Why I Love Linux

Thanks to my father I came into possession of a relatively new Abit NF-M2S motherboard with an AMD 4800+ X2 dual-core 64bit CPU on board. As this is decidedly faster than my MSI K7N2 w/AMD 2500+ single-core 32bit CPU I decided to drop my new motherboard into my machine. That machine has a 200Gb drive with ~175Gb carved out for WinXP SP3 and ~25Gb for KUbuntu 8.10. Once the boards were swapped and all the cables hooked back up I decided to boot the machine.

First up, WinXP. Surprisingly it actually booted with video. I got to the login screen and then, nothing. It didn’t recognize my mouse nor my keyboard. Both were plugged in as USB devices. I decided to swap my keyboard over to the PS/2 connector. No go. WinXP just sat there totally non-interactive. It wasn’t locked, it just wasn’t responding to my input.

So I decided to boot into KUbuntu. About 1 second into the boot process the machine shut down. Several more attempts with the same results. BIOS changes made, same results. Stepping down to older kernels, same results. Boot after boot the machine just shut off at the same point.

Now, I know this sounds like Linux is failing. Those who know me know this is a setup. The problem was me banging my head against the wall instead of taking 2-steps over and walking through the doorway. The 2 steps? Hit e on Grub to edit the boot lines and remove the “splash” and “quiet” options. Hit b for boot and watch the boot messages. Once KUbuntu started initializing the USB subsystem the machine reset. Start up, go into the BIOS, step USB from 2.0 & 1.1+ to just 1.1+ and KUbuntu booted just fine.

Keyboard found. Video found. Ethernet card found. Sound wasn’t found but I’m not sure I have it enabled. Might be fighting with my SB Live! XGamer if it is. I check my email, poke at Ubuntuforums then decide to try WinXP again now that I know the USB was a tad flaky.

WinXP booted up fine. Found the keyboard and mouse. Video is slow and ethernet non-functional. No sound, either. I was able to log in. I got several new hardware wizards. None of them were able to resolve since the third in line was the ethernet card and all of them, even the ethernet card, wanted to go out to the internet to obtain drivers. No problems, I have an Ext3 driver on WinXP, just reboot to KUbuntu, download the drivers, boot back into WinXP, pull them over and install.

The KUbuntu portion ran fine. However upon rebooting to WinXP it BSOD after I logged in. Even worse, I hit the reset button and my hard drive on longer is recognized by the motherboard! A quick power-cycle and the hard drive came back. Tried it once more, same results. After a second power-cycle to get the hard drive recognized again I decided to reboot into KUbuntu. If I succeeded I figured it would make a great “Why I Love Linux” blog post since it was Linux that enabled me to identify the problem and Linux that booted perfectly the first time. You know the outcome, you’re reading it. 😉


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