[svlug] fsck

Dagmar d'Surreal dagmar at dsurreal.org
Mon Jan 21 11:32:02 PST 2002

On Sat, 19 Jan 2002, Justin F. Knotzke wrote:

> 	Hi,
> 	I have a annoying VP of Product who is complaining that when users
> rip the cord out of the Linux box that it sometimes requires them to
> hook up a screen and keyboard so they can go and perform a manual fsck
> (with tech support).
> 	He argues that users will accidentally pull out the cord to the
> machine and the machine should simply fix itself.
> 	Most of the time it does of course but there are instances when it
> doesn't and requires user intervention.
> 	Assuming the user will pull out the power cord from time to time, is
> there a way to setup Linux so that it never has to perform a manual
> fsck?

I agree with Rafael and the others that you are not being presented with a
very fair situation.  Machines in a server room should *not* be getting
unplugged randomly...  If they are, the proper solution is stricter
controls as to who can access those racks.  Ext3 will solve some of the
problem (since journaling filesystems tend to recover somewhat more
gracefully when sick and twisted people unplug the box they're in) and
will recover faster, but there WILL be times when if this happens files
with ext2 that files will be trashed.

Adding -y to make fsck go ahead and fix things is good, but you should
probably put together a script that will make the systems send out
alerts/email/whatever if they find *anything* sitting in lost+found
directories, because if that happens, it means some files were very likely
damaged, and the machine needs attending to.

Go ahead and start implementing ext3 on your new machines, but I would
really consider pointing out to the bosses the cost of the man-hours
necessary to convert the existing machines from ext2 to ext3 filesystems,
and then show him the cost of a memo reminding machine room techs to not
unplug things they shouldn't, a cable labeling machine, and a large bag of
zip-ties to secure power cables to the racks so they are much, much
harder to mess with.  The odds are that he'll take the intelligent option
and order the label maker rather than have you spend the time changing
filesystems over.

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