I upgraded to libc6 and hamm this weekend... and had my entire
root partition flagged "readonly" by an unknown mechanism. This
got me cursing and thinking....
Ideally the issue should never come up, but hard disks fail.
Hard disks are replaced as hardware is upgraded. Occasionally
things get totally hosed when you push the edge.
The information maintained in dpkg (theoretically) specifies
the contents of the file system except for /etc, /var, /usr/local,
and /home. Furthermore, many (even most?) people won't do
anything too fancy with /etc, /var or /usr/local, especially if
any servers (e.g., web and ftp) use /home instead of /var for
their data files.
This suggests that it may make sense to recommend that the default
disk configuration is three partitions, not two:
since even if the system must be reinstalled from original media,
the user won't lose their personal files (although they may lose
some mail). Taking this a step further, a fixed-size /var partition
could be specified with the expectation that it will maintain
status logs even after a reinstallation.
Setting up two ext2fs partitions instead of one is a bit of a
pain... but nothing compared to the hassles if the disk is
set up as one big partition when something goes wrong. Should
the installation script be modified to suggest multiple partitions?
 I don't why my system always reboots in "read-only" mode now;
since I can't log in I have little information. It's not a problem
with the partition table, lilo configuration, or /etc/fstab. Also,
I can boot off a different partition on the same disk (although it
is still 1.3).
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