Yes, FLOSS also has its quirks and problems, and I am going to rant about some of them, that I run into the last week.
Problem 1: fsck on laptops
The reader might know that Linux comes with a collection of file system checkers/fixers, under the name fsck.* (where * = ext2/3, reiserfs, jfs, xfs...). When one formats a new partition (or tunes an existing one), some parameters are set, as for example in what circumstances fsck should be run automatically (you can always run it by hand). The typical setting is to run the command on each partition (just before mounting it) every N times it is mounted, or every M days.
It is also set that if a filesystem is not shut down cleanly (e.g., by crashing the computer or directly unplugging it), fsck will be run automatically on next boot (hey, that's so nice!).
However, here's the catch: on laptops, and with the aim of saving power, fsck will (tipically) not run automatically when on batteries. This seems a great idea, but you can imagine an scenario where it fails: shut down the laptop uncleanly, then power it up on batteries, and... voilà, you are presented with a system that seems to boot, but gives a lot of problems, the X don't work... because the disk was corrupt, and wasn't fixed on boot.
When this happened to me, I fixed it by booting while plugged. In principle you could also boot on single user mode, then chose "Check the filesystem" in the menu you will be presented (I'm talking about Ubuntu here), and fix the problem, even on batteries. But still, it's annoying. IMHO fsck should run after unclean shutdowns, no matter being plugged or on batteries.
Problem 2: failed hibernate can seriously screw your system
I tried hibernating my laptop (a feature I keep finding problems with), but it was taking too long, and I was forced to shut it down using the power button. This, in itself, is a serious issue, but I could live with it.
But what I can't live with is that after the event, I had no way of booting back! I tried all I could, and finally had to reinstall the OS. I am the one whom it happened to, and I still find it hard to believe: Linux so fucked up that you have to reinstall. I thought reinstalling belonged to the Windows Dark Ages!
Problem 3: faulty SD card
Since the problems tend to come together, it's no surprise that I came across this error when trying to reinstall the machine borked with previous problem. The thing is that I was using a SD card as installation media, burning the ISO into it with UNetbootin. The burning didn't burp any error, but the installation failed, usually (but not always) on the same point.
After minutes (hours?) of going crazy, I burned the ISO into another SD card, and it worked like a charm.
My complain is not that the SD was faulty, which I can understand (hardware fails). What I am angry at is the fact that I checked (with the aforementioned fsck command) the FS in the card many times, and I reformatted it (with mkfs) many more times, and Linux would always say that the formatting had been correct, and that all checks where fine. I understand that things are sometimes OK, sometimes KO. I just want to know when is which!Tags: en, FLOSS, hardware, linux, software