I've noticed several posts in this section from people still running RH9 or RH8.0 or (like me :-) RH7.3 or earlier -- cool(*). However, I did recently encounter a problem with RH7.3 using a large (>128Gb) hard disk formatted FAT32, so thought I'd pass along this warning ... applies to anyone using a kernel older than 2.4.25, at least not without patching those kernels to support large FAT32 disks.
Problem is that once a disk fills up beyond a certain point (causing sectors above the 128Gb point on the disk to start being used ?), older Linux kernels will corrupt the file directories causing newer files to be reported as having zero byte filesize. Other symptoms can include "stale NFS file handle" error messages trying to access the problem file(s) and/or folder(s). It's easy at first to mistake this for a hardware problem (e.g., one or more bad sectors on the disk), but don't be fooled -- if the kernel is older than 2.4.25, it's likely a kernel FAT32 software issue.
When I encountered this problem I was running 2.4.20-46.7 ... It's great that RedHat still considers RH7.3 and kin to be officially supported distros and still provides regular kernel patch updates for them -- addressing security issues, but apparently these updates do not address other critical(**) kernel bugs like large FAT32 support ?! So I had to track-down and apply the appropriate kernel patches myself (starting from http://www.kernel.org
), and all is well now.
Here is a link to the first kernel patch (for >128Gb disks ... submitted to linux-kernel by OGAWA Hirofumi on 2003-12-22):
And here is a link to a second kernel patch (for >4Gb file sizes ... submitted to linux-kernel by Erik Andersen on 2003-12-31):
Both of these kernel patches worked fine for me starting from the latest "Fedora Legacy" RH7.3 kernel source (2.4.20-46.7) found here:
...and I suspect the patches would also apply fine to other 2.4.20 kernel sources.
(*) In my case it's because one of my Linux machines is a DEC Alpha workstation, for which RH7.2 is one of the more reliable Linux options, and as a newbie, trying to remember where config files etc. are located on ONE Linux distribution is hard enough, without RedHat vs. Debian vs. SUSE etc. differences adding to my confusion ! (I've NOT yet tried to configure USB support for my DEC Alpha, let alone apply these kernel source patches).
(**) Any problem that potentially leads to loss of data is "critical" by my definition.