Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Grub and real user experience

So I've focused mostly on highlighting technical issues from the Grub developer side that affect Wubi installs. Now I'd like to look at some real user experience.

First the meaning of Ubuntu... not the OS. One definition I like by Leymah Gbowee (according to Wikipedia.org) is "I am what I am because of who we all are". So when I see new users to Ubuntu staring into their broken computers - well, I think it reflects on everyone that is part of the Ubuntu (OS) community. 

Today there have been a flurry of requests for help with broken installs on ubuntuforums.org. One of them reads as follows:
Grub 2 Error. Deleted Windows XP. URGENT!!!


I installed ubuntu 10.04 on my dad's laptop. I had partioned the HD, placing the ubuntu partition in FAT32 format. The install went through without a hitch. But then it began to update and halfway through, it asked me if i wanted to update the grub file. Knowing nothing about Linux, but thinking that if i didnt update it with the rest, it would be outdated and wouldnt work, i clicked yes and clicked the only HD i saw there as the option, as the forward button was unhighlighted when it was unselected. The rest of the install went through fine....Then the computer restarted.  And instead of getting to choose my OS's, i got a grub rescue screen. IDK what to do. My dad is ok with ubuntu being on it without XP. But the CD drive doesnt work and it cant boot from a USB so i cant reinstall. How do i fix this???

Please help.
Now, the fix as I mentioned elsewhere is simply to reinstall the bootloader. In this user's situation the complicating factor is that the CD drive is broken and the computer can't boot from USB. It's still not necessarily the end of the world - a trip to the computer store, or a visit to a friend who can extract the hard drive and fix it.

But it highlights something the developers don't seem to notice - the user experience: The panic; The fear; And hopefully the relief when it's resolved. But it's not really the ideal welcome to Ubuntu.

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