Monday, June 04, 2007

Beware of Ubuntu Kernel 2.6.20-16!

Anyone using Ubuntu Feisty Fawn should not install the kernel update to 2.6.20-16! It comes as a security update, but it includes some nasty trickery with the ATA/SATA drivers. After I installed it I could not boot anymore, because for some reason the drive names had changed!

All the SATA drives that had /dev/sdXX names before were now called /dev/hdXX. Even though my /etc/fstab only contains "by-uuid" entries, all but the PATA boot drive could not be accessed.

I already suspected a hardware defect, because booting without the splash screen showed "lost interrupt" errors. I only got skeptical when I read it was on drive /dev/sdg which I just plain do not have!

Unplugging both SATA drives at least let me boot into the system again. From what I read in Launchpad Bug #116996 booting with the previous version 2.6.20-15 should work in the meantime.

I have to admit I am pretty pissed off by Ubuntu at the moment. I really love the work they do, however sometimes they seem to be a little too fast with updates (remember the troublesome X11 update some months ago) that are critical to the system. Maybe I would not be so angry about e. g. the sound card not working properly, but come on people, changing hard disk drivers silently as part of an unrelated security update?!

The bug is several days old already and Debian already has it fixed. However for some reason there does not seem to be much movement from Ubuntu...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

in the past years i've often had problems with newly installed kernels changing the order of partitions in any distro i've tried.

i used to think it was the kernel itself that lacked polish (as it always does, including in many other aspects).

now i am happy to know it was actually because of ubuntu's 2.6.20-16 kernel. so it's not the bastard's fault (linus'), it's mark's. such a relevant rant, yours.

Anonymous said...

I got that update, and just wanted to comment that it totally destroyed my hard drive; and now I have to get a new one. I went through hell trying to get my computer to boot up after the update. I initially went to the Ubuntu forum site and tried to get help/see if anyone else had a similar problem. I was accused of "crazy talk" (whatever that means). Sadly I made the mistake of totally trusting Ubuntu.

Daniel Schneller said...

Whatever you experienced, I am quite positively sure that the update did not cause any hardware damage. I do not see any way that could possibly happen.
However, "totally trusting" computers and their software is never a good idea, regardless of who made either of them.