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Kernel Traffic #134 For 24 Sep 2001

Editor: Zack Brown

By Mark Zealey  and  Zack Brown

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Table Of Contents

Mailing List Stats For This Week

We looked at 939 posts in 4061K.

There were 384 different contributors. 172 posted more than once. 150 posted last week too.

The top posters of the week were:

1. Using Network Devices For /dev/random Entropy Pool

7 Sep 2001 - 16 Sep 2001 (6 posts) Archive Link: "Linux 2.4.9-ac10"

Summary By Zack Brown

Topics: Kernel Release Announcement, Random Number Generation

People: Robert LoveAlan CoxMike Fedyk

Alan Cox announced 2.4.9-ac10, and Mike Fedyk asked if there were any plans to merge Robert Love's patch to allow network devices to contribute to the entropy pool for /dev/random. Robert replied:

While I would love to see the network entropy patch merged into 2.4 (its an option -- plus, since it standardizes the handfull of drivers that currently _do_ contribute to the entropy pool, its a nice cleanup) I am aiming for 2.5.

I keep the patch up to date with both Linus's and Alan's tree. Patches against the current kernel can be found at - 2.4.9-ac10 patches are up.

2. InterMezzo High-Availability Filesystem Announced

13 Sep 2001 - 14 Sep 2001 (3 posts) Archive Link: "[ANNOUNCEMENT] InterMezzo"

Summary By Zack Brown

Topics: Access Control Lists, Extended Attributes, FS: Coda, FS: InterMezzo, FS: NFS, FS: ext3, Version Control

People: Peter J. BraamPavel MachekStephen Tweedie

Peter J. Braam announced:

I have just released InterMezzo This is a further test version ramping up for a stable Linux 2.4 release in 1.0.6. We now believe we have fixed most problems in InterMezzo related to Linux 2.4. This code is released under the GPL.


InterMezzo is a high availability file system which replicates directory trees among systems. It provides disconnected operation, journal recovery and kernel level write back caching. It can use the rsync algorithm for synchronization. It uses protocols somewhat similar to Coda's.

This release includes a kernel rpm (2.4.9-ac5). The 2.4 -ac series includes intermezzo and this kernel includes a minor extra intermezzo patch to pure -ac.




Read the file COPYING in the distribution to see the conditions under which this software is made available. Please use this version at your own risk and exercise care (back up your systems etc). [With the 2.2.19 kernels fewer problems are known, but a 2.2.19 kernel RPM is not included.]


You can get sources and rpms from

Documentation is included and available at:

Or get code from the intermezzo project on sourceforge. Check out the CVS tag r1_0_5_2.

Pavel Machek asked if this code was released under the standard GPL, or a variant. Peter replied, "Standard GPL - and there are a lot of copyright holders already, so it's solid."

3. linux-kernel Mailing List Digest Available

17 Sep 2001 (1 post) Archive Link: "[ANNOUNCE] linux-kernel-digest at"

Summary By Zack Brown

People: Matt Domsch

Matt Domsch of Dell announced:

Dell is pleased to provide digest forms of the linux-kernel and linux-scsi mailing lists. These lists, along with some Dell-specific lists, are hosted at, using the GNU Mailman list software, on a 2x1GHz Dell PowerEdge 2450 server.

Two digest forms of linux-kernel are provided.

Please direct any feedback about these lists to

4. Situation Of External ext3 Journal Under 2.2

17 Sep 2001 - 18 Sep 2001 (8 posts) Archive Link: "Ext3 journal on its own device?"

Summary By Zack Brown

Topics: FS: ext2, FS: ext3

People: Christian BorntrægerAndrew MortonStephen C. TweedieAndreas Dilger

Juan Piernas Conovas looked over the ext3 0.0.7a source and discovered that it was impossible to use a block device as a journal. Christian Borntræger pointed out that ext3 was already at version .99, and that Juan should look over some more recent code. But Juan replied that he was using kernel version 2.2, and ext3 0.0.7a was the most recent code for that kernel. Christian replied, "good point. I am not sure if ext3 is still maintained for linux 2.2, but I doubt it. Andrew or Stephen should be able to answer this question. But with 0.0.7a it is not possible to have an external journal." Andrew Morton agreed that it wouldn't be possible to have an external journal with that version, and added, "Stephen is actively maintaining ext3 for the 2.2 kernels, but it is definitely in "maintenance mode"." Stephen C. Tweedie added, "Critical bugfixes only for 2.2. All current development is 2.4 only. There are _tons_ of improvements in 2.4 which will not be back-ported; 2.4 is the official current ext3." Elsewhere he added:

In the 2.2 code (ext3-0.0.7a), the journal has to be part of the filesystem. The current e2fsprogs and 2.4 ext3 code (ext3-0.9.9) does support journals on other devices, but there's more support to be added before it's truly complete (in particular we want to support several filesystems journaling to a single shared journal spool.)

The separate-journal-disk code hasn't been tested as much as the default journal-on-main-filesystem code, and it's not officially supported, so the format might change in the future. But it should work.

Andreas Dilger also mentioned, "There was a patch for 2.2 journal devices long ago, but I'm not sure if it was updated to work with the new "format" of the external journal. It was posted to ext2-devel by Marcelo Tossatti, probably 6 months ago or more."

5. Downtime And IP Number Change

17 Sep 2001 (4 posts) Archive Link: " downtime and IP number change - Wed, Sep 19, 2001"

Summary By Zack Brown

People: H. Peter AnvinAaron Lehmann

H. Peter Anvin said: will be moving to a new location at the Internet Software Consortium (ISC) this coming Wednesday, September 19. For the duration of the move, ftp/, and its associated services will be unavailable.

Mirror sites will continue to be available, of course, and http requests will be redirected to a web page which has the mirror sites listed.

The new IP addresses will be as follows:

Aaron Lehmann asked, "Is IP-based virtual hosting still in fashion?" H. Peter replied, "It is if you care about anything but HTTP and mail."

6. Coda And ext3

19 Sep 2001 - 20 Sep 2001 (6 posts) Archive Link: "Coda and Ext3"

Summary By Mark Zealey

Topics: FS: Coda, FS: ext3, USB

People: Sujal ShahJan HarkesFlorian Schaefer

Sujal Shah asked:

The Linux Coda drivers and the ext3 patches don't seem to get along very well, at least in Linux 2.4.7. I've got a stock 2.4.7 kernel with a patch applied to the USB drivers (for a sony digital camera; see just a change in unusual_devs.h).

After I applied the ext3 patches from Basically, when an application tries to write to a file system mounted via coda, the application terminates with "Memory Fault" returned to the terminal. THe file system still thinks it's busy (can't umount).

Jan Harkes replied, "Yeah, I know, and it will probably work when you don't enable data-journalling. Coda's kernelmodule currently uses generic_file_read and generic_file_write on it's containerfiles, which works for many filesystems. However, ext3fs (and tmpfs and several others) have a filesystem specific write implementation and don't really like being called with the generic functions. The patch is simple, but I haven't made it yet." A few hours later, he made and posted his patch, but Florian Schaefer replied, "I just tried your patch together with coda-debug-client-5.3.15-1, kernel-2.4.9 and ext3-2.4-0.9.6-249 and still get the BUG message" . Jan replied "No, different bug." He explained "Your bug is unusual, because it happens during the mount, everybody else successfully mounted Coda and could read files, it would just die when trying to write anything." He summarized, " I'm clueless how this could have happened, and I can't see how it could happen. Perhaps a patch got botched, or your kernel is mixing up objects from before the patch with later ones."







Sharon And Joy

Kernel Traffic is grateful to be developed on a computer donated by Professor Greg Benson and Professor Allan Cruse in the Department of Computer Science at the University of San Francisco. This is the same department that invented FlashMob Computing. Kernel Traffic is hosted by the generous folks at All pages on this site are copyright their original authors, and distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2.0.