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A solution to Kernel Panic ... on ext3 only!



Here I don't want to start a discussion, but rather share a *solution*
that took me some days to come up with.
The whole stuff started with a power-outage. After reboot, my server
(ext3) came back with the dreaded file system error (Ctrl-D to reboot or
password for maintenance) - if you've never seen this, consider yourself
lucky!
In any case, I did the fsck as prescribed, but abandoned the effort
after having to type the 'Y' for more than 100 times; restarting fsck
with '-y'. *Never* ever do this on ext3, as you will see later!
It started but then informed me about " ... too many errors" or so.
Next, after reboot, it came with a kernel-panic: No init found.
This is almost the time for re-install, isn't it!? No, I tried the
repair before. Bad luck, while reading my nice root-partition (hda6), it
complained "Error mounting filesystem on hda6: Invalid argument", and
"You don't have any Linux partitions. Press return ..."; though I could
*see* all files on hda6 nicely at the shell. I checked fstab: okay. I
could even mount /dev/hda6 to /mnt/help; looking pretty sane. Though I
was loosing out on my sanity ... !
Finally, enlightenment crossed my mind and here is the problem and the
solution:
The "fsck -y" (see above) had not been able to handle all the errors and
made the journal unusable. This is why all rescue and booting ended in
disarray: the corrupted journal made the partition look invalid as ext3,
though it was not so bad. I only had to convert it to ext2, have it
repair all the errors and finally recreate the journal; effectively
reconvert it to ext3. It is been running ever since without problem.
I am even pondering to consider that behaviour a bug, since a somewhat
minor problem made things worse (kernel panic!) unnecessarily. It seems
the journal got corrupted not by the outage but by simply too many
automated 'Y' *during repair* !? At least, it had been okay for the
first boot after the outage. Remarkable!

Uwe






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