Re: extended partitions

Robert Nichols (
Tue, 3 Oct 95 18:27 CDT

>Date: Sat, 30 Sep 1995 22:12:16 +0100
>Subject: Re: extended partitions
>: Speaking of extended partitions:, has anybody else noticed that (raw)
>: extended partitions have become inaccessible in the recent kernels?
>: This makes it impossible to install lilo into the boot sector of an
>: extended partition. Is this a bug or a feature?
>Both, mostly a feature.
>It is this line in genhd.c:
> /* prevent someone doing mkfs or mkswap on
> an extended partition */
> hd->part[minor].nr_sects = 0;
>Since nothing else depends on it, you can take it out.
>But I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Bad idea, IMO. On systems with DOS occupying the entire first drive and
Linux installed on the 2nd drive, installing Lilo on the extended
partition is the only alternative to installing it in the MBR, which is
also a frequent cause of problems for newbies.

I also dislike the idea of making the Lilo installer access /dev/hda and
interpret the partition tables in order to find the extended partition.
Interpreting the contents of a partition table is foreign to its

Wouldn't it be more reasonable to make the partition type available to
'mkfs', 'mkswap', and the like, and have them warn about non-Linux
partitions and flat out refuse to run with an extended partition? At
the moment, the partition type code serves no function outside of the
'fdisk' partition listing.

Bob Nichols