Linux Mint 17: install troubles

I have been reading a lot about Linux Mint in recent weeks, and today I decided to install it, in particular the Cinnamon variant.

Installation fireworks

LM = Linux Mint, got it!

I downloaded the ISO and dd'umped it into an USB stick; once booted this Live Linux Mint, you can click on the Install icon on desktop to start the famous Ubiquity installation wizard (of Ubuntu fame).

This wizard comes with the strong and weak spots of the Ubuntu one, except that it does not offer an option to download most recent packages directly (maybe for better stability).

First issue: you cannot install on devices under /dev/mapper, thus you cannot directly use anything like LUKS.

Second issue: it does not allow to select "no bootloader" (I want to customize my existing GRUB and not install a new one); if you try to trick the installer by selecting the USB stick used for the Live distro, then it will fail writing there and ask you if you prefer to continue without bootloader. Bingo you say? No, it will crash afterwards (or after installation is complete).
So I had to apply this patch to correctly continue installation (NOTE: this is a problem common to Ubuntu 14.04 and Linux Mint 17).

Afterwards installation proceeds smoothly and then finally the wizard says it completed and asks if you want to continue testing or reboot. Choosing to continue testing inevitably leads to a short hourglass waiting time and then the announcement that the installation wizard crashed (as happened before with the GRUB problem), thus I advise to not click anything and leave the dialog there; once completed using the Live distro, then press the restart button.

Boot attempt 1

So, right after installation I added a stanza to my already-existing GRUB to boot Linux Mint, and here the first problem comes:

Kernel panic in native_smp_send_reschedule (???)
I dare anybody to tell what this kernel panic is about. After a few attempts, I figured out that the root= kernel command line parameter was wrong, but one would expect a radically different message in such case (not a kernel panic in native_smp_send_reschedule).

Boot attempt 2

After having fixed this trivial problem, Linux Mint seems to boot...except that it doesn't.

The boot process gets stuck and I figured out thanks to this forum thread that it's because of some invalid fake start-stop-daemon and fake initctl.

This was a good time to meter the quality of the community, testing, bug tracking/fixing of the FOSS project, so I went to check the bug tracker:

The forum thread is dated Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:27 pm and the bug 2013-01-06. And today it's 6 September 2014.

Perhaps a regression and previous versions of Linux Mint worked perfectly?
Nonetheless this situation sucks.

Band-aid & first healthy boot

Ubiquity already mounts the new system in /target, so I proceeded to mount there the usual proc, sys and dev, then chroot in it to reinstall dpkg and upstart:
apt-get install --reinstall dpkg upstart

At this point I was able to successfully boot Linux Mint 17; a tad slower than I expected, thus I am going to remove some undesired packages. This will probably be hijacked by the many dependencies into Ubuntu or Mint meta packages...I am surrendering to this logic these days, and will try to remove what is sensibly slowing down the startup without sacrificing too much of these hyper-dependent packages.

Undesired extensions

I noticed also that the branding is a bit too much aggressive, perhaps a reaction to the fact the distro itself is a re-branding of Ubuntu?
Thus as advised in this post I advise to add this line (before exit 0) in your /etc/rc.local, so that at every boot the eventually reinstalled firefox crapxtension will be removed:
rm -rf /usr/lib/firefox/extensions/mint-search-enhancer@linuxmint.com/
I hope to not find other mind-boggling "features" like these, but so far so good: interface seems pretty sleek.

Update: Found something else you might want to remove:
aptitude remove mint-search-addon mintbackup mintnanny mintstick mintupload mintwifi
From package description of mint-search-addon:
Enhances the results given by Google
Yeah, sure, enhancements.

No pingbacks/comments

Looks like the official blog is not eager for community feedback & comments on their blog, as all posts are labelled with this:

Meh! Ok, so this will be a monologue :(


I know packing a distro and fixing bugs takes a lot of time and efforts, so the due closing credits line:
Thanks to the Linux Mint and Ubuntu folks for this distro!

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