Update Manager in Ubuntu 12.04 crashes with unresolvable problem! (Solved)

The buggy Ubuntu has become what used to be ‘Windows 95’ i.e. crashing without reason (or user stimuli) whatsoever. Rather falling under its own weight. I have already replaced Ubuntu Precise vanilla 12.04 with Linux Mint 13 on two computers. It appears that time has come for change that will be away from Ubuntu. There is nothing more annoying than working for first day after holidays and being greeted with a crash report. Today the Update Manager Crashed with following message and advice to report bug:

An unresolvable problem occurred while initializing the package information.

Please report this bug against the 'update-manager' package and include the following error message:

'E:Encountered a section with no Package: header, E:Problem with MergeList /var/lib/apt/lists/security.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_precise-security_main_i18n_Translation-en, E:The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.'

This is the error message from “apt-get update”:

Reading package lists... Error!
E: Encountered a section with no Package: header
E: Problem with MergeList /var/lib/apt/lists/security.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_precise-security_main_i18n_Translation-en
E: The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.

Executing following command

 sudo apt get install -f

merely repeated the above message.


It appears that it is a well-known bug and a persistent one. There is some mix-up in package lists. Executing following commands at Terminal deleted existing lists and resolved the problem:

sudo rm /var/lib/apt/lists/*

The above did give an error that it can not remove the ‘partial’ as it is directory. But we ignored it and updated the system manually from the terminal with following command:

sudo apt-get update

The update took longer but it resolved the problem for now. Thus started the New Year 2013.

© Sandeep Bhalla

Superblock read error| Diagnosing correct ext file system | Surviving fsck.ext3.ext4 messages in Precise Pangolin 12.04.

Finally it happened. My laptop was a bit slow yesterday evening as also in the morning. In the evening it simply did not boot. It has Precise Pangolin 12.04 with Cinnamon. Unity has not been removed. The message it displayed was:

General Error mounting filesystem.
A maintenance shell will now be started.
Control-D will terminate this shell................
sulogin.............etc. etc.

Apparently the disk could not be read. A typical File system error. After the boot loader hands over the command to OS, the first thing it reads from disk is called “Superblock” which includes the disk’s geometry information, available free space, and most important is the location of the first i-node i.e. beginning of disk.

Now I rebooted with Puppy Linux (A 200 MB Distro with everything we need) but it could not find Wifi radio driver on the Dell XPS laptop but it booted well and quick. Puppy did not have fsck.ext3 command. So I rebooted with Knoppix and tried this command on the Terminal:

       fsck.ext3 -n /dev/sda2

This was the output:

"Superblock could not be read or does not describe correct ext2 
filesystem. If the device is valid and really contains an ext2
filesystem (and not swap or ufs or something else), 
then superblock is corrupt, and you might try
...............alternate superblock"

fsck.ext4 helpIt also suggested a command with alternate superblock number but that could have ruined harddisk. It did once earlier. “fsck –help” was not helpful either. Actually it was but message was hidden and I did not notice the relevant part earlier.  So how I survived this time? Continue reading

Installing Cinnamon as alternative of Unity in Precise Pangolin 12.04

Unity v. Gnome 3 v. Cinnamon

Cinnamon at workUbuntu without Unity

The choices are so many that it is not easy to decide. For installing Gnome 3 check here. In my experience, the Linux Mint per say is somewhat slower than Precise Pangolin 12.04 with Cinnamon i.e. the same desktop used with Linux Mint. Therefore I decided to use Cinnamon directly on Precise Pangolin. This is how it is done:

Open terminal and run following command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwendal-lebihan-dev/cinnamon-stable

Now update repository and install cinnamon:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install cinnamon

On next log in choose cinnamon session and it is done.

Another way of installing cinnamon:

For any reason the above does not work or latest 1.4 version of cinnamon is not available from repository .deb package can be downloaded and installed. The link to 64 bit package is here and 32 bit package is here.

In case of any problem in installing the .deb packages read: Install/uninstall .deb files.

© Sandeep Bhalla