sábado, 14 de mayo de 2011

Zenwalk 7, it didn't go well...

Yesterday, I downloaded the Live CD of Zenwalk 7 and I must confess that I liked it a lot. Not only did it have full support for Japanese IME via iBus, but also its Xfce desktop was simple enough for a beginner like me. So, I decided to download the standard CD to install it to my now triple-boot netbook (Mandriva 2010.2, Pardus 2011, Mepis 11). And then my dance in the Zen garden began. Little did I know that the predictable, calm Waltz at the beginning of the installation was to morph into a rabid, passionate dance for survival!

After seeing many installations Cds and DVDs before, I expected nothing out of the ordinary when I booted with the Zenwalk 7 CD. Maybe I was not too concerned about the interaction, but there was something different that I had not determined until the process was well advanced: all installation directions were provided in text. Yes, that's right: no GUI for Zenwalk! I checked the info in Distrowatch.com and it's clearly indicated that the installation process is text mode. So, inadvertently, I was attempting my first text mode installation.

I cannot say that the process is complicated or confusing because the different screens provide clear information of each step. However, when I got to the touchy operation of partitioning, the dance switched from a calm Waltz into a furious tango: I had absolutely no idea of what I was doing. The partitioning tool located all the partitions in my HD and was telling me that it was going to install in one of them and use the Mandriva swap partition for Zenwalk. Regardless of what I tried to do, the system would just proceed, so I buckled up for a bumpy ride.

And then, LILO! I have never used that for booting but suspected that I was not going to be able to boot Zenwalk without it, so I chose simple install (now I was sure the ride was going to be bumpy!).

The process came to a dead end with the creation of the root and user accounts. The text superimposed, so I could barely read what the system wanted me to input. Basically, I got to a screen that demanded a login and a password and everything I typed was incorrect. Therefore, I rebooted the computer without the CD and, SURPRISE! No GRUB, GREET LILO!

Lilo? I must say I saw more of a "Stitch" because the little mischievous booter only showed an entry there: Zenwalk. All the rest of my operating systems were gone... I presume they took a stroll in a Zen garden somewhere :-P

And, of course, the Zenwalk system was inoperative. A great place to be. From here, the dance became something more like those energetic folk dances in tribes, where a Shaman swirls, twists, and jumps with body contortions that resemble an act of desperation.

Luckily, the Mandriva 2011 PowerPack DVD has a rescue application that restores your GRUB. That was enough to take Mandriva, Pardus and Mepis out of their Zen meditation. But there were some side effects. When I booted Mandriva, it did, but painfully slowly. I switched to verbose mode and saw that some partitions were apparently renamed or something, so Mandriva had problems mounting them.

When I finally got in, I rebooted to see if Mandriva would pick up some speed this time and, pretty fast, I got into my very first Kernel Panic!

The solution? Well, I reinstalled the system leaving the /home partition there, and in a matter of 25 minutes, Mandriva was back to normal. Pardus and Mepis are healthy, too.


I cannot blame Zenwalk 7 at all for this mishap. I understand that it was entirely my fault because I was not prepared to carry out this kind of installation. Zenwalk is a well-built, functional Linux system. That its installation is presently beyond my limited knowledge should not be taken as a negative point at all.

I'm sure that some reading will clarify my questions. When I do that, I'll take Zenwalk 7 again for a dance. Hopefully, I will perform better then.

9 comentarios:

  1. That's a nice anecdote for your blog's happy birthday! A Kernel Panic! Wow! I still need to get one because the only Kernel Panic I got was the result of a poorly burnt CD.

    Anyway, it's great you got into text mode installation. I've always wanted to do that. Perhaps I should do it? I also loved Zenwalk from the Live CD you gave me.

  2. Funny little story. Wish you better luck next time, I'm sure you'll be better prepared. Zenwalk is a nice OS.

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  4. Hey Mechatotoro, you should be proud of yourself...you took your first Zenwalk steps and could advance somehow into its installation.

    Me? I just tried it but couldn't even find how to start my installation! Gosh! I need more meditation and reading, it seems. Well, of course, my mental state is not at its best presently due to lack of sleep.

    I'll take some rest while Gparted takes care of preparing the partitions. Then, I'll read the ancient scrolls and meditate a bit...After that, I'll reach a mental state appropriate for my second attempt into the Zenwalk garden. As the old monks say, "illumination does not come easily." Let's do our best!

  5. @ Barnaby,

    Thanks for your support. I'll give it a try as soon as I get more info on the process. You are right, Zenwalk is GREAT.

    @ Megatotoro,
    You must use the installation CD. It's like Pardus (they release a Live CD and an installation one separately).
    Be prepared. Not even Gparted will save you from the tango! ;-)

  6. Who does double and tripple booting now adays? VIRTUAL machines man... so much easier, and no multi boot mess. I would not even dare to do more than dual boot and I consider myself quite knowledgeable.

  7. Hey, I do. Actually, I am triple booting Mint 8, Ubuntu 11.04 and Win XP (I know, Windows sucks, but my university isn't awared of that). Although I'm running noobie Linux flavours, I've tested Fedora, Gentoo, Slackware, etc., and, of course, Zenwalk. I recall I installed some time ago Zenwalk, I believe it was 5, also with text installation mode. Must say I had no trouble whatsoever, it was just the typical installation (including partitioning) only lacking some nice GUI, but if you follow well the instructions you should have no problem. So my advice is give it another try, odds are you will like it. Of course, ¿who hasn't messed up his whole system trying new stuff? Some times it's part of the fun.

    Greetings and good luck next time.

  8. At the point at which the installer refuses to do as it's told - forcibly reboot the machine and throw the installer disk in the bin.

  9. Part of the problem is that you allowed Zenwalk to write LILO in the MBR and the installer *probably* gave you an option to install it on its own partition and you simply overlooked that (I say probably because that's how it should have been done, I have yet to use Zenwalk myself). LILO is required to bootstrap it so you had to install it somewhere, but if you had chosen it to install on its own partition then you would just need to chain load it through GRUB by simply running update-grub (again, this is just a hunch as I am not too familiar with Mandriva either!)


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