non-geeks!

So I have now installed Ubuntu Linux w/ Gnome-shell (GNOME 3) on 2 new laptops this week (one for myself & one for my husband, Kevin) and am now in the process of trasferring files from another laptop, before formatting & installing ubuntu on it (this one owned by one of my best friends J who is tired of Windows and all its problems with viruses, spyware, adware, etc).  Its actually something I’ve always wanted to do, but never actually had the chance to (ie, nobody’s been brave enough to let me :p).

Assuming they don’t have many/any complaints, I think I’m going to start pushing a bit harder for peoples’ old hardware to build systems to give away with linux (likely Ubuntu running either GNOME 3 or XFCE depending) on them – either for free to those who simply *need* computers, or for super cheap – $10-100. Has anyone else ever done this? Any ideas for printouts/handouts/etc? I’ve been trying to wrack my brain for what ‘basic’ stuff is not included on Ubuntu but which people will likely want; my list so far: Skype, Calibre, Evolution, Chrome. Any other suggestions?

I’m also now planning on moving my old desktop (currently running Xubuntu 11.04) into my boys’ room (I have two boys, oldest will be 5 in March, youngest is 2.5), and letting them play with it (it will be heavily locked down, and not connected to the web). Kevin thinks it’ll be destroyed, and it very well may, but they have to learn on something, you know? And I’d much rather that be an old desktop than a laptop, as I suspect the desktop is much more likely to stand up to abuse 🙂 This means I will shortly be going back through linux games and finding good, fun, *easy* ones for them to play – once again, any suggestions?? (Not really looking for educational ones either – just good, fun, and above all easy games! 4 yr olds are easily frustrated :p)


Well… I had the bug the other day to play with Linux again – something I haven’t really had the chance to do in going on two years now… So I went ahead and started the 3-day long process (yes, you read that right – 3 DAY process, I’m on dial-up. Still.) of downloading the newest version of Ubuntu (6.10) – After all, 3 days of no phone calls is better than waiting 4-6 weeks, right??

Anyhow. I finally got it downloaded, at which point, it occurred to me that I inexplicably did not have any blank CDs – so I ran to town, and bought 20. Got home, burnt it, got it installed. OK, all good so far…. only I couldn’t figure out how to get wvdial to configure for the life of me, so I figured I’d just reboot to windows… and realized that my boot loader had gotten changed, and I was thus locked out. So I started trying to figure Grub out, gave up after a bit an figured I’d just throw College Linux back on, and all would be good, right? Wrong. Long story short, after (trying to) install various old Linux flavors I realized I’d somehow accidentally formatted my Windows partition… So I re-installed Ubuntu. And after a bit more effort… figured out wvdial. And am currently loving Ubuntu.

Now, when I say that, I really mean it. For the first time, I’ve successfully gotten my modem working, my sound card working… hell, even my iPod’s up and running (I’m listening to it right now!!). In short, I really don’t think I’ll bother to re-install windows… I can’t think what I need it for. Now, its always possible that at some point in the future I’ll want/need it… but, for now, meh.

I think it all boils down to the fact that I’ve been living off of other people’s computers for the past 1+ years. As a result, most everything I actually use on a day-to-day basis is online to one degree or another – pictures (smugmug), email (gmail), documents (google docs), and of course all my mp3’s are on my iPod, so not even they have been lost this time around (and even if they hadn’t been, my wonderful brother burned them all to CD when I formatted THAT in Spain!!)

Anyhow, its just a really strange feeling to be totally free of Windows for the first time, well, ever. And not the least bit worried/unhappy about it. As I think about it… my computer probably needed a good format anyhow – its been a good 4+ years after all.