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Ubuntu --> Windows has little to worry about?

Last login was awhile back, about abandoning the MS ship on a new computer. I finally went with another XP Pro installation + Ubuntu 9.10 on a dual boot after MS Genuine Advantage marked the OS as possibly pirated. It wasn't. I sent them all necessary documents along with the installation disk purchased on E-bay, all clean, all legit. They want to offer me a replacement with Windows 7 for some more $$. No. This is the end of it with MS if they manage to shut off the legit XP Pro install. One thing I can say for XP Pro is that it is stable. A process might crash now and then, but it can be shut down manually w/o affecting anything else. XP OS has never crashed, not once.

So now I'm looking for a version of Linux that's as user-friendly to install and use as Ubuntu. Ubuntu does a great job, except when it stops. It just freezes. REISUB sequence won't usually work. The machine just freezes, on average about once every 2-3 hours. (This msg is being written from XP so as to be sure the OS endures to get it out.)

Rather than having to experiment with a dozen or more other Linux flavors to replace Ubuntu, I decided to ask around for recommendations.

Any suggestions?

Comments

  • Goineasy9Goineasy9 Posts: 1,116
    For folks looking for stable easy to run Linux distros, I ususally point them to Mepis, Mandriva & PCLinuxOS. You should download their Live CD's from Distrowatch and give them a spin. These are KDE based distros, if your happy with Gnome (as I am), there's always Debian, or the distro I use Fedora.

    Now, if you are happy with Ubuntu, instead of giving up and switching distro's, why not try to find out why it sometimes dies on you? Ubuntu is a decent distro, it might be easier to fix than to switch.
  • terryhterryh Posts: 10
    Goineasy9 wrote:
    For folks looking for stable easy to run Linux distros, I ususally point them to Mepis, Mandriva & PCLinuxOS. You should download their Live CD's from Distrowatch and give them a spin. These are KDE based distros, if your happy with Gnome (as I am), there's always Debian, or the distro I use Fedora.

    Now, if you are happy with Ubuntu, instead of giving up and switching distro's, why not try to find out why it sometimes dies on you? Ubuntu is a decent distro, it might be easier to fix than to switch.

    Many thanks. I'll give those suggestions a try. I'm just trying to narrow down the field.

    My first response to Ubuntu crashes was to try and fix it. Searches indicate that Ubuntu has a history of being unstable. I figured rather than do more research for one more case study, just accept the experiences others have had and reported in various fora. Also, when I install an OS that the producer certifies as stable, I take it to mean not unstable. Thread crashes are okay and can be sorted out. Entire OS crashes aren't okay, because the system crashes in the midst of trying to fix it (or anything else.) Plus there's all the time involved in sorting out problems. In short, the time and effort involved in trying to fix a buggy OS is prohibitive. The solution, IMO, is a stable OS to start with. Ubuntu doesn't have a good record in that regard. But, again, it does what it does very well -- when it's doing it and not crashing.
  • Goineasy9Goineasy9 Posts: 1,116
    I can't argue with you about the latest Ubuntu release. I have also read about the many problems folks have had with it. The previous release, though, had very few problems. I guess when you need to include things like Grub2, when it's still a work in progress, or other new apps/versions/technologies just to say your on the cutting edge, some instability will accompany it. One of the reasons I'm using Fedora now is because, even though it's a testing distro for Red Hat and usually contains bleeding edge technology, the devs seem to hold back using the unstable, and schedule it for a later release. Not that Fedora doesn't have it's quirks, but it doesn't advertise itself as a newbie friendly distro. I remember all those distros that needed to be on the KDE4 train well before KDE4 was even close to stable, I'm a Gnome user now because of that, after exclusively using KDE since I started using Linux. The fact that a distro like Mepis has stayed with KDE 3.5 and will only now move to KDE4 shows how IMHO a stable newbie friendly distro should function.
    Ok, enough of my editorializing. Good luck. Let us know how you make out.
  • mfillpotmfillpot Posts: 2,180
    Ubuntu is less stable than some other distros out there and is around as stable as windows. But as GionEasy9 stated the 9.04 release was far more dependable. However complete system crashes are rare because of the tiered architecture on Linux based systems. More than looking for a replacement OS in this case I would highly recommend trying to find and fix you issue, if it is the result of a kernel panic or a disk write issue then the problem may be hardware based rather than software in which you can call it a good warning.

    However if you liked the feel of Ubuntu and still wish to find something more stable then you should checkout Debian which is the core of Ubuntu; the Debian project is more for stability than aesthetics, so the packages may be older but they will be more stable.
  • Mepis is based on Debian stable, so it's rock-stable. The latest Beta supports the latest KDE, too.

    I recently discovered Xubuntu 9.10, which ships without alot of the troublesome stuff that Ubuntu does (no PulseAudio, no Mono, etc) and seems quite stable. Xfce plays nice with Gnome, too.

    I avoided Xubuntu until now, because I have read tons of complaints about Xubuntu's "bloat" and such descriptions as "not lightweight after all." But after running into "the 'buntu barrier" with LXDE, I decided to experiment with Karmix Xubuntu.

    Xubuntu has been seriously dieting, apparently. It's faster on an older Dell desktop than even the minimalist Crunchbang (Openbox) was! There is much less of the "bloat" that I had read about, and - on my hardware at least - has none of the bugginess of its Gnome and KDE siblings. It has been a very stable, very pleasant surprise. Definitely worth a shot.

    -Robin
  • terryhterryh Posts: 10
    Thanks for all the tips. I'm going FIFO on the recommendations, so I'm trying Mepis (8.0.06) first. I just finished burning the ISO image to CD and will be trying it out over the weekend. I'll try and keep results posted.
  • woboylewoboyle Posts: 501
    I have used Ubuntu on many systems, and have never had a problem with system freezes or other sorts of failures. This is most likely due to a hardware or bios problem. What hardware are you using? Please be specific. Also, have you updated the BIOS since you got the system? When I got my Intel workstation motherboard 2 years ago, I had to update the BIOS in order to run Linux reliably. It has been rock-solid since them. Remember, when you get XP for a specific system (the installation that came with the hardware), the manufacturer has already worked thru all the system instabilities, which is why the system-specific version won't work too well on other hardware. They have modified the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) to compensate for their specific system peculiarities. Linux cannot do this, unless the system manufacturer provides a supported version of Linux to run on it, such as Dell and Asus.
  • Personally, my preference leans toward Linux Mint 7 or 8 at this point. It is Ubuntu-based and very stable.
    I have Fedora 12 - don't like it (too much time trying to figure out the security system). I have some recent version of MEPIS - don't care much for it either, although it has some nice artwork included.
    Windows is so D***ed unconfigurable it isn't even funny any more, and every new version is more glutonous than the previous.
    BLEAH!
    The machine from which I am currently writing this is an AMD 900. It plays full speed HD videos just fine in Linux which is more than I can say for the XP Home installation on it.
    Furthermore, if I install some 6 year old card under Linux or some 6 year old version of Linux with some new hardware, I'll bet it can find drivers. And all it cost me was the time to find, download, and burn a CD. Plus, I'm learning some new programming stuff again. Factor in the sheer number of people supporting the Linux community, and I'll stay with 'X'.
    If you want to stay with Microsoft, keep your wallet handy...

    ~/Lee
  • I disagree.....

    1. Ubuntu-- I have it installed on my Dell 1501 AMD Duel-Core 1900, it runs great, and it is reliable. I have used it for about 6 months, no crashes. Now I have tinkered with it and broke it...and did reinstall it, but i was by my doing...if I would leave well enough alone, it would be fine.

    2. Centos- I have used this on the same laptop for over 2 years, it ran great, no issues...but I am much better with yum, then apt-get, so I can manage it.

    3. My wife, my in-laws all have Linux based systems on their computers I built, and if my In-laws can handle linux, anybody can.

    BTW, in over 3 years in moving away from Windows, I have not had any issues with identity theft, hacking, etc....my home is completely windows free...now my children use a mac, I have a Mac at home for them and simplicity of learning one system that is used in thier school district. This being said, when the Mac dies, it will be Linux from here on out.

    I think Linux has a bright future, however there is a couple of issues that have not been solved.

    1. major software companies working with Linux to make it compatible.
    2. To many varieties, thus alot of energy disbursed over mutiple distros, rather than a few...I like Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, Centos, I tried Open Susie, I liked it but it didn't play well with my video card in the laptop, and I have not learned the command line terminology for Terminal in Susie to feel confident I could resolve the issue.

    This is a rambling message, but the message is clear, Linux needs to focus on the end user, and desktop experiance. It needs to get professors to teach classes at local colleges, Community - Ed programs. It needs to mainstream and show off the benefits, which is a safe, reliable, and secure computing experiance, that is for the most part free.
  • terryhterryh Posts: 10
    woboyle wrote:
    I have used Ubuntu on many systems, and have never had a problem with system freezes or other sorts of failures. This is most likely due to a hardware or bios problem. What hardware are you using? Please be specific. Also, have you updated the BIOS since you got the system? When I got my Intel workstation motherboard 2 years ago, I had to update the BIOS in order to run Linux reliably. It has been rock-solid since them. Remember, when you get XP for a specific system (the installation that came with the hardware), the manufacturer has already worked thru all the system instabilities, which is why the system-specific version won't work too well on other hardware. They have modified the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) to compensate for their specific system peculiarities. Linux cannot do this, unless the system manufacturer provides a supported version of Linux to run on it, such as Dell and Asus.

    Hardware:
    Pentium D 925 3 GHz, L2-2x2 MB, "Presler" / MB GA-8TRC410MNF-RH (RIO), Socket LGA 775 / ATX / 1 GB DIMM DDR2 PC2-4200 / 160 GB SATA-II / SVGA Int. Radeon Xpress 200M / DVD - RW / SB ALC 880 6 ch.

    "Realtek RTL8139 Family Fast PCI" eth. card

    Award Workstation BIOS 6.0


    I suspect BIOS, but have no idea how to update it in current locale (E. Europe)
  • terryhterryh Posts: 10
    One more note: hardware and XP OS were purchased separately. There was no OS installed on the computer when purchased, only the BIOS.
  • terryhterryh Posts: 10
    update

    - installed Mepis, same problem.

    - installed Ubuntu 9.10 again, this time without the software updates. (All recommended updates were done in the first install.) No difference.

    - Downloaded Fedora-12-i686-Live via Firefox but it failed checksum. Downloaded it again via bittorrent, same thing. I assume line 3 at https://fedoraproject.org/static/checksums/Fedora-12-i686-Live-CHECKSUM is the correct checksum. Scrapped both downloads.

    I did notice that the firewalls (Firestarter with Ubuntu and Guard Dog with Mepis) got a steady barrage of Microsoft-ds hits mostly on port 445, and a few Samba hits. With and without web browsing. And, watching msnbc streaming video was a sure way to freeze the system. (But freezes occured otherwise, sometimes in desktop work.)
  • terryhterryh Posts: 10
    Well, it appears my puzzle has the Linux community here stumped.

    But, thanks God for my inbox messages, two so far. Same message, different names.
    Hello Dear. My name is Glory Amudu i saw your profile today at (www.linux.com )and became intrested in you,i will also like to know you the more,and i want you to send an email to my email address so i can give you my picture for you to know whom i am. Here is my email address ( {removed my moderator}) I believe we can move from here! I am waiting for your mail to my email address above. Globaby. (Remeber the distance or colour does not matter but love matters alot in life ( {removed by moderator}) thanks and be blessed.with hug and kissing from me.

    I'm particularly impressed with the attraction to my profile information with so little about me being there. I don't suppose they're phishing for IP addy, email mischief, etc. So I'll make a deal with these fine lasses. If either of you can solve the puzzle that no one else here can solve, I'll get back to you.B)

    PS
    Glory my dearest, your IP tells me you're at Uni. of Oregon-Eugene campus. It also tells me your street, and house number (1225). So I'm telling you this as a public service: be more careful about what you do online. Please.
  • mfillpotmfillpot Posts: 2,180
    It is sad that people are still trying to use the site based systems for spam, it's been several months since I got anything like that. I have edited your post to remove the e-mail addresses since sending stuff to them will probably results in infected messages being returned.

    Back to the topic, there have been so many posts here that I forgot what your current issues are, can you please restate them for me to review the information again?
  • terryhterryh Posts: 10
    Brief background update:

    Microsoft's wga.exe informed me 4 months or so ago that my legal copy of XP Pro is not a legal copy of XP Pro, after I'd logged it in with them and used it for a year. I complied with their requests to prove that it is legal. No word back from MS since then, so I sent an email inquiry about the status of the claim last week. Now (as of two days ago), they want information they sent me after I mailed the evidence precisely according to their instructions -- including the installation disk. Problem with that is they didn't send any information, which is why I sent an email inquiry about the status of the claim last week. My reply was along the lines of "WTF !?" They had the 'nads to send me a customer satisfaction survey yesterday, along with another request from the customer rep for information that was actually IN THE EMAIL body of the discussion to date. She couldn't find it. Jesus Christ.

    In the meantime, to try to ensure my box has a functional OS, I tried several Linux distros. (I told MS that I'd been left with no other option but to undertake testing of Linux OS. I'm not sure about this, but I seemed to sense some heads exploding.)

    Ubuntu latest: freezes.

    Ubuntu latest without the recommended updates (to sort out those variables): freezes.

    Mepia: freezes. Plus, the opening screen had a skull and crossbones in a yellow triangle as the default background. That wasn't comforting.

    Fedora: downloaded from their site directly. It failed checksums. Downloaded from bittorrent link listed on their site. Same checksum, which didn't match the checksum that came with the bt download. I noted peers during the bt download, some from Russia. Which means Russia is in the game, which means RBN may be in the game, and they are the worst of the worst for Internet chicanery. (worse than China, so far.) Scrapped both Fedora downloads.

    Right now, I'm dealing with an OS that at least doesn't freeze up but is limited by MSers who at best don't inspire a sense of trust or security. Firewall is on red alert, wga.exe is blocked, and virus DB is updated 3X per day. No flavor of Linux has worked due to system freeze for no discernible reason. That's what I'm trying to sort out now. That's the puzzle. System specs were posted-up thread.
  • mfillpotmfillpot Posts: 2,180
    Thanks for the prompt reply, and your PS about the IP of the spammer is humorous.

    With the fact that you continually get ISO that are corrupted on download I will assume that your ISP is modifying packets in transition, some part of your internet connection is causing the corruptions or the sector or your HDD that the files are written to is corrupted.

    I would advise downloading the ultimate boot cd from another computer (http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/) and running the memory and hard drive tests against your hardware to see if they could be the cause. If both tests pass then you should check your router/modem that is connected to your ISP to see what the error count per minute is and reporting it back here.
  • terryhterryh Posts: 10
    The corrupted ISOs were only Fedora. Ubuntu and Mepia were okay on the checksums. Both freeze.
  • The latest version of Ubuntu (9.10) has included some Beta software by default (PulseAudio, Grub2, etc), which in my opinion is unforgivably stupid in a distro that claims to be aimed at Linux beginners. Put that stuff in Sidux or some other bleeding-edge distro like that whose users expect and accept the risk (and the fun) of untested and unproven software. Anywayz...

    You might have alot less trouble with a previous version of Ubuntu (9.04) or older, whose default software has had time to improve with updates. I'm really surprised that Mepis (built on Debian Stable) didn't completely fit the bill, since it is far more stable than Ubuntu (built on Debian Unstable).

    The current version of Ubuntu's younger sibling, Xubuntu, does not include most of that Beta stuff and is much more stable and reliable. In fact it's so good and so simple, that I even replaced my own somewhat buggy minimal Ubuntu/LXDE mixture with it.

    If it's still Ubuntu you want, try an older version (and stick with the Long-Term-Support versions); or give Xubuntu a shot.

    -Robin
  • mfillpotmfillpot Posts: 2,180
    It is still advisable to run the test I listed from the ubcd so you can reliably state that the hardware is not the issue.
  • terryhterryh Posts: 10
    mfillpot wrote:
    Thanks for the prompt reply, and your PS about the IP of the spammer is humorous.

    With the fact that you continually get ISO that are corrupted on download I will assume that your ISP is modifying packets in transition, some part of your internet connection is causing the corruptions or the sector or your HDD that the files are written to is corrupted.

    I would advise downloading the ultimate boot cd from another computer (http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/) and running the memory and hard drive tests against your hardware to see if they could be the cause. If both tests pass then you should check your router/modem that is connected to your ISP to see what the error count per minute is and reporting it back here.

    As noted separately, Fedora was the only ISO that failed checksum.

    No problems were detected with memory or hard drive. My connection is a LAN card, no modem or router.

    I decided to remove both previous Ubuntu installs and the Mepis install, remove their partitions, and start over. I downloaded Ubuntu 9.10 again (ubuntu-9.10-desktop-i386.iso), checksum was fine, burned it to CD. Since XP runs just fine on my hardware, I decided to install Ubuntu under Windows, and a separate install not under Windows. The latter froze within ten minutes. The former, under Windows, ran for a couple of hours with no problems throughout a variety of tasks. No freezes. Startup GRUB shows Ubuntu, Ubuntu recovery mode, two versions of MemTest, and Windows XP. Starting Ubuntu from there is the installation that freezes up. Selecting Windows XP goes to a second GRUB listing XP and Ubuntu. Starting Ubuntu from there resulted in no freezes so far.

    But the main issue remains. How to get Ubuntu to run stably on its own w/o the need for Windows?
  • This is an interesting problem. They are much more fun when they only waste a few minutes of one's life.

    How are you running it under that other OS? a virtual machine (that uses the drivers of the other OS on the hardware)?

    It could be a driver issue in that case.

    It could also be bad blocks in the region of the disc where you installed GNU/Linux. Are you getting any I/O errors in /var/log/syslog ?

    A full surface read can be done with

    dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/null bs=1024k

    If it gets to the end with no error messages, the surface may be fine. Replace /dev/hda with your drive.

    Try booting with noapic option to the kernel. You can add it in /boot/grub/menu.lst
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