Monthly Archives: June 2016

Making Mint 18 Work For My Situation: Downgrading The Kernel

I truly love Mint 18 Beta, but as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been having random freezes, 2 or 3 a day when doing general computer work, and 100% of the time if I try to Normalize audio in Audacity. These freezing problems were also occurring in Mint 17.3 after I let a kernel update proceed.

After much experimenting while running Mint 17.3, I foundĀ  the 3.16 kernel to be totally stable on my current platform.. Wanting to run Mint 18 Beta for its obvious software upgrades, I decided to attempt to downgrade the kernel.

Because the Update Manager does not offer a way to downgrade kernels using the GUI, I did it manually.

First was to find the kernel I wished to install. The kernel I wanted is in the Ubuntu Trusty kernel repository.

It is extremely important that you download the kernel image for your hardware architecture!

The kernel designed for my machine is the: linux-image-3.16.7-992-generic_3.16.7-992.201604152257_amd64.deb package

Once downloaded, you can simply double click on the package to open the package installer automatically, and once the installer reports that all dependencies are met, go ahead and install it.

Next, reboot your machine, and using the grub menu, select the kernel you wish to boot into. If you don’t see a grub menu at system startup, you can follow these instructions:

To show the grub menu at boot, you need to edit the GRUB config file, as I was booting quietly, not displaying the boot menu. To do that, simply drop to a terminal and edit it with your favorite text editor. I use medit

$ sudo medit /etc/default/grub

will open your text editor in super user mode.

Edit grub

Edit grub

Editing Grub

Editing Grub

You’ll see in the above example, I’ve commented out, using the # symbol, to have the boot process ignore the two commands at lines 7 and 8. Doing this, will now let me see the grub boot menu at startup. Save and close the file, and then, it’s very important that you tell grub that you’ve changed it. Do this by issuing the command:

$ sudo update-grub

Now it’s time to reboot. When you do, at the grub boot window, arrow down to Select previous Linux version, and select that.

 

Since downgrading my kernel, I have had zero, none, nada freezes on this machine. All the applications that are designed for Mint 18 work without issue, and I am one happy goat farmer!

Showing Mint 18 with older kernel

Showing Mint 18 with older kernel

When you’re done, go ahead and uninstall the kernels that were causing you problems.

As new versions of kernel version 4.2+ are released, I will of course give them a try as time allows.

Goat Farmer’s First Impression: Mint 18

I have been so looking forward to Linux Mint 18. As much as I like Mint 17.3, it is based on the older Ubuntu Trusty base files and software that I really wanted to upgrade, I simply couldn’t.

I do a lot with Twitter, so wanted to upgrade to the latest Choqok version, or maybe even try Corebird. I also really wanted to run the newer versions of kdenlive video editing software.

After downloading the Beta version of Mint 18, and burning it to a USB stick. I preceded to install it. My only problem was that after booting to my USB stick, Mint could not see my network adapter. I went ahead and added my wireless network manually, and after that was done, unplugged and then hot plugged the WiFi dongle back in. This let Mint find it, and everything worked fine after.

Installing was as expected. Make sure you check the tick box that you want to install the multimedia codecs, as they are no longer contained in the disk image.

After installation, Mint 18 booted up just fine, and this time the WiFi adapter was working. Next, came doing a cache update and installing all the available updates.

On my Acer Aspire machine that I’m running Mint 18 on, I had previously had problems with the system freezing up at random times. This proved to be a kernel problem, and I’d found that running kernel 3.16 eliminated those freezes. Mint 18 comes packaged with kernel 4.4

Yes, the freezes were back, and unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to revert to an older kernel with Mint 18. I did find however that the freezes became fewer after I loaded the propitiatory driver for my Intel processors.

Intel Driver

Intel Driver

Further, I find that the system will completely freeze if I attempt to do a Normalize on an audio file when using the Audacity audio editor.

The freezes are down to one a day, with no pattern to them. I find this acceptable for now, and hoping for a patch that fixes it.

Mint 18

My only other head scratch, was that though I installed Mint 18 on an empty drive, it didn’t create and set up a swap partition. Seems unnecessary anyway, as I have 8 gigs of RAM in the machine and even when I had a swap under 17.3, it never got used.

Kdenlive video editing is found to be much faster under Mint 18, with rendering a 5 minute video taking about 18 minutes, where it used to take 35-40 under version 17.3. This is a bonus, as I edit a lot of video!

Final verdict, I’m keeping it!