I’ve been setting up some ubuntu minimal VMs just for screwing around lately, and one irritating thing that happens is if, for whatever reason, things don’t go 100% smoothly, you’ll likely find yourself with an “Installation Step Failed” error with NO additional information. Now, I know exactly what I did to make the installer unhappy (I hit ^C in aptitude during the manual package select), but what was vexing was that there was no information whatsoever on where to look to fix it. I was assuming that with the “Expert Install” option, Canonical might provide more verbose error messages than just the following:

Installation step failed - An installation step failed. You can try to run the failing item again from the menu, or you can skip it and choose something else. The failing step is: Select and install software

Stupid ambiguous Ubuntu installer error

I know exactly what I did wrong, it should be a trivial matter of removing a lock file or some such thing to fix this. The problem is that there is ABSOLUTELY NO information in this message. No path or file name, no returned error message, nothing. I understand shielding the uninitiated user from these sorts of confusing things, but come on, I chose “expert install.” The least you could do is throw me a meaningful error message.

This situation was easily resolved by checking /var/run, of course, and deleting the 'chroot-setup.lock' file. I’m just having a hard time getting over the fact that there is not one iota of extra information in this error message. Not even a ‘Installation failed. Check /var/log/stupid-ubuntu-setup-crap.log’ or anything.

Now, I’m going to rant on a little more, because I feel like indulging myself. Please bear with me, or go do something else. This issue has come up a few times, now, with my experimentation with various VM setups. It’s my fault for using Ubuntu, probably, but I like the Ubuntu minimal setup because the ISO is only 20mb, there are a lot of options, etc. Anyhow, the MOST irritating part (this supersedes any previous ‘most irritating parts’) is that the installer says you can try the failing item again or choose a different item. The joke is that any step that you choose from the installer menu will check for the presence of /var/run/chroot-setup.lock. Even if you try to repartition the hard drive and just want to install everything over again, it’ll still fail with that same error message. Even if you mkfs.<whatev> /dev/hdWhatever from the command line, /var/run/chroot-setup.lock will still be there, ruining your day.

So, the moral of the story is, I’m cranky in the morning.


P.S., use Gentoo or Debian. Or CentOS, I suppose, if you swing that way. ;)