Why is screen blank during install

Aurum's picture


I used UNetBootin to install the stable network debian Linux. It started off by asking me questions. It's a new install on an SSD. It verified a net connection and after it began the screen went blank. There's no indication anything is happening. How long does it take???

Yesterday I DLed DVD-1 using jindo and then used UNetbottin to install it on a freshly formatted USB drive. The DL took almost a day to finish the DVD-1 iso. The USB install took over an hour. When I put it on the new hope-to-be Linux pc nothing seemed to happen so I tried the stable network install.

I searched for what to expect but find nothing. What should I expect? Is something wrong? If I reboot will it resume installing?


Power savings at work?

IntnsRed's picture

> It verified a net connection and after it began the screen went blank.

I've never had an install screen go blank, but you didn't say how long the install took. Exactly how long it will take depends on what/how much you're installing (and speed of your Internet connection if it's a network install).

I'm assuming you touched the shift key or some other key to make sure this wasn't just power savings or some screensaving function, correct?

If you're using the non-graphical installer, it uses very vanilla video, so I would suspect a bad ISO file or UNetBootin is at the root of the problem.

Jiggled the mouse, shift, esc, tab, etc...

Aurum's picture

Yes I hit various keys and jiggled the mouse but the screen stayed blank. I had turned off all power savers in the BIOS setup.

The very simple screens with questions like user name, pw, time zone, language only took a few minutes. Then the screen went blank and I thought it was transferring files from USB drive to SSD drive to set up Linux and went off to do other things.

I guess the message is try again.

Try again...

IntnsRed's picture

Yes, that's what I'd do is to try again while keeping an eye on it to see exactly where it blanks (or errors).

Post Ipv16 configuration

Aurum's picture

It only got to Ipv16 this time and went blank. Before that it stopped to tell me that "non-free" firmware (rtlnic/rt18168e-3.fw) was missing and did I have it to install. The name of the file meant nothing to me so I clicked continue. I've got a dozen pcs and I've never had any "non-free firmware" before.

I'm doing a non-quick format on the USB drive now and will try again to install network stable debian Linux on it.

This time it confirmed network connection and started DLing debian updates and then went blank. Try, try again and again and again...

Non-free firmware

IntnsRed's picture

> I've got a dozen pcs and I've never had any "non-free firmware" before.

I'd be willing to bet that in the hardware of a dozen various PCs there is definitely non-free firmware in some of them.

Many other distributions package the non-free firmware and non-free software inside their distributions. To me, that's a bad compromise and sets a bad precedent. It encourages manufacturers to keep making "black box" chips that developers either have to painstakingly reverse-engineer, or sign away some of their freedom by "agreeing" to a non-disclosure agreement in order to get technical information so they can write code to help the company making the chip.

I've seen Debian's militant or purist attitude about free software -- both free as in "free beer" and free as in "liberty/freedom" -- pay off time and time again. That free software mindset is why Ubuntu is based on Debian and why the entire Debian world is by far the largest version of GNU/Linux in use today.

Some developers acknowledge the "problem[sic]" with non-free firmware, reluctantly bowing to realities of so-called "intellectual property". Some have gone so far as to create unofficial versions of Debian's CDs with non-free firmware added. (Located here.) But like the "contrib" and "non-free" software repositories, these non-free products are not considered part of Debian.

What a nightmare

Aurum's picture

This time I thought I finally had it. It got to apt-get and was DLing many files for over a half an hour and then I looked over and the screen was blank again.

This is what Linux considers "stable" ???

It takes a maoschist

Aurum's picture

This is the worst install experience I've ever had.
Does everybody endure this much pain and suffering to get Linux running???

Install experience

IntnsRed's picture

> Does everybody endure this much pain and suffering to get Linux running?

Of course not. The last time I looked, stats showed that Debian is the second-most popular GNU/Linux distribution surpassed only by the Debian-based Ubuntu and its closest rival being the Debian-based Mint distributions.

Since the non-free firmware is the likely source of the problem, I'd recommend trying the install with the unofficial CD including non-free firmware or perhaps give Linux Mint or Ubuntu a try if you're really fed up.