[lug] e2fsck emergency: fixed (sort of)

D. Stimits stimits at idcomm.com
Tue Sep 5 02:58:12 MDT 2000

Sigh of relief. I happen to have a removable hard drive tray for the IDE
slot, and had a distribution on it for testing (not intended for this
machine, but for another that also had the scsi modules). I was
eventually able (with some complaints via fdisk) to mount the bad drive,
and from the error messages I'd seen before, manually delete some of the
directories involved (they were lost of course). Following this I was
able to get fdisk to run on its own again. Afterwords, it seems that X
is behaving flakey, and has since locked up. Linuxconf initially gave
some odd messages as well. The lost directories have much of the info
backed up on a separate web server, so that won't be such a big deal.

At this point, I still feel I need to get a journaling fs (or check out
Tux2, http://lwn.net/2000/0831/kernel.php3), and get rid of the
SuperMicro i840 board. I'll take more time to do it now though. And
between time I'm setting up a 2nd drive to backup EVERYTHING a couple
times a day. Miracles never cease, even if it is behaving strangely now.

In any case, if anyone has any interesting C++ jobs on linux, I might be
interested. Regular employment, or contract if it is large enough to
last a while. My prior work mostly involves C++ web frontends for SQL (I
still do some consulting for my last employer). I'm interested in
something interesting...if it is on linux, I probably will find it far
better than the same thing on NT.

Dan Stimits, stimits at idcomm.com
(303) 772-5755

"D. Stimits" wrote:
> -----Original Message-----
> From:   Michael J. Pedersen [SMTP:marvin at keepthetouch.org]
> Sent:   Monday, September 04, 2000 10:15 PM
> To:     lug at lug.boulder.co.us
> Subject:        Re: [lug] e2fsck emergency
> On Mon, Sep 04, 2000 at 10:38:02PM -0700, D. Stimits wrote:
> > An added question. I've decided if I must reinstall, I'm completely
> > removing ext2. I want reiserfs, or any journaling system. However, is
> this
> > possible to use during initial install? Will I be required to use ext2 on
> > root? With the SuperMicro i840, I need something far more recoverable. Do
> > any of the distributions now offer a journaling filesystem that I can
> > install directly to?
> Well, your choices here are fairly slim pickings. First things first,
> though:
> Why can't fsck work on that partition?
> It is so badly corrupted it can't believe it is ext2:
> e2fsck: bad magic number in super-block while trying to open /dev/sda2
> The superblock could not be read or does not describe a correct ext2
> filesystem. If the device is valid and it really contains an ext2
> ....
> My experience has been that if things die, simply doing 'fsck -y /dev/hda1'
> will fix it quite nicely.
> This must be a typo, or I have a different fsck. No -y is possible. This is
> on Redhat 6.2. Somewhere I am hoping to find an option to fsck that says
> "yes, this is ext2, and it is so badly corrupted, I want you to do what I
> say no matter how ridiculous, and not exit on me". However, it always
> exits. I have tried various options, including specifically the manual
> ones, totally non-automatic. Maybe I'm missing something, but the compile
> probably had 100 megs in the middle of change at the time of failure...it
> is bad.
> If you do go for a reformat/reinstall solution, and insist on a journaling
> fs,
> then ReiserFS is one of the best choices. However, you're still running
> beta
> code if you do so. And the only distro I'm aware of which supports Reiser
> out
> of the box is Mandrake.
> Other miscellaneous questions:
> How can you be sure it's the hardware? Is there any chance it could be
> software related?
> The i840 chipset is confirmed to have new IO-APIC problems. I briefly
> exchanged email with Alan Cox, and there is basically no hope if SuperMicro
> won't release info. I spoke, on the phone, with SuperMicro for many many
> hours, day after day...they just have no interest in linux anymore. They
> simply state that it is stable under NT. Unfortunately, it appears to have
> a similar problem under Win 2k, even if NT is stable.
> The choice is to run with kernel option "noapic". This means all irq's are
> handled on cpu #0. It changes the behavior of some programs, especially if
> they use spinlocks. Normally they'd be avoided on single cpu; on dual
> running noapic, with only one cpu handling irq's, it makes things far less
> "predictable". Even when it does work, it makes the system more sluggish
> than in windows. Certain hardware operations are still risky even with
> noapic used. I asked Alan Cox if he knew anyone at Intel that might be
> interested in the problem, he said no. I have two choices here, if I want
> to get rid of this kind of problem. Either ask Linus Torvalds what to do,
> or get a new motherboard. SuperMicro has been so blatantly anti-linux, and
> the board still fails under win 2k (I use some studio animation software I
> can't get for linux), that I would prefer to simply dump SuperMicro. Even
> if I manage to get linux support fixed, Win 2K will still die...and we all
> know the possibility of getting microsoft to fix this when SuperMicro has
> no interest.
> In the past I've spoke with SuperMicro about other problems, they were
> always 100% quality minded.  They apparently lost their product manager a
> couple of months back, and shoved work onto the other people. Since then
> linux has become officially and vehemently unsupported. I even offered to
> buy a $600 m/b to donate to someone who could do this work for free to
> them...they don't care.
> Would you consider staying with ext2, if it is software related, and trying
> a
> known to be stable distro? I'd recommend Debian if at all possible. I've
> been
> using it personally for about a year now, and the only time I've ever had
> downtime was for one of three reasons: Unstable kernel, hardware
> malfunction,
> or hardware upgrade.
> If it were a pure software problem, yes. But it is the nature of noapic
> under an SMP machine, so this won't help. If I remain using this
> motherboard, I feel I have to have a journaling filesystem as a hedge
> against the IO-APIC problems. What version of Mandrake does reiserfs become
> standard on, 7.0? 7.1? I will try it on a blank drive...but since this is
> ultra 160, and it has performed incredibly well, I don't want to abandon it
> (not to mention the cost). Here the trouble becomes finding a 64 bit pci
> slot or a built-in ultra 160 that isn't i840, isn't rdram, has an AGP slot,
> and isn't SuperMicro.
> Should I find a job in the near future, I'll shell out for total
> replacement of ram, cpu's, motherboard, and a separate ultra 160
> controller, all to rid myself of SuperMicro i840 problems.
> -----
> Michael J. Pedersen
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