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Sylvia 18.3 disaster [SOLVED]

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:06 am
by riki
Suddenly, 18.3/mate/32-bit won't start and I've had to install Sonya 18.2 (dual partition) to recover my home files. Have had glitches with Sylvia from day one but never expected it to break. I keep trying to logon but no joy. Any ideas?

Re: Sylvia 18.3 disaster

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:20 am
by Sir Charles
Your logon problem is most probably due to the updates to some Virtualbox related packages the other day, if you have upgraded to 18.3 from an earlier version. Many people have had similar problems as yours. From your login screen you
could use Ctrl-Alt-F1 to launch a virtuale console. You would need to login with your username and password and then execute

Code: Select all

apt remove virtualbox-guest*
Once done, press Ctrl-Alt-F7 or F8 to get back to your graphical interface and reboot your computer.
(See: viewtopic.php?f=90&t=266478)

Re: Sylvia 18.3 disaster

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:47 am
by riki
Many thanks Marziano. I'll try your instructions later today when I get back home.

Re: Sylvia 18.3 disaster

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:58 am
by riki
It did the job. Thanks again Marziano. From now on I will only update levels 1 and 2.

Re: Sylvia 18.3 disaster

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:22 am
by karlchen
riki wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:58 am
It did the job. Thanks again Marziano. From now on I will only update levels 1 and 2.
This is a completely counterproductive conclusion and the absolutely wrong thing to do.

The problem with the upgrade of the packages virtualbox-guest-dkms, virtualbox-guest-utils and virtualbox-guest-x11, was absolutely unrelated to their Linux Mint stability level 3, which has been assigned to them in Update Manager.

The problem was caused by 2 factors, one of which has been known for a long time, and one of which does not seem to have been cleared up, yet:
  • The mistake which had been known for a long time is:
    When installing Linux Mint 18/18.1/18.2 from scratch, the Linux Mint installer incorrectly installed the virtualbox-guest packages even in all those cases, where Linux Mint was not being installed inside a virtual machine at all.
    You do not need the virtualbox-guest packages if you are running on bare metal.
    Yet, for a long time the mere presence of the virtualbox-guest packages on bare metal had not caused any kind of malfunctioning.
  • The factor which has not been identified, yet:
    Then virtualbox-guest packages update to version 5.1.34-dfsg-0ubuntu1.16.04.2 arrived.
    Something inside the updated packages behave differently from the previous versions. This changed behaviour causes severe malfunction on Linux Mint 18.x
    You may not be able to login to the graphical desktop at all.
    Or you may be able to login; but then you learn that your graphical desktop malfunctions, like was the case on my Mint 18.x xfce e.g.
    The reason, why exactly the virtualbox-guest packages version 5.1.34-dfsg-0ubuntu1.16.04.2 cause such severe problems on Linux Mint systems running on bare metal has not been determined.
Yet, it is very clear that the problem is limited precisely to the virtualbox-guest packages version 5.1.34-dfsg-0ubuntu1.16.04.2.

The reason why so many Linux Mint 18.x users are affected has been explained above: because the virtualbox-guest packages come pre-installed on all Linux Mint 18.x installations. Exception 18.3, provided it has been installed from scratch and is not an upgrade from a previous Mint 18.x installation.

Rejecting all level 3 update packages as a consequence is the absolutely wrong conclusion and decision. You pour out the baby with the bathing water. You cut yourself off from a lot of bugfixes and security fixes in a lot of software packages, just because of 1 single update gone wrong. This is short-sighted.

Next time a level 1 update may cause problems and your conslusion will be switching off Update Manager completely. Hurray.

Re: Sylvia 18.3 disaster [SOLVED]

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:58 am
by riki
Thanks Marziano. I have reinstated Level 3.