I've installed Ubuntu server 10.04 and then installed Gnome desktop on top of it, because I am new to Linux and its command line, I need the GUI desktop to help me get around. However, the problem I got is that the server doesn't boot into the GUI desktop when powered on. It's booting into a shell like this:

Gave up waiting for root device.  Common problems:
 - Boot args (cat /proc/cmdline)
   - Check rootdelay= (did the system wait long enought?)
   - check root= (did the system wait for the right device?)
 - Missing modules (cat /proc/modules; ls /dev)
ALERT! /dev/mapper/cecdata-root does not exist. Dropping to a shell!

BusyBox v1.13.3 (Ubuntu 1:1.13.3-1ubuntu11) built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.


result of (cat /proc/cmdline)
BOOT_IMAGE=/vmlinuz-2.6.32-28-server root=/dev/mapper/cecdata-root ro quiet

Then I have type "exit" to exit the shell and then it boots into Gnome. Any idea what's wrong?

Edit: add output for the following commands

wt@cecdata:~$ ls /dev/mapper/
cecdata-root  cecdata-swap_1  control

wt@cecdata:~$ fdisk -l

wt@cecdata:~$ cat /etc/fstab
# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# Use 'blkid -o value -s UUID' to print the universally unique identifier
# for a device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name
# devices that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
proc            /proc           proc    nodev,noexec,nosuid 0       0
/dev/mapper/cecdata-root /               ext4    errors=remount-ro 0       1
# /boot was on /dev/sda1 during installation
UUID=1635be41-d025-405e-b4a3-6f0abedb7aab /boot           ext2    defaults        0       2
/dev/mapper/cecdata-swap_1 none            swap    sw              0       0

Adding output for lsmod

wt@cecdata:~$ lsmod
Module                  Size  Used by
fbcon                  39270  71
tileblit                2487  1 fbcon
font                    8053  1 fbcon
bitblit                 5811  1 fbcon
softcursor              1565  1 bitblit
dell_wmi                2177  0
dcdbas                  6918  0
vga16fb                12757  1
vgastate                9857  1 vga16fb
psmouse                64576  0
serio_raw               4950  0
power_meter             9473  0
bnx2                   72874  0
lp                      9336  0
parport                37160  1 lp
mptsas                 50592  2
usbhid                 41116  0
mptscsih               37167  1 mptsas
hid                    83568  1 usbhid
mptbase                91674  2 mptsas,mptscsih
scsi_transport_sas     33021  1 mptsas
  • 3
    Perhaps this is a sign that you ought to try living without a GUI, and actually forcing yourself to learn linux administration through the CLI. – EEAA May 8 '11 at 4:11

It would seem the root device isn't present at that point of the boot process, which is of course wrong. It's odd that it ends up booting OK after exiting the emergency shell.

This is pretty much a shot in the dark, but do you have "fakeraid" or some other kind of RAID on the root device? Please post ls /dev/mapper and fdisk -l. Also your /etc/fstab.


It seems this is a semi-common issue with Ubuntu 10 and fakeraids. Try this after booting succesfully.

First, look in lsmod for dm-* modules and anything with raid on it. For each of this matches, do this:

sudo echo module-name >> /etc/initramfs-tools/modules
sudo echo module-name >> /etc/modules

Note that modules listed with an underscore (_) should be added with a slash (-) in their name instead.


sudo update-initramfs -u

And try again.

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  • Yes I do have RAID 0 configured. The output for the above commands is too long to post in a comment, so I add it to the end of my original post. – Tong Wang May 9 '11 at 1:40
  • I ran lsmod, but didn't see anything with dm-* or raid in it. The output is again added to my original post. – Tong Wang May 10 '11 at 1:25
  • @TongWang - I've never had this kind of hardware, but it seems the modules to add in this case are the *mpt* and *sas* ones. – Eduardo Ivanec May 10 '11 at 1:30
  • Could you be a little more specific on how to add these modules? – Tong Wang May 10 '11 at 1:39
  • Sure, sorry about the vagueness of my reply. I meant yo take each of mptsas, mptbase, mptscsih and scsi_transport_sas and do the steps sudo echo module-name >> ... After adding all of them (be careful to always use >>) do the sudo update-initramfs -u step. – Eduardo Ivanec May 10 '11 at 12:52

What SCSI Device are you using? There are some issues with mptbase. Sometimes it times out while loading, so your system tries to look for root before it's ready.

Try adding rootdelay=120 to the kernel line in menu.lst.

Edit: Sorry You probably have grub2. When booting hold escape to get to the grub2 menu. Then highlight the kernel you boot from and press 'e'. Then add rootdelay=120 to the end of the kernel line.

| improve this answer | |

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