In our last episode, I was jammed up because I couldn’t get Ubuntu 5.1

Live to load on my Compaq M300, and I suspected that a faulty battery

was holding up the boot process. A little help from my abhoring…er, adoring public has led me to believe otherwise.

Sometimes, I just try too hard.

I was passing the boot parameter vga=771

to get me around some assumed display issues during the boot–in the

early portions of the boot, the screen totally wigs into a vaguely

whitish crosshatch mess, and the initial help file suggested the vga

paramater for pretty much all laptops. Well, the help file helped too

much, because using this parameter hamstrung the display drivers.

The problem was that not using this display driver also hamstrung the

boot, because the display screwed up and I couldn’t confirm some

optional keyboard configurations. The machine just sat there waiting

for input, and I was clueless because I couldn’t read the screen.

The trick was passing the vga=771 parameter, which let the

text-based early boot process display correctly, writing down my

keystrokes (ENTER, three times), then bailing out of the boot process,

restarting the machine without the vga parameter, and

entering the keytsrokes whenever the CD-ROM idled (hinting that boot

had paused waiting for input). This got me through the boot and into a

functionuing GUI.

Ironically, I got the notion from

verdy_p, who suggested that I use the vga parameter (I already was) because “the too limited set of display drivers and display

modes in the Ubuntu Live CD…VERY OFTEN does not work properly

with many notebook displays (because it incorrectly detects the

resolution of your display, assuming you have a 4:3 display like on

desktop PCs when most notebooks today seem to use wide displays).”

My notebook doesn’t have a wide display, which made me think that passing a parameter meant to solve a problem I don’t have might be causing a new problem. I was doubly suspicious of this when the esteemed jmgarvin

gave me a list of key-combos that would let me shunt from terminal to

GUI modes: “ (F1-F6 are terminals, F7

is the


I could jump to terminal with no problem, but I couldn’t get the GUI to


happily. This meant that the battery wasn’t the problem, but the

display drivers probably were.

(Anyway, idiocy is what powers the blogosphere, right?) And to think, I was ->this<- close to dumping Ubuntu for Knoppix or even SuSE. I should have known, if Ubuntu is good enough for Google, it’s good enough for this n00b. (Of course, I don’t really believe Google is working on an OS, but this makes me look better for my choice of distros. Sorry Jaqui.)

You an all start mocking me now (assuming, that is, you ever stopped–I’m looking in your direction, flyingpenguin). In the meantime, I’m going to play with 2.0 Writer.

Keep up with the Trivia Geek’s ongoing Wacky Linux Adventures with the wackylinux tag. If it doesn’t say wackylinux, it’s not really a wacky Linux adventure.