Dancing with the Disco Dingo

Didn’t have to reach too far for that title! 🙂

Time for the spring sports update! After a record-setting season (winning 62 games and the President’s Trophy for the first time in franchise history), the Lightning imploded and got swept out of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in embarrassing fashion by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Ugh. No Cavs (or even Lebron!) in the NBA playoffs this year, so I’m not watching any basketball. That leaves just baseball: at 14-5, the Rays have the best record in baseball three weeks into the season while the Indians were off to a slow start but are still above .500 at 11-7.

What else? Oh right, it’s mid-April which means it’s time for the latest Ubuntu release, 19.04 Disco Dingo.

Unlike the past few upgrades (like back in October) I had a few issues with this one! The actual process of running do-release-upgrade was fine (download the new packages, execute the reconfiguration, re-apply customizations to affected configuration files, reboot the server, etc.). But it was after the reboot I started having problems.

First, my text-only console boot wasn’t working. I’ve said I run Ubuntu on a “headless” server but I actually have an old monitor hooked up to it in the closet for emergencies. Watching the server boot, I realized the display was now showing a graphical login screen instead of the text version. Worse, I couldn’t log in via the graphical screen, it kept saying “failed to start session.” Luckily I could still SSH in and poke around. First, I re-applied my changes to /etc/default/grub:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="text ipv6.disable=1 net.ifnames=0"

But even after update-grub I was still getting the graphical login screen. After some Google searching, doing a sudo systemctl set-default multi-user.target finally seemed to fix it.

Next, I kept getting disconnected from the server and then couldn’t reconnect. I figured out the server was going to sleep/suspend mode! But even after waking it up (by pressing the power button on the NUC, which was flashing orange) I could not get it to reconnect to the network so I had to completely reboot. I tracked this problem down to NetworkManager. I determined that a bunch of extra packages were installed that I don’t need on a server, like network-manager and modemmanager. So I apt-get removed‘ed them and that fixed the sleep problem.

I do occasionally use VNC so I can run graphical apps like calibre or kmttg. After the upgrade, I could run vncserver (which apparently now uses Xtigervnc) but could not connect to it from my client. I tracked this down to the -localhost parameter. In /etc/vnc.conf it says localhost="no" is the default, but apparently it’s not so I had to explicitly set that. Then I was able to connect from tightvnc.

Finally, the upgrade included a new version of rsync (3.1.3). I’ve been sticking with 3.1.1 since 2017 due to a problem it was causing with my SpiderOak backups. Something changed between 3.1.1 and 3.1.2 that was tricking SpiderOak into thinking every file rsync “touched” during a compare was changed, regardless of if it was or not. Rolling back to 3.1.1 resolved that issue so I’ve been holding back the rsync package. The upgrade forced me to install the latest version so I’m going to see if the problem still exists. If it does, I’ll roll back again.

So phew, that was a “fun” upgrade. I also noticed I’m now running the latest 5.0 version of the Linux kernel, so that’s cool:

$ lsb_release -a
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description: Ubuntu 19.04
Release: 19.04
Codename: disco

$ uname -r

See you back here in October for 19.10!

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