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Old 03-05-2006, 12:57 AM   #1
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Default file system with kernel 2.4.27-2-586tsc

Hello everyone,

I've downloaded and installed kernel-image-2.4.27-2-586tsc.deb onto my Debian Woody box. However, when it boots up, it tries to read the hard drive as if it had the ext3 file system. I configured the hard drive to have an ext2 filesystem (for speed). So, when it boots, it repeatedly reports that it cannot read the disk (there are numerous disk time-out errors, 0x21), and (after about five minutes) quits, tries, and succeeds at reading the hard disk as ext2. I probably will never have an ext3 filesystem on the Debian Woody box (it's way too slow to have a journalised filesystem).

Anyway, how do I configure the kernel to automatically read my hard drive as ext2, rather than wait each time I boot for it to fall back on ext2 (after reading as ext3 fails)? My /etc/fstab describes the root partition (the only storage partition, aside from swap and proc) as having the ext2 filesystem, with "defaults" options (I've tried "noauto" and "errors=remount-ro" with no success). I've tried modifying the "append" stanza of the default image in /etc/lilo.conf and running /sbin/lilo -v with the options "root=/dev/hda1, rootfstype=ext2," but without success. The kernel loads the ext2 module during boot already. I've tried dpkg-reconfigure kernel-image-2.4.27-2-586tsc after setting the appropriate configuration options in /boot/config-2.4.27-2-586tsc (CONFIG_EXT3_FS=n, CONFIG_EXT2_FS=y), but with no success. With each boot, root is mounted as cramfs ("MKINITRD='mkcramfs %s %s > /dev/null" is set in /etc/mkinitrd.conf; I couldn't get the mkfs.ext2 script to work when making a new initrd.img file).

Please, how do I fix this?

Thank you
Old 03-05-2006, 07:43 AM   #2
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Where did you get the idea that ext3 is slower? Despite writing some data more than once, ext3 is often faster (higher throughput) than ext2 because ext3's journaling optimizes hard drive head motion.

Personally, I would never use ext2 for my root partition. But hey, it's your computer.

You don't need an initrd for an ext2 file system, it should be supported by the kernal by default.

The kernel is expecting to see the root file system as ext3 because normally nobody would use ext2 for this. As this is something that practially nobody does, I'm not sure what the answer would be. I'd highly recommend using ext3 or reiserfs for your root partition as they are more efficient and make recovery from an unclean shut down much faster.
Old 03-05-2006, 03:21 PM   #3
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Very well. Reformatting to ext3... (I read at wikipedia that journaling file systems tend to be slower because they need to write metadata AND data, whereas non-journaling file systems don't. The computer I'm using is slow enough )

The funny thing is that I've tried taking out the "initrd=..." stanza in the image configuration and running lilo already. I get a kernel panic --it says it can't find the root filesystem.
Old 03-05-2006, 03:47 PM   #4
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Okay, I reformatted the partition as ext3, but I still get weird errors when reading my hard drive at boot. I get a "late registration of driver" error, and then a bunch of DMA errors (type 0x21). Once they complete, the filesystem loads. How do I fix this?
Old 03-05-2006, 10:46 PM   #5
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You don't need to reformat to change between ext2 and ext3. Check the tune2fs manpage, search for 'journal'. (Hint: ext3 = ext2 + journal information)


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