Attracted by the open-source philosophy and the idea of a free system from the people for the people I decided to throw away my Window 7 and replace it with Ubuntu 12.04 (I even bought it, just to feel like a contributor, part of the project). Anyway, I always found myself in the situation of having nothing else to do but re-install it because of these strange, unexpected and hard to understand errors. It happens almost each 2 or 3 weeks, just after I have installed a little more software than the default. I am quite disappointed and thinking about going back to some more stable system but I will try my last chance with the community, which I see is one of the most active and maybe it´s the pro that will keep me here. Also, this is my first question here so forgive my lack of experience.

So, I have a laptop (HP Pavilion g6 2305 sq, with AMD Radeon HD 7670M) and I have installed Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS (amd64). I installed the proprietary drivers recommended by the system (fglrx, I think is how they are code-named). Everything was fine until yesterday, when I compiled and installed various libraries that I need to develop some applications (Ogre3D, OIS, Boost, ODE, Freetype and much more). I don´t see how this would affect the boot-ing or the kernel because they are just headers, libraries and source code to use when developing applications. But is after this when it happened. This issues usually happen after playing a little bit with the 3D graphics. At some point I realized that the icons of the running applications were not shown on the lateral bar and when I exited the system it forcefully closed some applications.

Today when I start the computer it shows me the GRUB loader, I select Ubuntu, with Linux 3.11.0-18-generic and press ENTER. The loading screen is doing its job for a few seconds then a black screen is where everything hangs. I restart (CTRL+ALT+DEL) and choose recovery mode. If I choose to clean, dpkg, failsafex, everything will hang with this line of text:

fsck from util-linux 2.20.1
/dev/sda1: clean, 694243/60530688 files, 20142664/242119168 blocks

I click CTRL+C and now it fails (of course) with this line:

initctl: Event failed

CTRL+ALT+DEL will reboot the system. Now, I tried this solution: Is recovery mode supposed to hang after fsck? for the fsck problem (the hanging) but I am just left in the sda1 partition (where I don´t know what I am supposed to do). I purged some nvidia packages (only for development) and with sudo apt-get autoremove I removed unecessary packages. I reboot and the same issue: black screen just before entering the login screen.

I inserted the Live CD and I opened some log files but they don´t tell me much either. In syslog is where I found the most recent logs: http://pastebin.com/tCF0c4pY

If while seeing the loading screen I press ESC to get in CLI mode the same happens. I see some text on the screen then at some point everything goes to black. Some weeks ago, when the problem was related to gflrx I could enter CLI mode from the loading screen. In other words, I don´t have access to the system as root, so I can reset things. Also, I am using a broad-band connection, which doesn´t connect automatically if the X System is not loaded and the GUI is working.

So, here I am, out of any idea or possibility. If you need any other log file or info just let me know. I hope this can be fixed. Thanks so much

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    I have installed the recommended drivers. I can´t go to the Dash because I can´t even get to the desktop. – B.M.A Mar 27 '14 at 11:52
  • Some say that I would have to install ubuntu-desktop (as some dependencies might have been broken) but, can I do this from the LiveCD? Otherwise, how can I do it if I can´t enter CLI mode (by pressing ESC while the loader is working)? – B.M.A Mar 27 '14 at 11:57
  • Also, I should have to re-install the ATI drivers or go back to default ones but, again, can I do that from the LiveCD? – B.M.A Mar 27 '14 at 12:01
  • I removed the fglrx drivers (sudo apt-get purge fglrx* and sudo rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf) but now I can´t install the default ones because I have no Internet connection. Can I connect my broadband device from terminal? Can I install the default drivers from the LiveCD? – B.M.A Mar 27 '14 at 12:30
  • Even if I removed the fglrx and it should return to the basic driver it still shows me the blank screen – B.M.A Mar 27 '14 at 12:37

Maybe your X windows config or other graphic config has been changed by the install of libraries that has been done. Good news is IF this is the problem then solution would be making a change in config file. It could be something like display resolution being set.

When you have a blank screen you can get to command-prompt on a console terminal by typing Ctrl-Alt-F2 (or F3 .. F6). Ctrl-Alt-F1 will get you back to your graphics display console.

When you have blank screen do Ctrl-Alt-F2. Then login and look at log messages. Look in /var/log. Look down end of logfiles for latest messages. /var/log/messages /? /var/log/syslog /? /var/log/Xorg.0.log Focus on 'X' logs. Try maybe sudo grep -i error /var/log/X* In the 'X' logs it should log what config it is using e.g. Using config directory: "/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d".

If you can find some errors that will hopefully reveal what is wrong. Post them here and grep the internet and we will hopefully be able to figure out the problem.

Update1: Good breakdown of options for diagnosing problem here: My computer boots to a black screen, what options do I have to fix it? Duplicate question of yours I think. Specifically nVidia question might be relevant: Blank screen after installing nvidia restricted driver

Update2: BUT nVidia not relevant to question. Issue would be more to do with AMD video drivers. What is the correct way to install proprietary ATI Catalyst Video Drivers (fglrx) directly from AMD?

Installing packages When a package is installed as root then libraries, binaries and config for the package is installed. Existing config and libraries might be updated. For packages not involved in core linux or graphics this is usually benign, you can't cause damage. But for some packages there is potential for breaking something fundamental. You mentioned some nvidia packages were removed as well as a good few others which were installed? When the nvidia packages were installed graphics config might have been updated. And when they were removed then that config might not have been reverted. Or the install of a package may have installed a version out of step with something needed by core of system.

Anyway, first try to find some errors in logs to give clues as to what is the problem.

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    What I installed was the nVidia's Cg library for Ogre, not the driver. I just re-installed Ubuntu (keeping the home directory, I hope). I will try your suggestion the next time this will happen (because I am sure it will). Thanks for explaining me how the installation of packages can cause this, I will be more careful from now on. – B.M.A Mar 27 '14 at 14:24
  • I see. So something involving AMD video drivers is happening maybe. Sometimes the learning process involves getting in a big annoying awkward mess :-7. The more you push the boundaries (experimenting with new things) the more trouble you will land yourself in! So balance being careful with going crazy sometimes! :-D Maybe you could have a stable install which you just apply regular updates and use day-to-day and you could have a separate linux install on same box if your experimenting requires updates to important packages. BUT that could be more trouble to set up than it would save. – gaoithe Mar 27 '14 at 14:42
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    Yes. I am sure it is related to the AMD drivers. Maybe I will install it on another computer just as an experimental OS but not for serious work. I already lost a lot of source code that I have to rewrite now. Lesson learnt: make back-ups daily, don't use Ubuntu for work, good things cost money. Sorry if I sound rude, it's just that I am quite pissed off and disappointed. This system really needs some recovery/restore applications because the problems with the drivers are reported everywhere on the Internet. – B.M.A Mar 27 '14 at 17:29
  • I think problem is just display drivers so if you wish to recover your source code it should all be on disk. I have managed to lose bits of work on a wide variety of different platforms! If you don't try new things maybe that is safest way of not losing stuff. Different OSs suit different tasks. linux is useful for quite a few things I find. – gaoithe Mar 27 '14 at 18:35

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