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I also made the change in /dev/MAKEDEV so that it reads:
for part in `seq 0 63`
makedev loop$part b 7 $part b 7 $part $disk
Then I ran "MAKEDEV loop", which populated the /dev/loop directory with my 64 devices.
The problem is that when I reboot, I only have 8 devices again.
I've looked at this from a couple of different angles, but I can't figure it out - I thought my (relatively) new kernal should have supported loop devices as loadable modules, but even when I try to change the kernel as per above it still doesn't stick.
I don't know any distro that creatges 64 loop devices but if you need them, why don't you put your "MAKEDEV loop" command in one of your init scripts, preferably the last one to run, and hopefully your 64 loop devices will be recreated every time you boot up. Now in most non-debian distros you would just stick the command in /etc/rc.d/rc.local but I know debian doesn't have an rc.local.
You need to put it in one of the last init scripts to run since something earlier in the init process is obviously interfering/overiding your MAKEDEV edit. Once the earlier init scripts are through running, you apparently can create the extra loop devices by running "MAKEDEV loop". I'm not really a debian guy so I can't tell which init script to edit by putting in MAKEDEV loop so it runs late in the boot process but I think my analysis is correct.
hmmm.. i'm not sure if i can really remember but i guess i tried doing max_loop=x too. i did it to be able to mount manier squashfs images. but it seems that loop won't accept values higher than what was specified in 'static int max_loop'. i tried it in 2.6.12 btw.