Art Alexion on 9 May 2007 13:24:11 -0000

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[PLUG] File system mystery

I have been having some disparate problems that may be related.  They do not 
seem minor.

First the system
Kubuntu Dapper 6.06.1 LTS
Kernel 2.6.15-28-686 #1 SMP PREEMPT Tue Mar 13 20:55:53 UTC 2007 i686 (this is 
a single CPU system)
KDE 3.5.5

Problem #1:
I've had this problem since upgrading Breezy to Dapper.  Hald won't daemonize.  
Without hal, access to USB peripherals is impossibly slow and samba won't 
browse, and shares won't mount (w2k has no problem mounting the Linux shares, 
but Linux won't mount the win shares.)  I got a lot of help trying to 
diagnose this problem a while back, but no solution.  The solution seemed to 
be a clean reinstall.

I was putting off the reinstall when all of a sudden, hal started working.  I 
had no idea what changed to make it work, but it did.  All was good.

About a week ago, it stopped working again.  the reason for the change, once 
more, eludes me.

Yesterday, it started working again.  This may be related to problems #2 & #3.

Problem #2
Every once in a while /dev/null gets corrupted and won't work for a regular 
user.  This causes weird problems, like inability to print and start X.  To 
fix, I go to tty 3 and remove and remake the device.  Then everything works 
fine.  This happens anywhere from once a day to once every two weeks.  I boot 
from /dev/hda; I assume the block device is stored somewhere on that 

I have no idea why this is happening.

Here is the weird part:  If I boot while /dev/null is corrupt, hald daemonizes 
without complaint.

Problem #3
This really scared me last night.  All of a sudden I couldn't access any 
subdirectories on the drive/partition where my music is stored.  I have about 
188 GB and no backup (other than CD-Rs of about 75%, but we're talking 
hundreds of CD-Rs to re-rip.)  This happened while amarok was transferring 
music from the partition to my iPod (halfway through loading an 80 MB 
podcast).  Then amarok couldn't find the music, and ls couldn't browse the 
sudirectories.  Bash completion failed on known subdirectories. Only df 
confirmed the continued existence of the data.

I exited the KDE session, went to a shell prompt and umounted the partition 
(/dev/hdf1, IDE/ATA, mounted on /mnt/music -- there is nothing else on this 
200 GB disc/partion -- fs is ext3).  Umount succeeded, but complained that 
there was a "hole in sector 529" in the process.  fsck failed to start, 
complaining of bad sector 0.  dmesg output complaind of lots of I/O errors on 
the drive.

I went to bed.

One more thing:
Sometimes (about 3x in as many months) when hald is running and power save is 
initiated, the computer becomes so unresponsive to a wake up that even the 
numlock won't toggle.  Only a hard reboot solves things.  But... a hard 
reboot yields a functioning hald and a corrupted but easily fixed /dev/null.

When I got up this morning, I found one of those powersave lock-ups.  On hard 
reboot, not only did hald daemonize, and /dev/null initialize with 
corruption, but /mnt/music mounted without a problem and everything is still 

At this point, I am afraid to access the files or umount the partition.

Can this stuff be related?  What to do about /dev/hdf1-/mnt/music?


Art Alexion

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