Linux Mint Fail

I finally became fed up with this one little idiosyncrasy that my KDE-based home entertainment center kept exhibiting -- it would not let me specify VLC as the action handler when I inserted a DVD in the drive.  Instead, it was most insistent that I use the KDE default DragonPlayer, which had somehow gotten confused about where the drive was and could no longer start the DVD.  That was all it took for me decide to to take the time to rebuild the home entertainment system last weekend.  You may recall from a previous article, I discovered Linux Mint 9 not too long ago, and really liked it.

So I got out the Linux Mint AMD_64 flash drive and started to boot the system off of it.  This should only take about 20 minutes, I said to myself.

Three hours later I gave up and instead installed Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Edition.  Why UNE instead of the Ubuntu desktop version?  I like UNE’s simple interface and find it well-suited to home entertainment use.  It took about 20 minutes to do the install.

What went wrong with the Mint install, I sense you wondering.  Well, this:

  • The BIOS on the Asus M3N78-VM motherboard went psyscho and refused to remember the boot device order.  It did not seem all that complicated to me: USB flash drive first, SATA hard drive second.  Apparently the BIOS disagreed.  So,
  • I downloaded and installed the latest flash ROM.  The BIOS was still unclear on the concept of a user-specified boot order. So,
  • I opened up the box and took the drive out.  Maybe there was a jumper on it that was confusing the BIOS.  Nope.  So,
  • I finally figured out a power-on, start to boot, hit the reset, stick the USB drive in sequence that eventually got the system booting Mint off the USB drive.  But, boy, did it boot slow...  But it did finally finish booting.  about 28 minutes later.  So,
  • Let’s install it on the drive.  Wait, where’s the “Install” icon that is supposed to be on the desktop?  I went and checked the Linux Mint installation documentation.  I didn’t really need to, I’ve installed Mint several times before.  Without a hitch, I might add. Yep, just as I remembered, there was supposed to be an “Install” icon on the desktop.  There wasn’t.  So,
  • Reboot (first time: no muss no fuss) using the Ubuntu 10.04 UNE USB drive.  As a side note, Ubuntu Netbook Edition is only available in the i686 version, Canonical does not seem to provide a 64-bit iso.

The only thing that did not work right out of the box was hdmi sound, but installing the Pulseaudio sound server packages fixed that.  The new entertainment unit is now up and running, configured to use VLC for DVD and other video format media (avi, mpg, mov, wmv), Clementine 0.5 for the streaming music player, Hulu’s desktop application for more streaming movie and TV content, and of course it is hooked up to the Sony Blu-Ray player, the 800 Watt Denon AVR-890 amp and the Celestion 9 speakers.

Oh, and to forestall the barrage of “You idiot!  Hulu is not viewable outside of the United Sates of America!” comments, please take note of the fact that Hulu is not viewable outside of the United Sates of America.  Thank you.

What in the world caused the problems with the Mint install?  I have absolutely no idea.  I installed Mint without any problems on another Asus M3N78-VM based system just two months ago.  I’ve installed it on two laptops without a hitch.  Maybe it was just bad Karma, but it’s history now.  I’m perfectly happy with the UNE system, so we will let the Mint issue just be one of life’s little mysteries.



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Id suggest you try xbmc as a

ts23gamecuber's picture

Id suggest you try xbmc as a front end, its no longer solely for xbox, and a nice appearance.

nice journalism

Anonymous's picture

I really respect that when something doesnt work you are unbiased enough to say so. With some guys apple or gentoo (for example) can do no wrong etc but you are calling it like you see it :)

also I find myself using more and more ubuntu products.....I still use debian on my servers but good grief a desktop os should not be a giant PITA to install (arch linux anyone) and I know this may sound dumb (or lazy) but "sudo apt-get install kubuntu-restricted-extras" is the BEST THING EVER!!!! ONE COMMAND and almost ALL of my desktop stuff is ready to roll....flash, dvd's, mp3, no hassle NO BS.

FIY I am also a clementine fan :)

hi - forgive me if it double

Anonymous's picture

hi -
forgive me if it double posts, but i tried once and didn't finish my thought.
if you had "installed" mint to the usb rather than using the iso, wouldn't mint then think that it was already installed and not provide the install icon? just a thought. i don't really use usb, i tend to install from cd, dvd or iso directly to vm.
also, why blame mint for the motherboard's confusion?
in the end, it sounds like une is a great sollution, so maybe it was fate. :)

Mint fail?

Anonymous's picture


May be the title of your post is a little too strong. I am a Mint user :-), and have been for a long time. Never has it 'failed' me. There were some hiccups, but they were easy to fix. So, maybe, that particular bad experience of yours is just that, and doesn't justify such a negative title.

Wait until you see the next one

Doug.Roberts's picture


Seriously, not all products are perfect. I also am still am a big fan of Mint. However, I've done probably 300 - 400 Linux installs over the past 15 years, and none has given me as difficult a time as this one.

In addition, I've discovered another problem in Mint 9 which I will write up soon. The Mint Startup Disk Creater utility used to create bootable USB drives and CD's does not work on either of my two Mint 9 systems. The USB images that they create for the Ubuntu 10.10 desktop and netbook iso images fail to boot, giving the message "Unrecognized keyword in configuration file".

When I used a system running the Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.04 to create the boot USB drive, the boot drive worked fine.

I wanted to run Mint on my home entertainment center, but sadly the install attempt was a huge fail.

And, to forestall the inevitable "your USB media was bad" comments, it was not bad. Nor was the iso image I was using to create the boot drive bad -- I checked both of those before writing the article.


Universal Boot Installer

Alfredo Covaleda Vélez's picture

I figured out that Ubuntu startup creator was exclusive for Ubuntu, so I created Mint Usb startup with UNetbootin (Universal Boot Installer) for Linux. It also worked fine for gNewSense and many otheres. UNebootin exists also for Windows.


Yep, thats a know bug, the

jimbauwens's picture

Yep, thats a know bug, the syslinux version doesn't recognize the 'ui' keyword in syslinux.cfg .
If you remove it it works. This was a fix in the updates of 10.04, so maybe mint is still going to get the fix.