I am running a Dell Inspiron 1501
I use Linux only. No Microsoft or Apple operating systems (or really anything closed-source). I've only been using Linux for a little over a year but I'm starting to gain a comfortable level of familiarity with the system and terminology.
I've been having some issues with Quantel Quetzal and Raring Ringtail, especially with older hardware, so I opted to install Ubuntu 12.04.3 Precise Pangolin on the Inspiron 1501. I checked my MD5 sum after downloading my ISO and all was good. I have in fact used this iso/dvd to install Precise Pangolin successfully on a few other systems (some of which are even older than this laptop).
Install goes fine. The wireless card doesn't work out of the box but this is a known issue which is fairly easy to fix. So, first thing I did was open up a terminal and run
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
which, part way through, crashed (I assume lightdm and possibly X) and took me to a black screen filled with white lines of text that were either errors or just the ouputs of commands. The reason I say that is because I was unable to gleam any useful information from the output on the screen. I did take a picture however and will post a link.
After that, every time I boot the system it goes right to that black screen posting all the error messages or output in white text. I never get a purple Ubuntu splash, so from what I can tell after reading this wiki article: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/X/Troubleshooting/BlankScreen
That means that after the kernel is selected, it is unable to correctly implement the settings it needs. If the purple splash never shows, the frame buffer was never set correctly right? This leads me to believe that it could be a kernel issue? The wiki suggested to try and pinpoint the issue by rolling back kernels until I find one that works. Is this my best option? I think I'm going to give it a try anyways and will let everyone know if I am able to solve the issue this way.
I have since done a few reinstalls and some trouble-shooting including a couple hours scouring the net for anyone with any kind of similar issue. Most of the issues I could find involved getting a black screen after login and none of them said anything about any information output on this black screen.
My reinstalls have taught me that there is no issue updating, but as soon as I run
sudo apt-get upgrade
my system goes to the black screen and every time I boot it up it does the same thing. The only way to fix is by reinstall. I never get any ability to log in. After a hard power off to the laptop (because I cannot use ctrl+alt+del to reboot) when it boots again it goes to the grub boot menu and I can select between regular boot, recovery mode and the two memtest options. I never tried the memtest options but the other two both lead to the same black screen.
Some people having a black/blank screen issue claim to have fixed it by using 12.10 or 13.04 but I believe they were having a different issue where they got a black/blank screen after logging in. I think I will still give these images a try, but mostly figured I would just wait another day or two for 13.10.
Other things I figured I would try from the following three articles:
include opening a terminal using ctrl+alt+f1 and trying a variety of reseting unity, x settings, lightdm (or switching to gdm); but I doubt this will work or that I will even be able to access a terminal. I'm pretty sure the whole system is stuck after it loads the last line on the black screen.
I will try these things and post more information when I have. Hopefully someone has an idea in the meantime and I will keep checking back trying to find a solution. Thank you.
Here are 3 different pictures of the error message. I had to take with my phone: http://ubuntuone.com/album/0TBBkxmVajJIQQtoN9mVdN