Ubuntu Fails to Boot with Spice Console

Date: 12 April 2011

I needed to roll a couple of debs for my Ubuntu servers at work. Since I run Gentoo on my desktop, I rolled a 64-bit Lucid VM. Unfortunately, after the install finished, I got the following error on the console and the VM wouldn’t boot.

error: no suitable mode found
error: unknown command 'terminal'

I figured the problem had something to do with the interaction with spice console (which I’m using instead of VNC). Fortunately, the fix is pretty easy.

  1. Boot the install CD and go into Recovery mode.
  2. Drop into a shell on the system.
  3. Make sure /boot is mounted in case it’s on a separate partition.
  4. Edit /etc/default/grub and set GRUB_TERMINAL=console
  5. Run /usr/sbin/grub-mkconfig > /boot/grub/grub.cfg to update /boot/grub/grub.cfg
  6. Exit the recovery shell and reboot

Poof! The VM now boots and I can log in.