Reading around the forum some more, it looks like you use e2fsck to fix superblocks. As in the thread: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/history/140535
Well this yields a:
e2fsck: Attempt to read block from filesystem resulted in short read while trying to open /dev/hda2
Could this be a zero length partition.
The thread goes on to suggest the partition table is bad. Here is mine:
Command (m for help): p
Disk /dev/hda: 30.7 GB, 30750031872 bytes
240 heads, 63 sectors/track, 3972 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 15120 * 512 = 7741440 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hda1 ? 267666 49364 497115833 29 Unknown
Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/hda2 ? 204081 49219 976730017 3 XENIX usr
Partition 2 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/hda3 ? 1 1 0 6c Unknown
Partition 3 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/hda4 92485 160850 516843863+ 49 Unknown
Partition 4 does not end on cylinder boundary.
Partition table entries are not in disk order
Supposedly this is very bad. Since I do not have my original partition settings, attempting repair is unlikely to be successful.
So before I start anew on my Redhat 9 re-install from scratch, I appeal to the community two more questions:
1. Is my prognosis correct? The partition is bad, start over.
2. What could have corrupted it? I do not recall any "abnormal" event that might have caused this. The disk diagnostics all pass, no power failure, or the such. I did have DVD-ROM on the secondary IDE bus that was "bad" and causing syslog errors, but that was all.