back to article Onwards! To the airport and adventure! And this rather lachrymose Linux screen

In these troubled times, it can often feel like there is no escape. Even an airport, once a gateway to adventure, now shows only a blank screen and, of course, bork. Its ubiquity makes Windows a common culprit, but today's entry in the is Linux-tinged and comes from a Scottish airport. It was snapped by Register reader Bob …

  1. jake Silver badge

    I wouldn't call it "Linux despair" ...

    ... as Linux is cheerfully awaiting someone to login and give it a job to do. Rather, I'd call it a case of human forgetfulness ... someone forgot to tell it to run a specific script on startup. I'd suggest starting with updating, if the box is, in fact, connected to the outside world.

    1. Muscleguy

      Re: I wouldn't call it "Linux despair" ...

      In today’s subcontracted, offshored world the responsible meat bag could be anywhere in any time zone. It could stay that way for a long time if there is nobody who needs to care enough to get it fixed sees it.

      I volunteer in a charity shop, the till barcode reader is non functional and it is unclear who to call to get it fixed. The number taped to the screen reported they no longer handle the contract. So I have been eyeballing a lot of numbers and punching them into the touchscreen. Which runs some old version of Windows. I don’t have enough access to determine much more than that as it’s in kiosk mode.

      There are rumours of new tills coming, possibly because the Windows version is shortly to be utterly unsupported by Redmond. That will be good, several of the onscreen numbers are less than responsive when pressed. We might not be able to input 0 before too long. Punching up 20,000 instead of £20.00 is not uncommon as repeated presses to an unresponsive system cause havoc.

      Still at least nitrile gloves work well on touchscreens and hourly cleaning of the perspex screens separating me from customers punctuates the shift. Blue paper towel rolls and anti viral spray cleaner are now ubiquitous.

      1. Robert Grant

        Re: I wouldn't call it "Linux despair" ...

        All we need is a camera pointed at every screen, with some AI to recognise error screens. Then the AI can electroshock a meatbag (its words, not mine) to get them to fix it.

        It couldn't be simpler!

      2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: I wouldn't call it "Linux despair" ...

        Most modern barcode readers pretend to be a USB connected keyboard, even the cordless dongle ones, and there are also variants which act as a Bluetooth keyboard (I have two of those, and they tend to also read QR codes as they're camera based, not LED/laser scan). Most of these can also be programmed to hit Return after a scan.

        So, as long as your software uses keyboard input routines it should not be hard to replace the barcode readers with something from Amazon.

        Look for the name "Netum" - they tend to be reasonably well documented and are usually in stock.

      3. andy gibson

        Re: I wouldn't call it "Linux despair" ...

        "Cleaner 'didn't tell anyone' when charity shop accidentally deposited £90,000 in account"

    2. DrXym

      Re: I wouldn't call it "Linux despair" ...

      The screen is probably network booting from some server and just can't talk to whatever it wants to talk to.

  2. beaker_72

    "A Scottish airport"?

    As someone who was a frequent flyer until Covid (thankfully) put an end to that, I can tell from the photo which airport it is. Just curious as to why El Reg is being coy about naming it?

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: "A Scottish airport"?

      Why do you not tell us ?

      1. beaker_72

        Re: "A Scottish airport"?

        Because they may have a very good reason for not doing so.

    2. Adrian 4

      Re: "A Scottish airport"?

      Maybe it's like 'the scottish play' and can't be named for superstitious reasons

    3. Annihilator

      Re: "A Scottish airport"?

      Also blurring out the machine name too...

  3. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

    What's this continued fascination with broken PCs all about? Are there no real news stories at the moment?

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      We need some light relief from the real news stories.

    2. jake Silver badge

      It's Bootnotes.

      All work and no play makes for a dull Vulture.

  4. Naich


    Is it Windows' ubiquity that means you see more crashes, or that Windows crashes more so you see more crashes?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Uborkuity?


      Anything else I can help with?


  5. Alister

    I think that Microsoft should take note of this series of articles, and re-design their error screens to look more Penguinish, just to confuse the hell out of those taking photos of borkage.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Good idea!

      It would certainly make their error messages more useful. But then throwing mud at the screen would make Redmond's error messages more useful.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    El Reg commentards on Windows machine failures:

    Typical, unreliable. Why do they use Windows? It's probably unpatched too. Crappy system. Of course it's crashed.

    El Reg commentards on Linux machine failures:

    It's just been set up incorrectly. It hasn't crashed. It's meant to do that. Some idiot doesn't know what he or she is doing. Nothing to see here...

    1. fskmh

      The picture shows a login prompt so the machine is presumably still accessible. Is this the case when Windows crashes?

      Also, let's say an update from a software repo is required to fix whatever service fell over there, could you do this on Windows without using a 3rd party tool like Chocolatey?

      1. John Sturdy

        Indeed --- I remember the days when a login prompt was all you'd get when the machine was up and running.

        1. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

          Ahh, so you are sturdy enough to become an old sturdy fart!

        2. jake Silver badge

          In my mind, from a security point of view all you SHOULD get is a login: prompt. Even providing the OS name with the login prompt is too much information ... adding the version major and minor numbers is right out.

      2. Annihilator

        So to be fair, the bork section this page has a multitude of examples of it just being a Windows login screen, or the app failing, or hardware failures, or network connectivity issues.

        Never stops Linux fans piling in to declare Windows as shit.

        1. Down not across

          Don't think your Windows is special. All OS suck. Some just suck more than others.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Remarkably few comments after those three articles. And not many of the comments are regarding the actual error message.

          But you are right. Many of the comments are about Windows being shit. Because it is, well, shit. Should techies not be allowed to blow off steam about something that grinds on them every single fucking day that the Sun rises?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Thanks for proving my point!

        1. jake Silver badge

          What point was that?

          Which AC are you, anyway ... you all look alike to me.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What point was that?

            I wasn't replying to you! I'm the original trolling AC, and I actually agree with your post!

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: What point was that?

              As I said, all you ACs look alike, to the point where your posts have disappeared into a swirling mist of grey goo.

              Hint: Whatever handle you use here on ElReg is just as anonymous as posting AC, but at least you'll have a face no matter how badly you've crayoned it outside the lines.

    2. Justin Case

      well, obviously.

      Windows is the nasty product of a nasty corporation. Linux is the epitome of civilised niceness.

      'Nuff said?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: well, obviously.

        Well, I suppose even Linus has mellowed a bit in recent years :-)

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: well, obviously.

          "even Linus has mellowed a bit"

          Read: "Linus was forced to publicly adhere to the whims of the holier than thou set, through no fault of his own."

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Look on the bright side

    No information is better than incorrect information.

    {Boris are you reading this?}

  8. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    A keyboard!

    My kingdom for a keyboard!

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: A keyboard!

      Wrong play.

      To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty cursor from day to day,

      To the last syslog of recorded time; And all past distros have lighted fools The way to obsolescence.

      Out, out, brief login! Systemd is but a walking shadow, a poor player, Pottering struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more.

      It is a init system by an idiot, full of sound and fury, logging nothing.

      1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        Re: A keyboard!

        The blinking cursor writes,

        And having writ, blinks on.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: A keyboard!

      bluetooth might help with this...

      (I blame chromium for this b0rk - on general principle - seen it herringbone an RPi a few times by crashing lightdm followed by a login prompt - and yet, still no better touch screen solution presents itself at the moment)

  9. Not Enough Coffee


    I had to look that one up. It being in a Scottish airport I thought it was a compression of Loch Remorse.

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