Buster busted on Debian

Debian 10 (Buster) logo
Three years after I abandoned Debian as far too much hard work to setup and maintain, Ubuntu 19.10 broke my network stack for VirtualBox. So I decided to look at the current (mid-2019) release of Debian 10 Buster, the 'stable' Linux.

Cue sound of breaking glass, falling masonry and the screams of the innocent.

Granted the Lenovo V110-AST is not a new machine. It is also a Lenovo, with some of the quirkiest implementations of cobbled-together hardware on record. Debian 10, 'the modern' release, did not like it. At all. Worse than 9. Or even 8.

Given my loathing of Gnome Shell, I chose to go with MATE as a desktop environment to sit atop the Xorg display manager.

The UEFI boot which I expected to break into a thousand pieces worked off the bat. Woo-hoo!

Then Xorg broke and hung at login. Black screen of death. Fixed that with the AMD GPU firmware.

Next, no wireless networking. After some amazing detective work, figured out that the firmware version 6 for the Qualcom QA9377 (yes, that abomination) didn't work at all. Got rid of it. Debian fell back to version 5. The wireless adapter suddenly worked.

Then the ACPI wouldn't reboot or shutdown. At all. Black screen of death. Another one. Forced it, uncomfortably, with the power button while I sorted out some other issues.

The audio, which had been working perfectly for a full day, suddenly stopped. Control centre reported 'hardware: disabled, off.' How?!?!

Still couldn't get the ACPI fixed to resolve the reboot/shutdown fiasco.

This is the trouble with technology. For 99% of the population, it's about getting things done with the tool, not spending endless hours trying to bodge the tool together with duct tape and baling twine.Debian, with it's single-minded determination only to include free, open source software, is far too insular to successfully engage with hardware in the real world.

Conclusion: Buster busted on Debian.

Next step: burned Ubuntu MATE 20.04 to a USB stick. Done.

Well, almost. UEFI boot fell apart  - disastrously. But I can now boot anything from the Grub command line. Not a skill I thought I'd ever need to acquire. Everything else - good to go.

And Buster's still busted on Debian. RC