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    Subjectlinux-2.4.0 breaks grub install into partition
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    Hi all,
    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, to always get the most current view of the
    disk partitioning, in case a re-read partition table ioctl failed. This also
    makes the boot loader's behaviour consistent with the grub-"shell" running in
    the unix environment; they both look very alike, which is one of its strengths.

    Digging through the kernel sources Olaf and me have come up with this theory:
    the buffer hash chains for the whole-disk device and the partition device are
    totally unrelated; therefore the grub write will allocate a new buffer on the
    /dev/hda hash and not use the proper in-core buffer of e.g. /dev/hda4's first
    block, where the mounted superblock resides. That one in turn will become
    dirty very quickly, and on the next sb sync will effectively undo grub's
    action.

    This is backed by the fact that the in-place modification of the stage2
    loader within the same partition works well and that all is fine when the
    partition is unmounted or even mounted read-only.

    What can we do about it ? I don't think it's right to say it is grub's fault
    -- working on the whole disk is a totally legal operation and should work as
    expected. My best guess is to associate all buffers with the _real_ disk they
    reside on, not the partition.

    Opinions ? Concepts ? (Patches ? ;-)

    Torsten

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