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Re: Bug? Extremely slow loading of initrd if it has more than 4 extents

From: Felix Miata
Subject: Re: Bug? Extremely slow loading of initrd if it has more than 4 extents on EXT4
Date: Thu, 16 May 2013 11:38:42 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:20.0) Gecko/20100101 SeaMonkey/2.17.1

On 2013-05-16 13:57 (GMT+0200) Joschi Brauchle composed:

I have a problem with booting openSUSE 12.3 from an ext2 filesystem
using GRUB 0.97 as follows:

According to your Novell bug report, you're using an ext4 filesystem.

openSUSE's Grub 0.97 is exclusively "maintained" by openSUSE. Upstream hasn't maintained Grub Legacy for several years. EXT4 support in openSUSE's Grub 0.97 would be entirely openSUSE's responsibility.

If the initrd file uses **more than 4** extents on the ext2 filesystem,
loading it takes "forever" on a recent Core2Duo system (i.e. up to ~60
seconds). That is, grub prints:
root (hd0,0)
kernel ...
initrd ...
<flashing cursor for a long time, i.e. up to 60 seconds>
and then continues booting normally.

If the initrd file takes **4 or less** extents on the ext2 filesystem,
the initrd is loaded in "no time" (i.e. faster than the eye can see).

I originally reported the problem here:

Is this a known problem with the grub ext2 driver?

I have many openSUSE installations, all using Grub Legacy, among them at least 10 12.3, and no more than one using EXT4. I just booted the last 12.3 I had previously booted, which is on EXT3, but uses the EXT4 kernel driver, as most kernels have been doing for at least several releases. Filefrag -v reports the currently booted kernel uses 11 extents. I suspect few of my others would be very much different, at least WRT use of more or less than 4 extents. IOW, I'd expect all are using >4. The 11.4 kernel's initrd on the system I'm typing this from uses 100 extents on EXT3.

I cannot recall ever seeing the slowness you're reporting. However, I have no HDs with 4k sectors used for booting anything. All my HDs >.5TB are data only devices. Only one of my openSUSE installations could possibly be booting from EXT4. The majority, if not all, are booting either from EXT2 or EXT3.

Grub2 is the default bootloader for openSUSE 12.3, but does not automatically replace Grub Legacy for upgrade installations. If you want Grub2 on a system Grub Legacy system upgraded to 12.3 you need to install it with zypper or yast.
"The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant
words are persuasive." Proverbs 16:21 (New Living Translation)

 Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409 ** a11y rocks!

Felix Miata  ***

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