Debian not starting with systemd (SOLVED: install Debian 9)

Kernels & Hardware, configuring network, installing services

Debian not starting with systemd (SOLVED: install Debian 9)

Postby Starborn » 2018-11-10 15:38

A "hello" to all who read this,

I am running "Jessie" 8.11 on an old (as in "old") Core2Duo//2 GB RAM//Geforce 6700XL//1 TB HD computer since 2015 or so. It has always worked quite well, but now I am having a serious problem that I cannot solve myself.

Debian is connected to the VGA port of a flatscreen (which is being used with another, newer computer via DVI) over a VGA cable that is connected with a VGA-to-DVI adapter in the DVI port of the Geforce. (As for the VGA-to-DVI connector: if I connect the VGA cable to the Geforce's VGA port, then the USB mouse cursor is "vibrating" on the screen.)

Installed alongside Debian is LMDE3 (formerly LMDE2) and Xubuntu (since a few weeks, as I had an extra partition on this 1 TB HD).

LMDE3 and Xubuntu both boot and run fine (albeit not super-duper fast on this old machine), but since earlier this week Debian no longer (fully) boots. It stays stuck at:

Code: Select all
Loading, please wait...
/dev/sda2: recovering journal
/devs/sda2: clean, 868114/12214272 files, 16008741/48827904 blocks


Code: Select all
Loading, please wait...
/dev/sda2: recovering journal
/devs/sda2: clean, 870825/12214272 files, 16004030/48827904 blocks

(The journal recovering being, because I have to press the Reset button to restart the machine.)

Just for fun ( :) :roll: ), a few days ago I replaced the Geforce 6700XL by an "8400GS", which has passive cooling, but is a slower card, so I put the "6700XL" back in.

Since then (conincidentally or not), Debian stops at the aforementioned "Loading, please wait" message.

-oo-

Interestingly, this morning I booted Debian with SysVInit (in the GRUB menu) instead of systemd - and to my surprise Debian booted and works just fine. I am typing this in Debian w/ sysVinit.

I have no idea how to fix this, or not even where the problem is. Google does not (really) help me any further with the "Loading, please wait..." information.

Following https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/362394/debian-stuck-on-loading-please-wait-after-new-install I can boot Debian by changing "ro quiet " to "ro nomodeset quiet", but despite the update-grub, that setting seems to disappear after reboot and I end up at that "Loading, please wait..." text on the screen.

Since operating systems are female, I have learned from experience not to mess or meddle with OS's, so my Debian install is about as clean as you can get.

-oo-

It was thinking that the graphics card switch had caused Debian not to boot, but I am now suspecting it might have been a Xubuntu update of GRUB (which Xubuntu did update, I think, if I recall correctly).

Has Xubuntu somehow messed up the Debian boot-thing thang?

Why does Debian boot fine with SysVinit, but not with systemd?

Has anyone ever heard of something like this?
Last edited by Starborn on 2018-11-20 15:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Debian not starting with systemd; starts fine with sysVi

Postby bw123 » 2018-11-10 16:10

Just a couple guesses FWIW. There are some good old threads from Head_on_A_Stick (check spelling) from a few yrs ago that really helped a lot with this kind of thing, did you search the forum?

Boot stays stuck for how long? Problems with network mounts can delay boot quite a long time.

Systemd in my experience is not very forgiving about fstab, one mistake and you're done. I think it's a good idea personally, the machine should not boot with an incorrect fstab, but many people ran into that a few yrs ago. I rememeber a lot of shock that systemd expected them to know how to setup a correct fstab.

If you get any errors when booting with sysVinit that might be a clue. I kind of miss it sometimes, it was very forgiving. But with the way things depend on other things during a systemd boot, I really couldn't say if that's a possibility or not.. Have you tried single user mode? I always try that first when I get an error booting.

Edit:
...I can boot Debian by changing "ro quiet " to "ro nomodeset quiet", but despite the update-grub, that setting seems to disappear after reboot...

ah, I missed this. I haven't used nomodest in a long time. Not sure why you'd need that with systemd but not sysvinit? Look up nomodeset+permanent or something (not on google), it goes in /etc/default/grub
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Re: Debian not starting with systemd; starts fine with sysVi

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-11-10 19:57

Starborn wrote:this morning I booted Debian with SysVInit

How did you configure your system to boot with sysvinit?
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Re: Debian not starting with systemd; starts fine with sysVi

Postby Starborn » 2018-11-14 16:46

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:How did you configure your system to boot with sysvinit?

I did not configure anything (even after 11 years in Linux, I am not a Linux expert). :)

In the GRUB menu, I "just" chose/choose "Advanced options", where it shows the options "Debian GNU/Linux" (with systemd, I presume?) and "Recovery mode", and "Debian GNU/Linux, with Linux 3.16.0-6-686-pae (sysvinit) (on /dev/sda2)".

I am typing this in LMDE3, and after having updated LMDE3 (triple boot with Debian 8.11 and Xubuntu), the terminal shows:
Code: Select all
...
...
Installation finished. No error reported.
Generating grub configuration file ...
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.9.0-8-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.9.0-8-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-3.16.0-6-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-3.16.0-6-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-3.16.0-4-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-3.16.0-4-amd64
Found memtest86+ image: /boot/memtest86+.bin
Found memtest86+ multiboot image: /boot/memtest86+_multiboot.bin
Found Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS (18.04) on /dev/sda1
Found Debian GNU/Linux 8 (jessie) on /dev/sda2
done

immediately followed by:
Code: Select all
Setting up network-manager-gnome (1.4.4-1+deb9u1) ...
Processing triggers for initramfs-tools (0.130) ...
update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-4.9.0-8-amd64
I: The initramfs will attempt to resume from /dev/sda6
I: (UUID=098b82eb-ad5e-4cd3-b5a6-fd5aa5790e83)
I: Set the RESUME variable to override this.
Processing triggers for libc-bin (2.24-11+deb9u3) ...

No idea what that message means, so I am looking it up online right now. A link at https://forum.mxlinux.org/viewtopic.php?t=43783 says that there is no problem. But I also read in http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?t=133253 that "this typically happens when you install another OS alongside the first one", as writted by forum member debiman.

sudo blkid (in LMDE3):
Code: Select all
/dev/sda1: UUID="33bf6337-7268-478f-aaa1-7c9761f2e896" TYPE="ext4" PARTUUID="27462745-01"
/dev/sda2: UUID="a2541e31-4a55-489c-a2f2-f7f1449b27ba" TYPE="ext4" PARTUUID="27462745-02"
/dev/sda5: LABEL="DATA" UUID="7414557C145541F2" TYPE="ntfs" PARTUUID="27462745-05"
/dev/sda6: UUID="098b82eb-ad5e-4cd3-b5a6-fd5aa5790e83" TYPE="swap" PARTUUID="27462745-06"
/dev/sda7: UUID="9433526d-b9b2-4f9e-a4f3-c51fcf2bc007" TYPE="ext4" PARTUUID="27462745-07"


fstab in Debian shows:
Code: Select all
# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
#
# Use 'blkid' to print the universally unique identifier for a
# device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name devices
# that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
#
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
# / was on /dev/sda2 during installation
UUID=a2541e31-4a55-489c-a2f2-f7f1449b27ba /               ext4    errors=remount-ro 0       1
# swap was on /dev/sda6 during installation
UUID=098b82eb-ad5e-4cd3-b5a6-fd5aa5790e83 none            swap    sw              0       0
/dev/sr0        /media/cdrom0   udf,iso9660 user,noauto     0       0
/dev/sr1        /media/cdrom1   udf,iso9660 user,noauto     0       0


fstab in LMDE3 shows:
Code: Select all
# UNCONFIGURED FSTAB FOR BASE SYSTEM
proc   /proc   proc   defaults   0   0
# /dev/sda7
UUID=9433526d-b9b2-4f9e-a4f3-c51fcf2bc007   /   ext4   rw,errors=remount-ro   0   1
# /dev/sda6
UUID=098b82eb-ad5e-4cd3-b5a6-fd5aa5790e83   swap   swap   sw   0   0


I see the same UUID. So, that's not the cause (?).

Why does the Debian fstab file say mount point->swap "none", while the LMDE3 fstab file says "swap" (because I am running LMDE3?)?

I am no Linux expert, but my intuition (still) tells me that updating GRUB in Xubuntu the other week has done "something" to Debian...

If this had been Windows, I would have cursed Microsoft from here to the end of the universe (and back), but since this is Linux, I am just sitting here, not knowing what to do. If I don't find how to "fix" Debian, I wil either try Debian 9 or try Bunsenlabs Linux (the latter which works just great on this old HP machine that I have).
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Re: Debian not starting with systemd; starts fine with sysVi

Postby tynman » 2018-11-16 16:36

Mounting the swap partition as "none" in the fstab file is normal. It tells Linux to use the partition for swap space but not mount it. I've never seen it coded the LMDE3 way (but there are lots of things I haven't seen).
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Re: Debian not starting with systemd; starts fine with sysVi

Postby Starborn » 2018-11-17 08:56

Goodmorning to all who read along,

The mystery deepens. Five minutes ago I connected this old computer to the flatscreen by means of a DVI cable, and Debian booted (and rebooted) normally - but the screen resolution is "messed up". In Settings > Display it says "Unknown monitor".

Code: Select all
:~$ xdpyinfo | grep 'dimensions'
dimensions: 1024x768 pixels (271x203 millimeters)

Well. Debian reminds me of Windows (and no, that is not a compliment.).

I don't seem to find what is going on with Debian. So, last night I made a backup of all my Debian/LMDE3/Xubuntu files (in LMDE3, and LMDE3 worked fine), and I am going to give Bunsenlabs Linux a try (if Head_On_A_Stick reads this :D ), and if Bunsenlabs acts up, I will try Debian 9. Or perhaps Devuan? :P

It's not funny, darnit. I want computers that let me work, not computers that make me work. I've already had enough problems with Windows in all those past years to also have to solve a "mistery" in a Linux install.
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Re: Debian not starting with systemd; starts fine with sysVi

Postby Starborn » 2018-11-17 11:17

I switched off the computer, replaced the DVI cable back to the VGA-to-DVI adapter, switch on the computer, and Debian/systemd boots normally.

Code: Select all
~$ pidof systemd && echo "systemd" || echo "other"
1268 1020
systemd

Systemd.

Only the screen resolution is still 1024x768, and showing "Unknown monitor".

What is going on here?

1. Debian/systemd has been working fine for months/ages;
2. Debian/systemd hangs at "Loading, please wait";
3. Debian/sysVinit boots up fine;
4. switching to a DVI cable and Debian/systemd boots fine, but with wrong screen resolution;
5. switching back to the VGA cable, and Debian/systemd boots fine, but with wrong screen resolution.

What the heck?

Does the Windows haiku count for Debian/jessie?

Code: Select all
"Yesterday it worked
Today it is not working
Windows is like that"

:?
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Re: Debian not starting with systemd; starts fine with sysVi

Postby Starborn » 2018-11-19 17:55

If anyone is reading my thread, here is an update.

Debian is no more... I have installed Bunsenlabs "Hydrogen" "over" Debian, upgraded it to "Helium" seemingly without any problems, and I am getting the same problem:

Code: Select all
Loading, please wait...
fsck from util-linux 2.25.2
/dev/sda2: clean, 90021/12214272 files, 1420,02/48827904 blocks

and then nothing.

Inserting "nomodeset" in Bunsenlabs boot options (in the GRUB menu) does let me boot Bunsenlabs too (like with Debian), but the screen resolution is then wrong too, and saying "Unknown monitor".

Bunsenlabs basically is "Debian-with-Openbox", hence the same problem?

I am going to try something not based on Debian, like, say... Opensuse. My first baby steps in Linux were SuSE Linux, back in the late 1990s. I am "curious" to see what will happen.
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Re: Debian not starting with systemd; starts fine with sysVi

Postby Starborn » 2018-11-20 15:17

A last update, if anyone still reads along.

Goodbye Jessie... and OpenSUSE. Hello Stretch!

Today I had installed OpenSUSE "Leap 15" (with Gnome) over Debian 8.11. OpenSUSE worked...but it was as slow as a turtle (both CPU cores were at 100% continuously, and the 2 GB RAM were always around 75%-80% full). Starting OpenSUSE with X11 instead of Wayland made things smoother, but not enough. So, I installed Debian 9.6 (also with Gnome) over OpenSUSE, and after a few "whoas" and "yikes", Stretch seems to work well.

I am very relieved.

I will assume that my Jessie (and Bunsenlabs) problem was just a hiccup, somewhere.

If anyone knows any Debian developers, tell them that Debian is better than OpenSUSE. 8)
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