Linux Mint Fail

by Doug.Roberts

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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