Ubuntu 11.10 Upgrade Hell – Part 1: Boot hangs

Oct 18th, 2011 | By | Category: Linux / Freebsd

After running the upgrade to Ubuntu 11.10 and rebooting my boot service is hanging completely.  Right now it mainly stops at Starting CUPS printing Spooler/Server and if I leave it there for a couple of hours it sometimes makes it to Stopping anac(h)ronistic cron.   After trying 100 different solutions the end result was to sudo apt-get remove fglrx* . This got me past that hang but now the boot sequence will hang at ‘Stopping System V runlevel comaptibility’ for about 3 minutes and then will hang at ‘Stopping Read equired files in advance’ .


  1. For this I need to boot into recovery mode but upon doing so I notice the lack of a netroot option.  To fix this you need to select the remount option which will remount your drives in r/w mode and then ask you to press enter which takes you back to the recovery Menu.  From there we can go into netroot.
  2. Inside netroot I run sudo apt-get update but of course that isn’t going to work because why would my nic want to work properly at all.
    • First I check that my nic is actually working as it hasn’t at all up until the 11.10 release on my Acer aspider 5253 E350 laptop.  Upon checking where the cat5 goes into the laptop I’m greeted by a green light.  So that’s good
    • Let’s make sure that my laptop can see the nic by typing lspci and scanning for any reference to a nic.   Sure enough I can see my Atheros AR9287 come up as well as my Atheros AR8151 wifi nic.  But I’m not going to bother fiddling with the wireless nic just now, if I can get my ethernic nic working then I’ll be happy.
    • Now I was to check if my nic is being acknowledged properly beyond just recognizing the hardware by typing ifconfig -a.  The first entry is eth0 with a good amount of info, after that is lo.  wlan0 is not coming up at all, an even better reason not to bother with it for now if I don’t have to.  There’s no IP address assigned to my nic as of yet so while the system see’s it and is talking to it it doesn’t know how to communicate with the outside work just yet.
    • Let’s make sure that my dhcp client is running by typing service smbd start , which outputs a beautiful PID and now I can ping google.
      • Funny enough though is that when I rebooted and tried this again I was greeted by smbd main process ended, respawning about 10 times before it told me that smbd was respawning too fast and killed it for good.  in my smbd.log file I see that it’s unable to connect to the CUPS server with a file not found.  I’m not sure if any of that is related but if I run ‘dhclient eth0′ first and then run ‘service smbd start’ second then it statrs
    • Finally I can update and upgrade.  So first thing is apt-get update followed by apt-get upgrade .  Lo and behond I have 47 packages that need upgrading.. Off to the races
    • This didn’t seem to fix the problem so after connecting samba I went back into the recovery console and ran dpkg – repair packages and was able to upgrade an additional 7 packages.  But of course this didn’t fix my issue.
  3. The update and upgrade didn’t seen to solve anything, as a safety precaution I also removed all of my video drivers with apt-get remove fglrx* .  My boot now hangs for about 5 minutes at Stopping System V runlevel Compatability, then will hang for another 5 minutes or so at Stopping read required files in Advance and finally will hang indefinitely at Stopping anac(h)ronistic cron.  Joy!  Ctrl-C does nothing.. Ctrl-Alt-Delete will reboot but I can switch to another tty with alt-f1 which allows me some access
  4. I’ve reached a bit of a deadend at this point trying to figure out why the boot is hanging so I’m going to tackle all of the error messages I’m seeing during my boot sequence.  Starting with this one:  Starting ftp server proftpd
    - mod_tls/2.4.2: compiled using OpenSSL version 'OpenSSL 1.0.0d 8 Feb 2011' headers, but linked to OpenSSL version 'OpenSSL 1.0.0e 6 Sep 2011' library
    - Fatal: LoadModule: error loading module 'mod_vroot.c': Operation not permitted on line 74 of '/etc/proftpd/modules.
    • this thread states that I need to install  but this page indicates this si more of an warning message than an error and that proftpd is running fine.  Would rather not have this message but the solution in the first mentioned thread doesn’t solve it and there’s no real solution out there for this that works for me so to hell with it.
  5. So while my boot sequence seems to hang i am fully able to alt-f1 to different tty’s and while in tty1 I ran sudo service gdm start and viola! GDM starts up.  However during my next reboot the issue still remains where I have to go into tty1 and manually start gdm
  6. I re-configred X to load lightdm instead of gdm and now it boots fine, although I’m forced to use lightdm instead of gdm for now.. both GDM and lightdm have the same problems on my machine so I figure the easiest route is just going to make the switch to lightdm(it does have some cool ass features in all fairness) and get it to work 100% the way I want it to(aka: bend it to my will).  To do that I re-installed lightdm: sudo apt-get install lightdm and then told it to use lightdm as the default greeter.  If you already have lightdm installed you can reconfigure it with this command: sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm
And there we have it, stage one of hell has be successfully navigated.  It only took 7 hours or so to do it, but thankfully it is done and I am not migrating away from ubuntu just yet.
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9 Comments to “Ubuntu 11.10 Upgrade Hell – Part 1: Boot hangs”

  1. EdwinM says:

    I was also having problems after upgrading to ubuntu 11.10. One of those was with the ftp server. Like you it showed me this message:
    – Fatal: LoadModule: error loading module ‘mod_vroot.c’: Operation not permitted on line

    And after going to the ubuntu software and searching for “proftpd-mod-vroot” and installing the package it worked.


  2. Nj says:

    I still don’t understand why it’s not possible to abort startup scripts with CTRL-C like it used to be with my old Debian installation.. SIGINT must be trapped somewhere, but where? It should never be necessary to jump through all these hoops to fix a simple startup script problem.

  3. admin says:

    That’s exactly why I’m migrating off of this horseshit OS to Debian.. To hell with Ubuntu.

    But you think that’s bad, for whatever reason ctrl-C doesnt’ abort 1/2 of the commands in BSD through SSH which is awesome when you try to locate a file that ends up showing up in 50 000 directories and there’s no way to abort the process until it’s done listing everything.. Why do these people strive to make our lives a living hell sometimes?

  4. rick says:

    This is ALL U*Buntu screw ups, and we’re not talkin a MINOR issue, we’re talkin’ ’bout the ability to reboot/restart the system via *Buntu !!!
    Geezus mcchrist FIX this BUMTU, just FIX this NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    This is freekin ridiculous !
    wtf is goin on here, ?!

  5. maddhater says:

    This was extremely helpful. Thanks

  6. Vincent says:

    yeah, like switching to Debian helps. Ubuntu is based on Debian, expect the same upgrade issues.
    Upgrading has always been and still is a PITA.
    For example, I had no starting X after going from 11.04 to 11.10.
    Figured out I had to install the nvidia binary driver i used, since it was not installed.
    Installed nvidia-current, no driver! Turned out the kernel-headers needed to be installed as well.
    after that it worked.

  7. Datajunkie says:

    I have decided that I am switching to mint. But I am have grown very tired of script kiddies who have no idea about true development vs. programming pushing the main developers away from *.nix platforms. If I was a man of unlimited means I would go around buy up all the destros and force them to have a quality control standard. Doing Quality Control and pretending to do Quality Control are very different things…

    Using ubuntu has been a never ending series of pointless problems and stupid issues that could have been ratified easily and have been ignored….

    Screw Ubuntu and its community! You give Linux a bad name!

  8. admin says:

    I tried the same thing last month and I’ll tell you what Mint is NOT for me. I switched from Ubuntu to Debian a while ago and out of frustration of how outdated so many of the packages are I did my research and felt that Mint would be a nice middle ground between my puritan desires for linux and staying up to date. What a mistake that was, I was horribly dissapointed with mint.

    If you are looking for another distro to go to go to Debian, go to the foundation upon which Mint and Ubuntu are built. Debian is pure as pure can be and you have so much freedom for how you want to mold your OS to your needs. That and the performance increase is insane versus ubuntu doing what I do

  9. tucci says:

    thank you so much my friend. had the same headache. you saved my night by making me switch back to lightdm. thanks a lot! I extremely appreciate it!

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