Self Inflicted Computer Meltdown

Odds are stong that there will not be a new podcast this evening. I recorded the feature for it last night but then decided the Linux box in my lab was obviously too stable for its own good.

Ages ago I had tried to get more moderm vintages of Kubuntu on this machine than the last LTS release (10.4). I gave up due to the state of the drivers for my audio mixer and a frustrating video bug. This state of affairs has bothered me since. Every other machine I use tracks the new releases of both KDE and Ubuntu and the difference has been getting more and more obvious.

My wife’s new computer, also running Kubuntu 11.10 along with my laptop and my work machine, drove the widening difference home yet again. I found the KDE backports PPA and thought that might be a workable compromise that would allow me to better answer her questions and not feel the switching hassle so much when working at home or recording.

Foolish mortal.

It turns out that the deadly bug I encountered somewhere in the graphics stack with every version since 10.4 I tried on this Mac Pro isn’t in the kernel drivers or X.org like I thought but actually somewhere in KDE. I could not use the computer with the backported KDE for more than a few minuts without it crashing back to the login screen. I found what seemed like viable workarounds but they required turning off capabilities that this ridiculously over powered machine should be able to handle.

Irked, I invoked ppa-purge to ruthlessly rip out the KDE backports collection. As you may have guessed by now, that didn’t go so well. I kind of got my machine back into a usable state but there are still a bunch of missing pieces and widgets and tools that clearly are from the backported version of KDE, not the one maintained as part of the LTS version of Kubuntu.

Thankfully, I just recently set up a robust backup scheme that includes this machine. I also moved my home directory into a 2nd internal drive. I am in the throes of trying to get a version of the Kubuntu 10.4 LTS installer that will work with this infernal Mac and expect to be spending the rest of my day paying for my hubris by putting the machine back to rights.

I may be able to achieve this in time to record and edit the remaining bits for this evening’s podcast. I doubt it very much, though, so wanted to let my listeners know. Feel free to laugh at my expense and I will try to have my lab machine back in order for next weekend, to release the feature I already have recorded then.

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