Crazy Extended Attributes

06 February 2006

Linux 2.6.15.2 came out, so I rebooted butterfly last night at midnight expecting only the normal reboot issues with that server. I got much more exciting issues! For some reason, large numbers of files and directories all over the machine had interesting combinations of extended attributes (most notably immutable flags), which caused lots of noise at boot as files couldn't be updated.

I recursively cleared all the attributes to get moving again, but I still have a few straggler files which refuse to be removed, moved, or replaced even though their attributes appear to be clear. I guess I'll be doing a reiserfsck on the whole system tonight.

Update (6 February 2006): I ended up going back to 2.6.15.1. Apparently extended attributes weren't working there anyway, so I don't see this issue. My notebook has no trouble, and it can use the extended attributes. The filesystems checked out fine, so I wonder if I'll end up just rebuilding the filesystems completely someday, just to get past kernel 2.6.15.1.

I'm not confident enough that I know what is happening to try to report it to the kernel mailing list. Additionally, I can't afford much down time on the server to test patches.

I'm hoping it may just go away with a newer kernel, since there may have been other odd interactions with SCSI, since some kernels through SCSI parity errors while trying to rebuild the reiser tree, and others behaved fine. I was using the new 2.6.15.2, and Knoppix' 2.6.12, I believe. I forget which displayed which errors.


Filed Under: Linux Computers