Blank Ubuntu background on boot, with no login available.

Asked by Bill Morris on 2010-09-11

Ubuntu background screen and cursor appear on startup, but no login, icons or anything else clickable shows up. Anyone know how to fix this? It may or may not be a video driver bug . . . Running ubuntu 10.04 Netbook remix on an HP Mini 110c, Installed fine and worked like a charm for about a month. The activities preceeding the malfunction were: 1.) I was configuring the required libraries for an installation of MapServer (libjpeg, libpng, GD, etc.), 2.) I opened GNU emacs to edit a script, and it locked the screen, 3.) After closing emacs, the screen was still blocked, and nothing was clickable, 4.) Not knowing any non-gui ways to force a shutdown, I hard-booted the netbook, 5.) On reboot, the BIOS loaded, the "Ubuntu Loading" progress bar came up, the marimba sounded and the Ubuntu bubbles background screen came up with a moveable cursor on it, 6.) No login was presented and no interface was available. This has happened through a half-dozen reboots. I've tried a few things via console login ( A: VESA Driver,, but the suggested prompts don't appear. I'm sure this is a basic problem, and I seem to be missing something fundamental (I'm new to Linux; many apologies). Any ideas?

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Bill Morris
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actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :

If you press ALT+F2 do you get teh run dialogue?
If you log in as another user, is it ok?

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Bill Morris (vtcraghead) said :

Alt+F2 doesn't yield anything, and I haven't configured any other users. But I'd still only be able to login in the console.

On another diagnostic note, trying to run firefox from the console produces "Error: no display specified"

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marcobra (Marco Braida) (marcobra) said :

Please press ctrl+alt+f2 and made login with your user and password then type:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get --reinstall install ubuntu-desktop

sudo reboot

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Bill Morris (vtcraghead) said :

The packages failed to download; I wonder if my network configuration is blown as well. Is there a way to force a network connection from the console?

Thank you for your help on this, in any case.

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Bill Morris (vtcraghead) said :

Continuing the diagnostics, I reinstalled ubuntu from scratch and the netbook went back to functioning correctly. However, I then rebuilt the Mapserver associated libraries, and immediately after rebooted. The same problem (Blank bubble screen, no login) occurred again!

I believe this means that configuring, building and installing either the proj.4 ( or the shapelib ( libraries is screwing with GNOME. Is this something I should take up with the administrators of those libraries or is there an obvious reconfiguration I can perform?

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marcobra (Marco Braida) (marcobra) said :

i use every days mapserver with qgis and other... why you compile it... install from packages

Please first enable the universe repository:

Open System → Administration → Software sources → [ Tab Ubuntu software ]
enable "Community Maintained open source software (universe)"
Close and confirm the repository reload.

Here some repositories details:

Then open a Terminal from the menu Applications → Accessories → Terminal and type:

sudo aptitude update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo aptitude install cgi-mapserver mapserver-bin

give your user password when requested, you don't see nothing when you type it, then press enter.

Hope this helps

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marcobra (Marco Braida) (marcobra) said :

Sorry i'm not sure but for Ubuntu network remix the path to enable the universe repository is different from:
System → Administration → Software sources → [ Tab Ubuntu software ]
i cannot verify i don't use ubuntu network remix

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Bill Morris (vtcraghead) said :

After several reinstalls of Ubuntu all is working again. I'll abandon the mapserver build completely and try installation from the packages you recommended. Thank you again for your help.