Re: ext2 filesystem corruption?!?!??

Doug Ledford (
Thu, 03 Apr 1997 18:01:05 -0600


> a quote from an e-mail a friend sent me, who also runs a news server:
> > Drop Linux like a hot rock!! It is fine for user boxes but is totally
> > unsuitable for a server. Ext2fs is so unbelievably unstable I can't
> > imagine why it took so long to see it.
> > I started out with Linux for our news server. About 5 times I came in to
> > find the machine hung and a reboot showed the file systems to be trashed.
> > I at first blamed the crappyu Micropolis 9GB disks I was using. But the
> > problem persisted after I dumped them in favor of Fuji's. So I did some
> > more testing. If I didn't reboot every 24 hours to flush the filesystem
> > and force frequent fsck's the file system crashed. If I let it go for a
> > week, even if it didn't crash, a reboot would find a filesystem that even
> > fsck couldn't fix. I have no doubt that the problem lies with Ext2fs.
> Now, I'm not planning on dropping Linux like a hot rock -- I like it too
> much -- but it is clear there is a serious problem *somewhere* that
> causes file corruption.

I agree, but so far we haven't limited things down very much. One extremely
important thing I think people need to keep in mind is the following. Your
choice of low-level controller driver for the attached hard drives can greatly
impact this problem. I had a machine with an IDE drive and a Triton II
chipset. When I enabled the Triton DMA support, I would get corruption,
reliably, and under light load even. When I disabled the special drivers, my
corruption went away. The same could very well be true of SCSI drivers (you
could end up getting corruption if you use the PAGE_ENABLE flag in the aic7xxx
driver, or possibly some other scsi controllers, but I wouldn't know about
them). I think people who are reporting filesystem corruption under ext2 fs
need to start also reporting the hard drive controller and driver in use so
some of us can look for any patterns in what's happening.

* Doug Ledford                      *   Unix, Novell, Dos, Windows 3.x,     *
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