Problems upgrading to Ubuntu 12.10

Innocently I decided to just upgrade my desktop Ubuntu PC to 12.10 (from 12.04). I say innocently, because nowadays I just expect Ubuntu to work – better so than Windows which often causes weird problems.

I was a bit disappointed though. I upgraded using the GUI tools, just pretending I knew nothing and cared nothing about the process and just wanted it complete.

When the computer restarted I was met by

error: file not found.
grub resque>

Haha! Not. I mean, what would normal people do now? Consider files lost and go shop a new computer? This disappoints me, because my computer has updated kernel/reinstalled GRUB several times since I installed 12.04. And I dont edit grub config files just to mess with Ubuntu (I only do that when it refuses to boot).

I am not going to tell you about all my failed attempts to fix the problem, but I will tell you what worked. I have two hard drives in my computer, like this:

sda1: boot
sda2: home
sdb1: root
sdb2: (big backup data partition)

Naturally, BIOS boots sda (where boot is). Now, after Ubuntu upgraded, it obviously put GRUB on sdb, and telling BIOS to boot sdb instead of sda fixed the problem. My /boot on sda is still in use. What assumption is it, to assume that GRUB should be installed on the drive where / is, regardless where /boot is, and regardless where GRUB used to be installed? I am not going to investigate this further now, my computer boots and I have more problems to solve 😉

Next problem… Ubuntu starts and the display just turns black… CTRL-ALT-F1 works and gives me a console. Obviously something fishy with the X-server. Well, my computer has an onboard Nvidia 8200 and in the past I have been struggling a little with it. However, with 12.04 it worked out of the box. I tried

$ sudo apt-get install nvidia-experimental-310

No success. Turns out, however that:

$ sudo apt-get purge nvidia-current

(and/or whatever nvidia drivers you have installed) makes Ubuntu fall back to the Nouveau drivers, and those seem to work very fine. I dont expect (or need) much 3D acceleration, but 2D performance seems good so far.

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