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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Linux Mint from USB

Anonymous's picture

Im running Mint 10 now --- it installed perfect or just like they
said it would.
I do remember a laptop that I tried to install Linux on
from a USB. The laptop would only do the boot setup once
and go back to the original (battery was OK) setup. Never figured
that one out! I assume the bios forced it that way.
Very happy with Mint 10 it looks, dare I say- elegant.
Ive installed Distros that really looked crappy before.


Bilgili's picture

good post,thank you

joy and pain

Linux lover's picture

I tried different versions of Linux mint. Install-delete, I have done more than 20 times. It works, good. But update in Linux mint kills my joy. When I update it will take more than 1 hour in most of the cases, but in Ubuntu it takes 1-5 minutes. So finally because of the pain in update I settle down with Ubuntu.

article fail

Anonymous's picture

article fail

Wow really? Your must have a

Anonymous's picture

Wow really? Your must have a bad computer or something. It took about 20 minutes to install on mine.
Agree this article is fail

good article

Donno's picture

Thanks Doug -

I once was stuck using an old Dell laptop (with XP loaded) for Linux development. I installed Xubuntu on an external usb drive, but it
would not boot the Dell. Through trial and error, I found that when I loaded bios setup screens on cold boot, then exit bios setup and warm boot, would boot the usb drive.

Also, agree with you concerning a preference for apt-get and .deb updates.

Something you did not directly adress, but which may be good material is the extent to which all desktop software and services depend on obscure keys deep in a kde or gnome heirarchy. IE: in the old days, you could get something working by modifying a value in /proc - but now you need to pull up gconf or similar to modify a value in an xml tree.


Anonymous's picture

Why not install from CD?

I could have

Doug.Roberts's picture

But then I would not have been happy with having had to work around non-functioning USB drives. I guess I'm kind of picky.


Linux Mint vs Ubuntu

Anonymous's picture

If you would believe Distrowatch, the relation of usage of Ubuntu to Linux Mint is about 3 to 2. How can one explain this? In one word - codecs. On one of two identical computers Monday I downloaded the new version 10.10 via a CD, on the other just upgraded 10.4. If you downloaded the CD you were given the choice of installing the codecs that were driving people to Linux Mint but if you just upgraded you were not given that choice. It's ridiculous that Ubuntu has been giving up 40% of their "market" over this issue.

mixed results

lost_in_Edmonton's picture

I've had a couple of issues, with Mint but nothing like you have stated. I'm running it on my home system i7 920 and its doing fine. On my laptop though a 8510p I'm not as pleased but its too early to say whether its Mint or my own misconfiguration. In a lot of way Mint performs a lot better than Lenny, or Karmac.

wouldn't it have been easier...

Anonymous's picture

... to just uninstall dragon player? :)

Kind of funny

Doug.Roberts's picture

isn't it...




Anonymous's picture

Warning: the article is clearly a useless flamebait. Useful only for attracting attention for the author's post.

*deleting feed for Linux (bitching) Journal*


Asus MB

Sherpalou's picture

The last two Asus boards I've used have the very same boot order problems you mentioned. My current board is the same model as yours. (M3N78-VM) I'm pretty sure at least part of the issue is BIOS related.

Uuh...did you have a bad day

Anonymous's picture

Uuh...did you have a bad day ? A deadline approaching and nothing else to bitch about than this ?

"I’m perfectly happy with the UNE system, so we will let the Mint issue just be one of life’s little mysteries."

...and the answer to that is:
I'm perfectly happy with any site with almost the same content compared to this one (hint: http://, so we'll let the fact that anyone ever visit - and even read stuff at - be one of life's little mysteries.


I'm crushed

Doug.Roberts's picture

Crushed, I tell you.

How can I ever forgive myself for the fact that Anonymous did not enjoy my article.


Or maybe

Doug.Roberts's picture

It could be that I am desolated, rather than crushed by this devasting review of this article. I sometimes have trouble telling the difference.

But regardless of which it is that I am so deeply feeling, I, uh...

What were we talking about?

Oh yes, I remember. The overwhelming mortification I am suffering at having failed to live up to Anonymous's expectations regarding this article.

Someone, please! Stop me before I write again!

Doug, hang up now. There's no

Trenchcoat's picture

Doug, hang up now. There's no reason to call the suicide hotline (unless you get to talk to Sarah in Vancouver, she's really good at her job and her voice is pretty hot -- not that I know anything about the suicide hotline). Sure, the comment from Anonymous was hard to take, but man-up! Go give yourself a once-over in the mirror and tell that dude, "Dude, you might not be the proficient writer that Anonymous is, but you know some words, and you can concatenate them into strings -- so you're gonna be alright!"

You also have to admit that hey, maybe it wasn't MINT that was the real problem here... perhaps you accidentally installed Windows ME. It happens.

My life has meaning again

Doug.Roberts's picture

Thanks for the words of cheer, Trench. They've helped to rouse me from the depths of depression which the savaging I received from that Anonymous brute caused.

Also, good catch on the Windows ME thing, I'll try not to let that happen again. I'm so embarrassed...



I don't know why you blame

Anonymous's picture

I don't know why you blame Mint for your BIOS not knowing the boot order. Do you even understand that the OS isn't even in memory at that point???

Personally, I quit using Ubuntu, because I had too many problems with it. When I switched to Mint, they all went away. Now I'm using Mint Debian Edition, and don't even have to reinstall with every update.


Doug.Roberts's picture

I suspect it has something to do with the Linux Mint bootable USB image. I believe this because I don't have the same problem with other bootable USB images, like the Ubuntu 10.04 UNE image I discussed in the article.

Perhaps there is an error in the Linux Mint configuration file in the boot image. Whatever the problem was I know that it was not

1) the USB media
2) a hardware problem

as you can see from some of the other comments below.


Mint is nice as long as it works

mario__'s picture

I've had Mint running on my X40 bedbook. Until some update killed the standby feature. Didn't get better, and I'm too lazy to research it beyond an hour hitting the google. So now I've replaced it with Maverick Meerkat. Which takes some extra time to set up, but has often less hiccups. Still I'm giving Mint another try somewhen..

Me too

Doug.Roberts's picture

I did two Meerkat installs yesterday which I will be writing about soon.


This does not relate directly

JC Lambert's picture

This does not relate directly to your article, however, it got me thinking. I would suggest that the average IT acumen of a Linux user is a bit higher than average. And this may be why we tend to view problems as 'hiccups'. These 'hiccups' to the average Windows user would be major problems.
That said, I use linux more often than anything else. It took over a year to convert my wife to Linux. And even then she is only a part-timer. Maybe 25% at this point.

It is always annoying when a

Jim C's picture

It is always annoying when a favored distro fails for us or is called out for a fail by someone else, it has happened to me and I am sure plenty of others and is one of the reasons I run Mint, Ubuntu failed for me and some other distros just didn't cut it, the beauty is we have the choice to to try many things , a different distro, get help on the forum (if we have time or can be bothered) file bug reports ,
Doug done what was good for him here he moved on to Ubuntu and it worked for him ,problem solved.

Asus + Linux??

Anonymous's picture

I've never seen Linux work well on Asus computers...


MJKropf's picture

This is strange, as most all of the Zareason notebooks that I have seen are based on ASUS notebooks and they don't seem to have that problem.

??? Linux works great on my

Anonymous's picture

??? Linux works great on my Asus m2a-vm. The fastest coreboot compatible motherboards are Asus.

Just my two-pence-worth

Anonymous's picture

My primary workstation at home is an ASUS Z97V.
The only problem I have had running Linux on it is with the distro-delivered nVidia driver, and that is caused by a bug in the video BIOS not bring handled by the driver between versions 179 and 256.
Everything else Just Works(TM)

well just to be contradictory

Jim C's picture

well just to be contradictory ,most of my computers are ASUS and have Linux Mint installed on them

Asus + Linux??

mint9 user's picture

works almost 100% on my asus UL50vt laptop except for the brightness FN keys (too minor to mention)

G210M Nvidia & onboard intel GPU work no problems either...

Linux Mint 9 and EeePC

Alfredo Covaleda Velez's picture

Yesterday I installed Linux Mint 9 Isadora in my EeePC 701 replacing ubuntu 10-04. I'm pretty satisfied with Isadora. Last weekend I tried to install several distributions and it only was successful installation of Linux Mint and gNewSense. Except for sd card, everything is working fine with Mint. I like the small size of packages installed by default in Mint. I installed Glade, Geany, Eclipse, JDK, BlueJ,Dia, Ruby, Valac, PHP and all related libraries associated to all of them and no often the tiny solid state disc it still has space to install maybe a database and umbrello. Linux Mint is by far the best of the four distros that my Asus has had.

Other Side of the Distro Tree

Trox's picture

I'd hate to jump to the other side of the distro tree, but have you tried Fedora? On my EeePC I jumped from Ubuntu, to openSuse to Mint and eventually landed on Fedora. Definitely not the distro of choice for all, but I couldn't be happier

Trox, I haven't tried fedora

Alfredo Covaleda Vélez's picture


I haven't tried fedora on my EeePC yet. I have used Fedora in Desktops and I think Fedora is one of the good choices if somebody wants an RPM based distribution. Now I'm in process of installing one distro per each one of the packages formats (rpm, deb and tgz) in different desktops. My elections are Fedora (rpm), Ubuntu (Deb) and Salix (tgz). Mint is the election to my netbook. And more and more each time I'm landing in GTK based environments.


I meant txz

Alfredo Covaleda Vélez's picture


By mistake I wrote tgz. Slackware package format is txz.


Not in a while

Doug.Roberts's picture

Trox, I prefer Debian package management to RPM based systems, so that's what I tend to stick to.


Not Mint problem

click's picture

Hi, I`ve never used Mint more like an bsd guy but if something you dosen`t even hit the bootloader it is not an OS problem more an bios/efi problem. As was pointed out earlier nvidia sucks. I`ve ever tough this is an journalists site and articles are tested and proven, how can you blame whole os and the community behind it without checking this to the core? Is that journalism for you?

Reread, please

Doug.Roberts's picture

It hit the bootloader. It booted, slooooowly. It behaved badly after loading.

Sorry, after 3 hours or so repeating the process to make sure it was actually happening the way I described, I concluded it was a Mint OS problem. If you can demonstrate that this was not the case I will happily devote a whole new article to your story.

Talking to you, click (not verified).


Not Mint problem

click's picture

Hi, I`ve looked into the issues you`re experiencing and found those for Ubuntu(Mint is derivate of Ubuntu right? )

SATA driver bug -
USB interrupt problem -

There is not bug report for the /dev/random USB interrupts so it still may not be fixed in Mint. The SATA driver bug is still not fixed, maybe you can simulate this even on UNE. Is this really an Mint issue? Yes, it is both Mint and Ubuntu issue, but the subject of your article and the lack of any proof in it regarding this is insulting.

p.s. And next time run Debian - cut the middleman ;)


Doug.Roberts's picture

Those could well be related to the problem I was experiencing, click.


Blogger fail

jackd's picture

By your own description you were having problems with the bios before the first byte was even read from the usb. And it took 28 minutes to load from the same usb stick that worked fine on other systems?

Uh, that's not a software problem.


Doug.Roberts's picture

I would agree with you, were your supposition not contravened by a couple of inconvenient facts, viz:

1) That very same Mint 9 USB drive infallibly booted my *other* AMD_64 box, and
2) My Ubuntu 10.04 UNE drive infallibly booted the problematic AMD_64 box.

Kinda sorta rules out hardware, IMO.


I'm confused what your BIOS

Anonymous's picture

I'm confused what your BIOS problems have to do with Mint?

You tell me

Doug.Roberts's picture

The Mint boot image's hardware detection capabilities, perhaps? All I know for sure is that the Mint 9 USB drive was not recognized as the primary boot device, and the Ubuntu 10.04 UNE USB drive booted without a hitch.

I have not encountered this particular installation problem before, and I have done a lot of Linux installs over the last 15 years. This installation problem is one that I have never seen previously.


Seems to be a lot of complaints with USB on GeForce 8200 systems

jhansonxi's picture

A lot of complaints with Windows users also.

M3N78-VM sucks

foobar's picture

I also have an M3N78-VM mobo and have had a number of problems with the USB ports on it. I've had obscure USB mouse lockups and unreliable behavior from USB mounted hard drives.

I have not tried booting from a USB stick in a while, but I'm not surprised by your symptoms.

Did you try plugging your memory stick into different ports on your machine? I've found that some ports work better than others (go figure!).

If I could afford it, I'd replace my motherboard with something that works reliably.

First time

Doug.Roberts's picture

Interesting. This was the first time I've had any problems with any USB device on mine. I do keep that M3N78-VM system upgraded to the latest rev. of its BIOS. If you have not done this I highly recommend that you do. It will solve a number of problems, including smoothing the video output to where it is darn near perfect. There are also a number of patches in the latest BIOS which fix (compared to the earlier BIOS revs) HDMI audio issues.


Glad to finally read articles

Trenchcoat's picture

Glad to finally read articles with headlines like this. Listen, I've been an Ubuntu fan for awhile, but when Ubuntu has problems I definitely call them out. Yet these Mint fanboys are just as insanely driven as Apple fanboys, and I've never quite figured out why. I half believe there's some kind of marketing/referral program involved (a lot of these fanboys seem to be the marketing/SEO sort).

Awhile back someone asked me what the difference between Mint and Ubuntu was: I told them Mint was to Ubuntu what Flock was to Firefox. The Mint fans didn't like that at all. I'd be surprised if you don't get a lot of harassment over this post, but this non-fanboy definitely applauds your truth-telling.


Paul Duncan's picture

I suspect I would have either opened the target box up and temporarily hooked up an IDE/SATA optical drive, or maybe tried a USB optical drive.

I am biased though. Mint has been my desktop OS (for work) for some time now.

Best Regards,


I try to be unbiased

Doug.Roberts's picture

I've installed and used lots of different distros, and I currently still have two machines running Mint 9, which I do like.

However, I am more than just a bit intolerant of things that don't work like they should. As to the install problem described in the article, I really have no idea why it failed, especially when that very same USB stick was successfully used for two other Mint installations, one of which was on a nearly identical hardware configuration.

The other problem I've experienced in Mint is described in a comment that I left on this article earlier today: the Startup Disk Creator tool produces corrupt boot images on both of my Mint systems. One is an AMD 64 machine, and the other is a 32-bit Intel Dell laptop. I had to rely on my Acer N450 netbook that was running Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.04 to create boot USB disks.

While I still like Mint, I don't trust it as much as I used to.