So, after my initial burst of enthusiasm, I discovered that Lubuntu 14.04 has one or two flaws. One is minor. Apparently, a few people have had their sound mysteriously disappear after a recent update of the Linux kernel. In at least once case, their sound mysteriously reappeared. I never got to the bottom of the problem and so submitted a bug report, but I wasn’t feeling confident that an issue effecting a handful of users was going to be fixed by an update. I can live without sound on my PC, at least for a few months while 14.10’s release version finishes teething, but the other problem was too much to bear. You see, Lubuntu 14.04 does not play nicely with USB memory drives.
I recently bought a new desktop PC. My laptop wasn’t doing my back any good, and a concerted job hunt was always going to require my spending hours a day at my own desk. So my mum loaned me the money to get my workspace sorted and comfortable. Before I got round to this, I transferred my files from my laptop (then running Lubuntu 12.04) to an external hard drive, installed 14.04 on my laptop, and put the files back. So far, so good. Obviously, I did a bit of work between this and buying my new PC, so I thought I’d transfer the current version of my laptop’s files to the new PC (which I had also installed Lubuntu 14.04 on). This is where the trouble began.
I shouldn’t have deleted the previous backup – it was only 20GB on a terabyte hard drive. Instead, I did, and started uploading my files from my laptop. The process kept stopping. Just stopping dead. Usually while transferring my photo files. I had to just pull the plug – pull out the hard drive and let the laptop run out of power. I tried reducing the number of files I transferred in one go. Same problem. Meanwhile, I was making enough of a mess that I ended up using Gparted to reformat the external drive.
Thinking that maybe it was a hardware problem, I decided to do the job piecemeal with a 4GB stick. This time, it corrupted filenames, and gave me a list of failed files with an error whose description I now can’t remember. Searching the forums, I found someone having a similar problem, and they were told that the error message in question was the sign of a failing computer hard drive. Brilliant. So I tried to transfer the files that made it onto my PC. More files not copying due to the same error. I was beginning to think that maybe it wasn’t my hardware at fault, and I don’t know enough to be able to convey what was happening in a useful bug report. So I threw my hands up in frustration and decided to look up an old friend I hadn’t seen in years: Red Hat.