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Re: / vs. /usr vs. fsck(8)

Hi Marco,

On Thu, 13 Oct 2011 16:20:33 +0200, md@Linux.IT (Marco d'Itri) wrote:
> On Oct 13, Stephan Seitz <stse+debian@fsing.rootsland.net> wrote:
> > - Rescue DVDs may not support modern file systems because of older
> > kernels.
> Not a very compelling reason: if you use an unusual/recent file system,
> spend two minutes burning an appropriate rescue CD for it.

If you think that, then I have to assume you've never been in the
situation he's describing.

Let's say that I install systems for clients on a continuing basis.
Occasionally I install a system that needs an unusual file system
because the client is pushing the envelope, or an unusual raid driver,
or whatever.  If I adopt the approach of trying to ensure that the
systems are resilient enough to have the tools to repair themselves,
then there is no problem (I have systems where / and /boot are RAID1
across as many as 8 disks, so that no matter which single disk manages
to be alive, there's a decent chance of moving on from there).

If on the other hand if I'm expected to burn a CD, what am I meant to do
when I remotely upgrade their kernel?  Suck it down and burn it locally,
and then post it to them?  Get them to burn it?  Am I supposed to get
them to reboot a live server to test that the CD works (anyone that's
tried to rely on things like Mondo rescue will know that an untested CD
is not worth much)?  Am I supposed to rely on them to keep it safe and
well labelled until the time comes when it's needed?  Or am I supposed to
keep a CD of every kernel/driver/filesystem/etc combination ever used
by any of my clients, and carry it around in a huge CD case whenever I
go on-site (I did actually try something like that for a while, but it
became ridiculous even with a fairly modest number of clients to deal

Not that I've bothered fitting a CD drive to a server in the last few
years (but I guess you could store the images somewhere, and hope that
you can find a big enough USB stick when the need arises, and hope that
the machine isn't the one with the rescue images or isn't in some way
required to allow you to connect to the image server ...)

I'd rather try to arrange things so that when something goes wrong when I
wasn't expecting it, and when I'm on site with no preparation, I still
have a very good chance of fixing things.

Oh, and it also occurs to me that having an initrd that's not simply the
same thing as / gives you a second chance when one of those things gets

If I was being cynical I'd assume that the driver for this is that RH
want yet another "one character change to a system that makes it
unbootable" as fodder for the RHCE exam -- I'd rather have a little more
strength in depth.

Cheers, Phil.
|)|  Philip Hands [+44 (0)20 8530 9560]    http://www.hands.com/
|-|  HANDS.COM Ltd.                    http://www.uk.debian.org/
|(|  10 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, London  E18 1NE  ENGLAND

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