In the end, I axed the pi for my self-hosting needs. I was running out of storage and I needed to migrate the Nextcloud installation to a 64-bit environment for Nextcloud News and Collabora. I had an old Dell laptop lying around and I decided to repurpose it as my new “server” for now. I know I’ve installed Linux Mint on it ages ago before reverting to Windows so I figured this would be a quick and painless process. I steered clear of Arch or Gentoo for time so I ended up trying to install Debian on it and then my problems started.
I had a vague memory that the laptop’s wifi module was nonfree firmware and so had to opt for using a Debian nonfree image. I can’t completely rule out the rest of my problems didn’t come from some curse by Stallman. I successfully booted up the graphical installer from the image and was initially relieved when I was able to connect to my Wifi on the networking step. As I got to the last screen, however, the installation froze. I tried it again and the same thing happened. Maybe I could’ve waited longer…? Who knows in the end. I moved to flashing Ubuntu and tried to install it again and I encountered similar issues with the installer freezing. I saw some users had some more success with networking disabled and voila, it made it to the end. I removed my flash drive, rebooted, and all I see is “Operation System Not Found”. Tried again and the same message popped up. I was about to give up when I found this question which led me to this site and the obscure 0 upvoted answer ended up solving headache. I’m not sure when Ubuntu stopped silently failing on devices on Legacy bootloaders nor do I know the difference between these two sections but it worked! It’s kind of ironic considering I used to have to disable UEFI mode to get Linux working on other machines but I digress, at least this part is now over.