Ubuntu 19.10 Nasty Auto-Login bug

I’m somewhat new to Linux desktop in general — although I’ve used it in various server environments over the years I’m new to the desktop experience (currently switching from OS X to Linux, but slowly over a few years with 20.04 being the target).

Lets cut to the chase …

On Saturday I decided to update my sons 2700X, 32G, Aorus Gaming 5 to Ubuntu 19.10 from 19.04. There was no real reason to do this but as I said, I’m trying to slowly learn the inners of Linux on a live setup before making the switch (yes, my sons gaming rig is my test bench).

The update went spectacularly well until I rebooted.

PROBLEM 1: Once the upgrade was finished I rebooted and noticed that my mouse and keyboard were not being recognized. I have 4 mice and 5 keyboards and tried them all with not effect. Booting from the USB installer in trial mode and the mouse and keyboard worked fine.

Unfortunately I’m so green with Ubuntu that I’m not exactly sure what to do here so I just went scorched-earth and performed a clean install of 19.10 — I figure there was some straggler setting in 19.04 causing the problem and doing a clean install would clear it. My guess is it had to do with nvidia 4.30 which is what 19.04 was using.

PROBLEM 2: So after a fresh installation of 19.10 the second issue emerged — I could not login. The mouse and keyboard were working fine but no matter how many times I entered the password the login screen would simply ignore my attempts to log in.

I reinstalled a few times before finally hitting on a few keywords in a Google search and find that this is a known issue with 19.10. If you had auto-login enabled then the system is essentially hosed, mortals such as myself shall not enter here.

Seems to me that this issue needs more headlines across several blogs. Had I seen such a warning I’d never have upgraded. My son’s account was already setup to auto-login so I was screwed from the get-go.

My final solution after confirming conclusively for myself that the issue was in fact the auto-login. I used a shell to naviagte to my sons /home directory which was on another drive and mv’d .config and .local to borked.config and borked.local — I then updated fstab to point my sons home directory on the separate disk. Before rebooting I made sure to toggle auto-login off/on/off and leave it OFF to ensure the setting was saved.

So we’re now running 19.10 and he’s happily driving across the US in American Trucker on Steam at the moment …

The weekend would have gone MUCH worse had we not decided early on to stick the home directory on a separate disk. The Ubuntu installer scared the shit out of me when it said it would wipe out all install applications and user files with a fresh install. I had made a backup already so I went ahead with the clean install, but it seems when your home directory is on another disk that the installer will NOT wipe out the installed applications and usr files.

That installer really needs to detect when the /home directory is on another disk and update the instructions accordingly. I was very glad to see the home directory intact on the other drive but I was shitting my pants the entire time.

But I’m learning.

Seems some progress has been made with tracking the culprit to the auto-login bug in 19.10.