NUC and Ubuntu aren’t getting along

When things that should just work, don’t

Reasons why Linux cannot be taken seriously as an end-user operating system

I can think of at least 10 other things I would like to title this article, considering the amount of time I have had to spend on this issue.

For the past 2 years I’ve been using my Intel NUC + Xubuntu + VirtualBox as my own private server / media center PC. It’s been working great for testing out anything I want, running my own servers, and playing movies on my TV.

It’s great except for one flaw: every time you unplug the monitor or turn the TV off, you either need to reboot the NUC, or drop into command line mode and run a command to reconfigure the screen.

Seems like a pretty big flaw, right? I think expecting a monitor to “just work” when it’s plugged in is a pretty basic request. This error is from the 14.04 version, which is about 2 years old. When asking the support community, they basically said “Yea, it’s not a big deal… It’s not a high priority for us to fix.” 2 years (and two major versions) later, this bug still isn’t fixed.

I decided I had enough, so I would install the stock Ubuntu (even though it has the gut-wrenching-make-me-want-to-gouge-my-eyes-out interface – seriously, Unity is so terrible). I assumed it would have better support for this type of thing.

I downloaded the ISO, booted into Ubuntu, selected the typical “Erase disk and Install Ubuntu” – and what happened? The reasonable person would expect that it installed Ubuntu, I restored my Virtualbox configuration, and I went about my day happily. This is far from what happened.

After a few hours and a few failed installation attempts, I found out that Ubuntu is failing to install the bootloader. Furthermore, it failed to even configure a boot partition. How is this possible? You know what – I don’t want to know. I’m sure someone is going to comment about how “Oh, it’s confused between the UEFI and Legacy boot options that the NUC supports.” I don’t care.

It’s 2016, it’s a robust piece of hardware, and when I tell an OS to have its way with my hard disk, it should have no problems doing so! I guarantee that if I were to use Windows 10, or Windows Server they would have no issues. This is why I say Linux isn’t going to make it as an end-user OS. The community really needs to get its act together and start fixing problems that require the user to do things like drop into the command line, or manually configure partition tables for simple things like plugging in a monitor or doing a fresh install of an OS.

Yes, this is mostly a rant – but I’m putting it out there so that if some poor soul Googles “Ubuntu doesn’t work on NUC”, or “new install of ubuntu grub won’t load” they just might find my solution: manually partition the partition table yourself, turn on Legacy Boot mode, and make sure Secure Boot is off. Finally, while it’s installing – give some thought to whether or not you really still want to use Ubuntu.

 

P.S. – For some reason when installing the third party plugins, the Adobe Flash Plugin downloads INSANELY slow – I’m talking 1 KB/s at times.

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