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SubjectRe: Flavours of deceased bovine
Keith Owens writes:
> Just had an ext2 filesystem on SCSI that was corrupt. The first two
> words of the group descriptor had been overwritten with 0xdeadbeef,
> 0x00000000. The filesystem is fixed now but trying to track down the
> problem is difficult, there are 50+ places in the kernel that use
> 0xdeadbeef.
> I strongly suggest that people use different variants of dead beef to
> make it easier to work out where any corruption is coming from.
> Perhaps change the last 2-3 digits so magic values would be 0xdeadb000
> to 0xdeadbfff, assuming it does not affect any other code.

Nah, choose new words which stand out. There are plenty of them and
it avoids the problem of a 0xdeadb001 being decremented before being
noticed and thus confused with a 0xdeadb000. Be inventive:
egrep -x '[abcdefilos]{3,8}' /usr/dict/words
and make one up whenever needed. For example,
along with multiword ones like


Malcolm Beattie <>
Unix Systems Programmer
Oxford University Computing Services
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