Linux promotion foiled by DVD drive

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Petermint
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Linux promotion foiled by DVD drive

Post by Petermint » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:39 pm

A project meeting. Part of it was to meet new people and promote Linux. ***** DVD drive failed. End of Linux promotion.

I use a DVD drive perhaps once per year. The drive worked in every version of Linux Mint prior to LM 18.3.x Usually I spin up a DVD and copy the files to the notebook's disk so there is no chance of a problem. This time I was given the DVD at short notice and thought "the drive has always worked".

The other people were not impressed by Linux. I ended up not telling them I am using Linux. Have you had those "Linux moments"?

Fortunately there was a Windows computer available. I copied the files from the DVD to a USB stick. Afterwards I remembered I had an old Windows dual boot option. Fortunately I did not resort to that in the meeting as that would highlight the problem with Linux.

This is a bit like those presenters who turn up at conferences with Apple notebooks shining the logo out over the audience. In the background are a bunch of people working hard to fix the Apple incompatibilities. Linux is far more reliable.

The main problem is the error reversions after an upgrade. Really weird things break again. When I searched for the error messages from the DVD drive, I found reports going back to 2004. The problem was fixed back in 2004 then pops up again in various distributions of Linux.

Could the beta testing of a new Linux release be guided by a list of things to test? Something like:
"This release changes the CD driver. Please test plug in CD drives."

I thought about booting up LM 19 beta for testing. What I have not worked out is how to find the upstream changes. Are any connected to optical drives? Is there a page explaining how to search through the changes in a release at the Ubuntu level?

The next time I show off Linux, I will go back to testing everything a few days ahead. Just in case!

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Re: Linux promotion foiled by DVD drive

Post by Pjotr » Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:58 am

Nasty experience.... Are you quite sure that it wasn't simply technical failure at the hardware level? Meaning: DVD rot or mechanical drive failure?
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Re: Linux promotion foiled by DVD drive

Post by Petermint » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:33 am

The hardware is unlikely to have an error as it works perfectly in Windows. The DVD might have a slightly different format as the DVD is from a new source. The new source is using an old computer so the DVD formatting would not be that new.

I find the Linux regressions strange when they are for things like DVD drives because DVDs have not changed for years. The drive is over five years old. Optical drives were a pain in Windows when they were first used because Microsoft decided to switch from real IO to memory mapping without actually spending any time to make memory mapping work. That was back in the dark ages when Microsoft thought Vista was a good idea.

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Re: Linux promotion foiled by DVD drive

Post by Pjotr » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:34 am

Can you read the DVD in Windows, using the same drive?
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Re: Linux promotion foiled by DVD drive

Post by majpooper » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:56 am

Petermint,
You mean you didn't even do a "dry run" or "walk through" prior?
Lesson learned I hope.

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Re: Linux promotion foiled by DVD drive

Post by Petermint » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:48 pm

Can you read the DVD in Windows, using the same drive?
Yes, I copied the files from the DVD to a USB stick using the same drive plugged into a Windows 7 machine.
You mean you didn't even do a "dry run" or "walk through" prior?
The DVD was not available when I stepped through everything else. If it was, I would have copied the files from the DVD to disk with all the other files.

DVDs are rare now. I used to buy boxes of 100 to hand out FOSS at training sessions. Bulk packs of USB sticks with your logo on the side replaced DVDs. Now you email the files to everyone. The DVD was a surprise.

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Re: Linux promotion foiled by DVD drive

Post by gm10 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:18 am

Petermint wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:39 pm
I use a DVD drive perhaps once per year. The drive worked in every version of Linux Mint prior to LM 18.3.x

[...}

Could the beta testing of a new Linux release be guided by a list of things to test? Something like:
"This release changes the CD driver. Please test plug in CD drives."

I thought about booting up LM 19 beta for testing. What I have not worked out is how to find the upstream changes. Are any connected to optical drives? Is there a page explaining how to search through the changes in a release at the Ubuntu level?
You are not new to Linux so you know that kernel upgrades mean driver changes and thus the potential for issues. It's the same with Windows. I'm not quite sure what Mint version you are saying you had the problem with but every Mint version number change usually means a kernel version change as well so of course you should make sure your system is actually compatible with that kernel, usually easiest by testing a live USB first before doing the upgrade.

The warning you are looking for is always part of the release notes of every Mint release including the current beta:
Linux Mint Release Notes wrote:Each new version comes with a new kernel and a newer set of drivers. Most of the time, this means newer versions are compatible with a larger variety of hardware components, but sometimes it might also introduce regressions. If you are facing hardware issues with the latest version of Linux Mint and you are unable to solve them, you can always try an earlier release. If that one works better for you, you can stick to it, or you can use it to install Linux Mint and then upgrade to the newer release.

For more specifics you'll have to look up Linux kernel changelogs, Mint 19 is built on a v4.15 kernel, Mint 18.3 a v4.10 kernel.

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Re: Linux promotion foiled by DVD drive

Post by Petermint » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:46 am

I understand the version change from 18 to 19. I did a fresh install from 17 to 18 and tested stuff. The drive worked in 18 or 18.1. I did not test when updating from 18.2 to 18.3 and may not have checked after 18.1 to 18.2. What I did test were some known past problems with hibernation, sound, backlight control, and multiple displays.

My version test check list has expanded by one item and I wil apply it for minor versions as well as major releases. I will also add scanner, printer, USB 3 backup disks because of the USB 3 chip problems, Garmin watch, phone, headphones, camera, ... :shock:

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Re: Linux promotion foiled by DVD drive

Post by gm10 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:03 am

Yep, minor versions usually upgrade the kernel as well, so things can go wrong. Luckily it's rare.

On a side note, from the way you described it I wasn't entirely sure whether your issue was really with the drive itself or just with that specific DVD, i.e. can other DVDs still be read/written? If the latter is true then it may be worth finding out what format/file system was written to the problematic one to see if there is a solution. If it really matters. As you said, the world has moved on to flash drives, I don't think I've even used the optical drive once in my current laptop.

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Re: Linux promotion foiled by DVD drive

Post by Petermint » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:37 am

I opened a video DVD with no problems. Must be the file system. Will leave the disk until I need another disk from the same source, which could be a long time.

Might be nano technology by then. Drives made secure by the simple fact that they are so small, nobody can find them. :D

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