Ubuntu 9.10 – Tedious Timewaste

I’m attempting to install Ubuntu 9.10 server edition on my server. To say it’s not going smoothly would be as big an understatement as saying “That Hitler bloke, he was a bit naughty, wasn’t he?”. The damn thing just won’t boot up! It gets as far as saying ‘Grub Loading.’ and then gets no further.

At first I thought it might be the weird combination of IDE controllers and disks I have. I have a 1TB SATA drive, plus two PATA drives. The machine is supposed to boot from one of the PATA drives, and use the SATA as a data drive. This used to work. It even used to work with some crazy extra IDE card in the machine. The motherboard has some half-baked combination of IDE, IDE-RAID and SATA, giving me a total of ten possible disks in the machine. Whoever designed this motherboard was going for a bit of everything, the machine even takes DDR and DDR2 RAM.

Thinking that maybe all this crap was confusing things I switched it all off and pulled out every drive except the drive I wanted to boot from and reinstalled Ubuntu on that. GRUB was installed, it all went well… then the machine rebooted and sat there looking like an oversized doorstop.

I know the BIOS can find the correct disk because I see the ‘GRUB Loading.’ message, but then it seems GRUB fails to find the rest of itself and stops working.

My next plan is to install onto a spare SATA disk I have to see what happens. If that fails I’ll install a previous version of Ubuntu to see if they broke something in this version. It seems they’ve switched to something called Grub2, which has lots of new cool features. Is “booting my system” one of these new features?

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