Stretch installation success......finally!

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

Stretch installation success......finally!

Postby NFT5 » 2019-02-03 14:42

Between home and the shop I admin about 15 PCs and notebooks.

Being production machines, or used by my wife, stability and reliability are paramount so I test everything on either my desktop or a dedicated test machine. So far I have not been successful in getting Stretch to either install or operate reliably on any of the desktops. Even tried Devuan which had the same problems and Ubuntu MATE which didn't, but I just don't like it. MX works, mostly, but is too integrated with XFCE to get a reliable MATE installation while anything from the Red Hat lineage won't install at all. With multiple users a change in desktop can mean all kinds of dramas so MATE really is the only choice. Notebooks have been no problem.

With each point release I download the netinstal + firmware ISO and give it yet another try. Up to and including 9.6 the installation either fails, usually just after the partitioning step, or completes but I get the Black Screen of Death after selection in GRUB. Sometimes it succeeds but then MATE Panel crashes. It hasn't been a pressing issue to fix, since Jessie is running just fine on all the machines, but with 9.7 I dutifully went through the process and was most pleasantly surprised with a successful installation, not just once, but four times, on different machines.

There does still seem to be a hiccough in the installer though - on one machine the graphic install refused to load the kernel but text worked perfectly. There have been occasional reports of similar problems, most recently here, but it seems to be a bit sporadic. May be my machines, which are mostly Gigabyte motherboards with Phenom II or FX CPUs (955 or 6300). Most have 8GB or 16GB RAM. All have GT610 cards, either because of no onboard graphics or because the nouveau Nvidia drivers just work better than those for Radeon. Nothing too special otherwise and nothing cutting edge. Nothing unusual about HDDs or partitioning either, there's a mix of UEFI and non-UEFI and I pre-partition with GParted before installation to get a nice clean environment, i.e. fresh install, not an upgrade.

To test, I tried again, on one machine, from a 9.6 ISO and had the familiar failure. Re-formatted and loaded 9.7, no worries.

So, it seems that whatever the bug was, it's been fixed, at least in the text installer, although the graphic seems to work, sometimes.

Once installed I've had problems with MATE 1.16 having Panel crashes but 1.20 from Backports seems to have solved that too.

At the moment I'm a happy camper and proceeding with testing to eventually upgrade all the desktops, hopefully before the Buster release, when it will probably all start again. :roll:

Anyway, worth noting here for those having similar problems.
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Re: Stretch installation success......finally!

Postby stevepusser » 2019-02-03 21:35

Hmmm--what's the matter with the MX Mate desktop installer? If it's missing all the regular Mate extra applications like eom, atril, etc., MX doesn't install recommended packages by default, unlike Debian, so you have to run

Code: Select all
apt-get install --reinstall --install-recommends mate-desktop-environment
to get those. I think we can change our Package Installer to do that for Mate.
The MX Linux repositories: Backports galore! If we don't have something, just ask and we'll try--we like challenges. New packages: Flightgear 2018.2.2, 4..20.6 kernel, wine-staging 4.0 final, Sayonara 1.1.1, Calibre 3.39.1, Pale Moon 28.3.1
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Re: Stretch installation success......finally!

Postby NFT5 » 2019-02-04 07:30

I tried that, and a few other things, but at the end of the day decided that MX is just too tightly integrated with XFCE and I was getting niggling problems where the desktops crossed over. I probably could cope with that myself but wives and staff don't, and I really don't have the time to be a full time sysadmin and helpdesk. So, although I love what you guys have done with MX, the need for simplicity won. Remember we're talking lowest common denominator levels here, people who can follow a set of instructions but have absolutely no idea of what they're actually doing. I have a bookkeeper who is actually a fully qualified accountant but has trouble coping with the concept of multiple workspaces. For her I've actually set up two screens, one with Debian and the other with Windows in a VM. Funny thing is that she's married to a Windows application dev. He just shakes his head.

Back on topic, I did another one today and success once again. Every machine is partitioned so that I can run two OSs and when I'm finished testing I'll reconfigure GRUB to put the Stretch installation at the top of the list and as default. So far that looks a lot closer than I'd originally thought.
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