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    SubjectRe: linux-2.4.0 breaks grub install into partition
    On Sat, Jul 08, 2000 at 02:50:10PM +0200, Torsten Duwe wrote:

    > here's a problem we've stumbled across testing the 2.4.0 pre-kernels:
    > installing grub (0.5.94 if that should matter) into the boot block of a
    > partition mounted r/w no longer works; it flawlessly used to in 2.2.x .
    >
    > A little investigation using strace and friends shows that grub does its
    > proper job, finds the right spots and writes there. The write to the
    > partition boot block though is somehow discarded, but no error is returned.
    >
    > Linux kernel people be informed that grub uses the whole-disk device
    > (e.g. /dev/hda) to do its job,

    Yes, there are some coherency problems various places.

    The sequence mkswap; swapon fails for certain kernels,
    unless mkswap does fsync(DEV).

    Linux does not guarantee coherency between hda and hda1.
    For example, cfdisk will show filesystem labels.
    If one showed a label (accessed by cfdisk via /dev/hda)
    and then changed it (via /dev/hda1) and then used cfdisk
    again, the old contents would be shown. Here a BLKFLSBUF helped.

    Sometimes the result of fdisk disappears - one uses fdisk,
    rechecks with a new fdisk call that all is really well, reboots,
    and finds the old partition table. I am not sure what precisely happens.
    Perhaps a dirty (super)block written back, destroying fdisk's changes.

    Anyway, whole disk access is a bit suspect in Linux.
    The BLKFLSBUF and sync() kludges help a little but still
    do not guarantee correct operation.

    Andries

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