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Search - "i swear my life is on hardmode"
The Debian 10 live disc and installer say: Heavens me, just look at the time! I’m late for my <segmentation fault
The Debian 10 live cd and its new “calamares” installer are both complete crap. I’ve never had any issues with installing Debian prior to this, save with getting WiFi to work (as expected). But this version? Ugh. Here are the things I’ve run into:
Unknown root password; easy enough to get around as there is no user password; still annoying after the 10th time.
Also, the login screen doesn’t work off-disc because it won’t accept a blank password, so don’t idle or you’ll get locked out.
The lock screen is overzealous and hard-locks the computer after awhile; not even the magic kernel keys work!
The live disc doesn’t have many standard utilities, or a graphical partition editor. Thankfully I’m comfortable with fdisk.
The graphical installer (calamares) randomly segfaults, even from innocuous things like clicking [change partition] when you don’t have a partition selected. Derp.
It also randomly segfaults while writing partitions to disk — usually on the second partition.
It strangely seems less likely to segfault if the partitions are already there, even if it needs to “reformat” (recreate) them.
It also defaults to using MBR instead of GPT for the partition table, despite the tooltip telling you that MBR is deprecated and limited, and that GPT is recommended for new systems. You cannot change this without doing the partitions manually.
If you do the partitions manually and it can’t figure out where to install things, it just crashes. This is great because you can’t tell it where to install things, and specifying mount points like /boot, /, and /home don’t seem to be enough.
It also tries installing 32bit grub instead of 64bit, causing the grub installer to fail.
If you tell it to install grub on /boot, it complains when that partition isn’t encrypted — fair — but if you tell it to encrypt /boot like it wants you to, it then tries installing grub on the encrypted partition it just created, apparently without decrypting it, so that obviously fails — specific error: cannot read file system.
On the rare chance that everything else goes correctly, the install process can still segfault.
The log does include entries for errors, but doesn’t include an error message. Literally: “ERROR: Installation failed:” and the log ends. Helpful!
If the installer doesn’t segfault and the install process manages to complete, the resulting install might not even boot, even when installed without any drive encryption. Why? My guess is it never bothered to install Grub, or put it in the wrong place, or didn’t mark it as bootable, or who knows what.
Even when using the live disc that includes non-free firmware (including Ath9k) it still cannot detect my wlan card (that uses Ath9k).
I’ve attempted to install thirty plus times now, and only managed to get a working install once — where I neglected to include the Ath9k firmware.
I’m now trying the cli-only installer option instead of the live session; it seems to behave at least. I’m just terrified that the resulting install will be just as unstable as the live session.
All of this to copy the contents of my encrypted disks over so I can use them on a different system. =/
I haven’t decided which I’m going with next, but likely Arch, Void, or Gentoo. I’d go with Qubes if I had more time to experiment.
But in all seriousness, the Debian devs need some serious help. I would be embarrassed if I released this quality of hot garbage.
(This same system ran both Debian 8 and 9 flawlessly for years)15