Fresh Trisquel installation shows mystical signs

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Lorenz
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Recently I bought a new laptop to experiment a little.
It's a HP 250 G4.
I've switched the HDD to a new SSD and installed Trisquel with the NetInstall image (also tried it with the standard 1.5GB image) burned on a CD. I've also verified the MD5sum and the GPG key, just to be sure the files are not broken. The installation process works just fine, everything is normal as it should be.
But then after the first reboot the display shows some strange signs and freezes at picture 3 until I press the power button to turn the laptop off. I've attached some photos.

Do you have any idea where this is coming from? I've got no idea. Never seen this before on any other machine of mine.

I'm also using another Laptop from Asus where I used the same techniques and everything works just fine here.

Thanks for any help!

AttachmentSize
1.JPG1.14 MB
2.JPG661.32 KB
3.JPG538.03 KB
onpon4
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What that looks like to me is the text version of what's shown at boot, followed by a login prompt, but all rendered incorrectly. Can't say I know what's causing it, though.

pragmatist

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I like onpon4's idea.
What happens if:
1.) you try to switch virtual terminals with Ctrl-Alt-F3 (or F1, F2, F4, F5, or F6)?

2.) You type in your username, hit Enter, then type in your password and hit Enter?

Lorenz
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I think you two are right.
By switching the virtual terminals there isn't really anything to see.
But it looks like I can log in with my user, created while the installation progress.
After I type in my user name and my password, I can adumbrate the Trisquel “writing” which shows after you normally log in. (see picture 4)

So it's a problem by the graphics rendering?

Just tested to start Trisquel from the CD/DVD without installing it. (using the “Try Trisquel mini without installation” option after booting from the CD/DVD) This strangely works perfectly. But why? Are there not that much resources needed?

4.JPG
pragmatist

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What happens if you try to start the GUI with:
sudo start lightdm
hit Enter
type in password
hit Enter

Then, if the screen is still black with white writing, try Ctrl-Alt-f7

Actually, maybe try Ctrl-Alt-f7 first and see if it is already started.

Lorenz
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After starting lightdm the entire screen turns black, only one little underscore character remains in the top left corner. The underscore is not flashing and it doesn't seem to react to any keyboard entries.
Ctrl-Alt-F7 does not do anything.

When I press Ctrl-Alt-F7 (without starting lightdm manually) it shows the same weird underscore as mentioned above.

lembas
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If you boot the "try without installing" option and then open a terminal and run lspci, perhaps attaching the output here might contain some clue.

Also is the kernel version different on the live cd and the install? Check the /boot/ folders of the live cd and the install. Does the live cd use any extra kernel parameters, check /proc/cmdline

Lorenz
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I noticed about every 10th reboot of the installed system it starts normally, wtf?
When Trisquel starts correctly (the displayed characters are normally readable), a short time before gdm starts up the login screen, I can read these lines:
Trisquel 7.0
. . . .[83.219575] 1-5.3: Missing Free firmware
. . . .[96.479072] 0000:03:00.0: Missing Free firmware

According to lspci 03:00.0 is the wirelesscard. I knew this card would not work with free drivers.
But what is the device named 1-5.3? And why is there a missing firmware? As far as I know firmware runs on the device itself and the os needs a driver to communicate with the device. So missing driver ok, but missing firmware?

The lspci -nnk output is attached.

Yes, the kernel versions are different:
uname -r (live CD)
3.13.0-39-lowlatency
uname -r (installation)
3.13.0-85-generic
Should I try changing the installed kernel to lowlatency?
BTW: my Asus laptop also runs 3.13.0-85-lowlatency. I didn't manually change this from generic to lowlatency, so why is there the lowlatency kernel automatically installed, and on the HP not?

ls /boot/ (live CD)
abi-3.13.0-39-lowlatency
config-3.13.0-39-lowlatency
grub
System.map-3.13.0-39-lowlatency

ls /boot/ (installation)
abi-3.13.0-85-generic
config-3.13.0-85-generic
grub
initrd.img-3.13.0-85-generic
System.map-3.13.0-85-generic
vmlinuz-3.13.0-85-generic

Content of /proc/cmdline (live CD)
cdrom-detect/try-usb=true persistent file=/cdrom/preseed/trisquel.seed initrd=/casper/initrd boot=casper splash quiet noprompt –

Content of /proc/cmdline (installation)
BOOT_IMAGE=/boot/vmlinuz-3.13.0-85-generic root=UUID=cac116c5-daa4-4150-80ce-5580a9165c26 ro splash quiet nomdmonddf nomdmonisw

AttachmentSize
lspci-nnk.txt 1.99 KB
Lorenz
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No, I was wrong, according to lspci 03:00.0 is the LAN Ethernet controller. But I couldn't detect any problems using a LAN connection.
The wireless card is 02:00.0.

lembas
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> I noticed about every 10th reboot of the installed system it starts normally, wtf?

Do you dual/multiboot? Other OSes might load proprietary firmware/microcode.

> Should I try changing the installed kernel to lowlatency?

I don't think that's related but try older or newer (Linux-libre) kernels.

Lorenz
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> Do you dual/multiboot?
No, I don't use multiboot. There is no other os installed on the hard drive only Trisquel.

> I don't think that's related but try older or newer (Linux-libre) kernels.
I also installed a 4.something kernel with the net install image. But same thing here.

pragmatist

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It wouldn't surprise me if you need to pass some parameter to GRUB. That isn't something I know much about.

I have switched fonts in a virtual terminal before using setfont.

Make sure you are logged in the way you did before, and type:

setfont /usr/share/consolefonts/Lat7-Terminus28x14.psf

hit Enter

Lorenz
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The setfont command seems to change the font in the background, but now I see bold signs instead of thin signs. The signs look almost the same though.

pragmatist

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When you are accessing the system using the live CD, what output do you get when you run dmesg and what can you find in the /var/log files

pragmatist

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also, have you tried resetting the terminal by typing:
reset

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This person has a similar problem. It looks like modifying the initramfs may be a solution.

https://askubuntu.com/questions/629922/linux-full-disk-encryption-password-prompt-completely-unreadable same problem:

pragmatist

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When you say, "I've switched the HDD to a new SSD"

What do you mean exactly? This is a laptop correct? So is the SSD running off USB? What happens if you use the original HDD for the installation?

loldier
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I think the OP pried off the bottom cover and replaced the original HDD with a new SSD. Unlike many Macs, some new laptops are user-repairable.

http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c04653884

pragmatist

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Does that mean he can put back the original and try installing on it?

loldier
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Well, naturally.

Here's a video.

https://youtu.be/ey6KxAly9cQ

pragmatist

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Then my recommendation was that he try that.

loldier
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The video shows it's possible to open that can of worms. It's not something one would like to rinse and repeat but it's doable provided that the plastic tabs can take it repetitively without breaking.

Lorenz
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Yeah it's like loldier said, I've exchanged the internal 500GB HDD with a new 120GB SSD. The hard drive is connected via SATA. Yesterday evening I've thought the same thing and plugged the 500GB HDD back in and installed Trisquel on it, but same thing here.
I also plugged the SSD into another pc of mine, there everything worked as it should. So sadly a defect hard drive it's the case.

Currently I'm trying to install from a USB drive I got from a friend. I don't think the installation media will change anything. Let's see what happens ...

pragmatist

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"I also plugged the SSD into another pc of mine, there everything worked as it should."

When you say that everything worked, do you mean that you could run your Trisquel install from the SSD but on your PC? If not, then how did you test the SSD drive?

Lorenz
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Yes!
Back when the SSD was still in the laptop, I installed Trisquel from the CD onto the SSD (the SSD was the only hard drive build in).
Then I started the installed Trisquel from that SSD → the mythic signs showed up
So I opend the case of the laptop back up and unplugged the SSD. At home I've got another computer where I plugged the SSD into and tried starting Trisquel from the SSD. Here everything was fine, the console was readable and the GUI was starting.

As I said, I tried to install Trisquel from a USB drive. Tow times. But every time the installation of grub to /dev/sda failed. Maybe there was a error copying the files to the USB drive? I have to give it another shot.

After the next successful installation I can give you more information about the reset command, logfiles and the output of dmesg. I'll also try to install the system on an external USB hard drive as you mentioned.

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Also, I'd forgotten about replacing a hd in a laptop. Even though I did it to a thinkpad back in 2004 along with changing the RAM. Aside from the internal changes, I remember I added an external sound card and a bunch of other stuff. In the end I would have been better off buying a new laptop! Although the thinkpad did work great for at least 5 more years. It was still working well, but it got to the point where the processor was so old it fell below the minimum requirements of most new software.

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Another alternative would be to install on a USB hard drive. I've done that with Trisquel (as well as on my desktop and laptop). If the OP has a usb HD or usb thumb drive, that would be a worthwhile experiment. Even if the OP doesn't have a thumb drive, you can buy one for less than $10

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What is revealing here is that your laptop works with Trisquel when using the Live CD! In thinking methodically about what the difference is, I see it as follows:

1.) It is the difference in media, which you are examining now. I agree that it is probably not the answer.

2.) The content of the install compared to what is on the Live CD.

In this second case, it may be that the install does not have the modules or drivers that are on the Live CD. In other words, the install is not installing those modules/drivers even though they are available on the Live CD.

One solution in this case is probably to load the relevant modules/drivers manually. To do that, you need to know what they are or have a method of finding out what they are. Checking out the modules loaded by the LiveCD may give a clue.

My previous post with the link about initramfs may be your best bet since the symptoms that person was experiencing were similar to yours.

At this point I believe my experience has run out and I defer to the many people here that are more qualified than I am to address this!

The various recommendations I've made regarding testing and gathering of information have hopefully given you more data to present to those people.

Good luck, and if I think of anything else I will let you know.

runner8
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The letters deformed to the start also has happened me to me in a laptop and can be as they indicate you up by render graphics or something like this

You can try the following:

- it Starts from a CD/USB *live and opens a terminal

$ sudo -i

# fdisk -l ## And it looks that partition is *root in your installation, for example: /dev/sda1

# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt

# for i in /sys /proc /run /dev /dev/pts; do sudo mount --bind "$i" "/mnt$i"; done

# cp /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/etc

# mount --bind /dev /mnt/dev && mount --bind /dev/pts /mnt/dev/pts && mount --bind /proc /mnt/proc && mount --bind /sys /mnt/sys

# chroot /mnt

# apt update

# apt dist-upgrade

# grub-install /dev/sda ["sda" or the name of the disk where finds the system]

# update-grub

# update-initramfs -u

# exit && reboot

and a lot of luck

Magic Banana

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Doing the same up to (and including) the 'chroot', Lorenz can then try to install a newer kernel: https://trisquel.info/en/wiki/update-linux-libre-kernel

Lorenz
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I tried the procedure runner8 mentioned. But sadly nothing changes. Could one of you please explain to me what's the aim behind this? I don't get the idea of this loop.

Next I'll test the the same thing but trying to install a newer kernel like Magic Banana said.
(I already installed a 4.somthing kernel with the NetInstall image but that didn't make a change)

Magic Banana

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The loop mounts virtual filesystems that 'grub-install' requires.

If you have already tried a 4.x kernel, I am afraid trying yet another version will not solve the issue. :-S

Lorenz
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Ahh ok, thanks!

Ok then I can skip the installation of another kernel.

SuperTramp83

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I remember I had a very similar issue when I tried to install GNU on my sister's old lapy with an nvidia GPU. I had just a few hours to do it for she lives far from me and I did not manage, the text on the screen was gibberish and there were also several glitches and artifacts on screen. I think what you got there is related to your GPU.

pragmatist

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Did you follow up on this post I made:

This person has a similar problem. It looks like modifying the initramfs may be a solution.

https://askubuntu.com/questions/629922/linux-full-disk-encryption-password-prompt-completely-unreadable same problem:

It posts this picture which looks like the pictures you gave us: http://postimg.org/image/bp8vz3u5x/

Lorenz
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Thanks for all your help guys I appreciate it very much!

I tried to reset the terminal by using the command “reset”. It looks similar to my working Asus, but the signs are still here (first a black screen and then about a second later the prompt returns).

The output of dmesg is attached.

What log files do you what to look at? Syslog?

Now to the similar problem on askubuntu:
At first I thought the problem with the display occurs randomly. As I described above some times Trisquel starts normally but more often this gibberish shows up.
About every 10th reboot Trisquel starts normally.
But now after reading the answer in askubuntu I notices the first reboot after installing Trisquel always works. I just installed updates then. Many updates. It seems to be the case as WillHaley described: “I assume this issue presented itself to you "after a few updates" because one of those updates triggered a rebuild of initramfs without the necessary video driver.” (But still after these updates Trisquel sometimes starts correctly)
So I compared the output of “lsinitramfs /initrd.img” and “lsinitramfs /initrd.img.old” with diff. Also attached (diff.txt). The rebuild of initramfs seems to remove quiet some stuff. But to be honest I can't really do anything with this. Can you?
Scrolling through diff.txt I noticed the following lines:
< lib/modules/3.13.0-39-lowlatency/kernel/drivers/gpu/drm/i915
< lib/modules/3.13.0-39-lowlatency/kernel/drivers/gpu/drm/i915/i915.ko
So I tried to add combinations like

lib/modules/3.13.0-39-lowlatency/kernel/drivers/gpu/drm/i915
lib/modules/3.13.0-39-lowlatency/kernel/drivers/gpu/drm/i915/i915.ko

or

/etc/mkinitcpio.conf
MODULES="i915"

or

lib/modules/3.13.0-39-lowlatency/kernel/drivers/gpu/drm/i915
lib/modules/3.13.0-39-lowlatency/kernel/drivers/gpu/drm/i915/i915.ko
/etc/mkinitcpio.conf
MODULES="i915"

to /etc/initramfs-tools/modules. (did this via the live system started from the CD)
Then I restarted back into the gibberish. There I logged in with my user name and may password. Then I executed “sudo update-initramfs -u”. Typed my password again and rebooted. But still the same thing …
I'm completely unexperienced with initramfs so if I did something wrong, let me know.
Also I'm not quiet sure if the i915 driver suits my Intel Celeron N3050 Graphics Unit.

I also tried adding
video=i915:modeset=1 i915.i915_enable_rc6=1 i915.lvds_downclock=1 i915.i915_enable_fbc=1 pcie_aspm=force
to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT property in /etc/default/grub and updated grub. This procedure was described here: http://www.backtrack-linux.org/forums/showthread.php?t=48904

Until now I didn't test runner8's assumption. I will do this next.

If I described something not good enough to understand, please let me know I will give my best to reformulate it in other words.
Do you require any more information?

AttachmentSize
dmesg.txt 48.09 KB
diff.txt 100.12 KB
pragmatist

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Well,
the last line of dmesg says it can't mount some removable media. Do
you have a USB device attached?

The thing is, you are saying the laptop works perfectly when run off the
liveCD. Let's compare the modules. Use the LiveCD to access the
/proc/modules file that is on the HD and post that here. Then, while
using the LiveCD, type: lsmod and post the output here. We will then
compare what modules are loaded in each case.

Lorenz
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You are right I had a USB drive attached and unplugged it without unmounting it properly.
I executed dmesg again without the USB drive and attached the output again. The last line has disappeared.

But there are still these lines:
[ 8.479878] usb 1-5.3: new full-speed USB device number 4 using xhci_hcd
[ 8.493564] usb 1-5.3: New USB device found, idVendor=0a5c, idProduct=216d
[ 8.493573] usb 1-5.3: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
[ 8.493578] usb 1-5.3: Product: BCM43142A0
[ 8.493582] usb 1-5.3: Manufacturer: Broadcom Corp
[ 8.493586] usb 1-5.3: SerialNumber: 606DC7E93E3A
There is no USB device attached to the laptop from the outside. Strangely this 1-5.3 device is the one I stumble upon yesterday: . . . .[83.219575] 1-5.3: Missing Free firmware
What is this device?

The /proc/ folder on the hard drive is completely empty. It exists but there's no content in it. Already installed Trisquel another time, maybe the commands by runner8 deleted them (I don't get this binding), but this folder is still empty.
I've attached the output of lsmod generated using the liveCD.

AttachmentSize
dmesg-new.txt 46.39 KB
lsmod.txt 3.3 KB
pragmatist

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This file: lsmod.txt is it from the hard drive install, or the LiveCD? My guess is that it is from the LiveCD, since you can't run commands so easily when you are in the hard drive installation. When you use the LiveCD and mount the hard drive, navigate the hard drive and find the file /proc/modules and post a copy of it here. Then we can compare it to lsmod.txt and see where they differ.

Lorenz
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Yes the lsmod.txt was generated by the live system running from the CD.

pragmatist

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"The /proc/ folder on the hard drive is completely empty."

That doesn't sound good. Did you format the drive? What file system did you put on it?

Lorenz
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I started up Trisquel from the CD without installing it. Then I mounted the internal hard drive where I had installed Trisquel on, but the /proc/ folder does not have any content.

> Did you format the drive?
While the installation I choose the whole drive to be used, so the installer would create new partitions I assume (I didn't manually format the hard drive, because the installer normally overwrites everything itself by creating new partitions) and copied all necessary data. I didn't manually configure the partitions while installation. That's why I don't understand why this directory is empty.

> What file system did you put on it?
I don't understand the question. What do you mean by “what file system”?

pragmatist

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What I was referring to was the state of the drive before installation. From what you are telling me, it sounds like the drive was brand new with nothing on it. Then the installer formated, installed a file system, etc...

Well we did make progress. The live CD has a non-empty /proc directory and it works. My system has a non-empty /proc directory and it works. Your HD has an empty /proc directory and it doesn't work.

Fixing that may or may not solve the whole problem. But I think it is a strong clue. I'm going to STFW and give more experienced people a chance to help.

Magic Banana

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I started up Trisquel from the CD without installing it. Then I mounted the internal hard drive where I had installed Trisquel on, but the /proc/ folder does not have any content.

That is perfectly normal. /proc only provides an interface to access information about the kernel and the processes that are running. It only contains "files" when the kernel is running and those are not "regular files" (in UNIX and derivatives, anything is a "file"). It relates to absolutely nothing on the disk.