Random Amnesia, or the Wonders of ext4 Data Loss

In the land of Linux Gnurus tech world, much is made about the wonders of Linux’s various oft-changing file systems. There are many to choose from. So many, that if you randomly pick 3 letters and a number, you will probably find it as a Linux file system. At the moment, I have 3 infestations “distros” on my computer… and all three–by default–use ext4. Sadly, ext4 likes to sit on its ass often waits a while before writing data to the hard drive. The result: data loss.

At some point all 3 of my tangled piles of spaghetti code distros have all fallen victim to this problem. In every case, ext4 doesn’t seem to have struck a lick at a snake taken the time to write configuration changes to file. The most common plague problem that has resulted is that my various Linuxii forget stuff like: what wallpaper I had selected, what programs I had pinned to the task bar (Win 7 still has you beat Loons lusers freeta… Linux “designers”), which programs have been recently used, or just what icons or folders are supposed to be shown on the frackin’ desktop.

Seriously, if Windows or Mac dropped icons and forgot wallpapers and such every few days, they would go out of business. However, it seems everyone and their brother’s mother’s sister’s daughter’s cousin’s aunt on their father’s side is willing to give Linux a pass. “Just use a different File System” is the main advice offered it seems. No, I refuse to do so. These things come with a default file system (and software) and great press from the tech fluffers writers about how this stuff is soooooo ready for Grandma to use.

I refuse to go changing file systems because the one that was picked is a buggy, half-baked donkey turd pile of code in need of scrapping. It is no wonder that for my home state here, the OS usage breaks down as such:

Windows 7 46.38%
Windows XP 28.16%
Windows Vista 14.13%
Mac OS X 10.6 4.77%
Mac OS X 10.7 3.78%
Mac OS X 10.5 1.69%
Linux 0.53%
Mac OS X 10.4 0.28%
Windows 2000 0.11%
Windows 8 0.05%
Windows NT 0.05%
Windows 98 0.03%
Mac OS X (no version reported) 0.02%
Mac OS X 10.8 0.01%
Windows 95 0.01%
Windows ME 0.01%
Mac OS X Mach-O 0.01%

And for my area code the overalls are:

Windows 88.92%
Mac 10.63%
Linux 0.45%

People don’t want to use it.

Linux on the desktop fails on its own lack of merits, not because it is being held down by “the man” or anything else. As a desktop system, it fails to meet the expectations of consumers. It isn’t any one BIG thing that is the problem, it is the numerous small bugs that the coding baboons software “designers” working in the Looniverse “community” just can’t take their time to nail down before sticking their program into a “ready for the masses” OS* The hard work isn’t making a pretty toolbar or shiny icons. The hard work is making sure ext4 doesn’t lose data, working on Nepomuk so it doesn’t crash every five minutes. Fixing whatever soundstack is being used this week so it doesn’t spaz out if there are two or more programs sending sound output to it.

Linux: Why improve when we can kill ourselves by a thousand cuts?

*The Interweebs!** soooooooooo need of a sarcasm font.

** “Interweebs!” is a wholly owned copyright, trademark, and subsidiary of DigitalAtheist Ink.***

*** Any unauthorized use will result in a harsh glare from across the Interweebs!


About DigitalAtheist
Out to find out how much Linux-loving hype is just hype and how much is true. Hype seems to be winning.

7 Responses to Random Amnesia, or the Wonders of ext4 Data Loss

  1. kurkosdr says:

    What filesystem is Ubuntu using? I currently hide my childhood porn (from my SO) in an old Xbox1 running UnleashX and XBMC. Took me hours to download back then with a PSTN, don’t really have the nerve to delete them. I am thinking about hiding them in the Linux VM I ll set up on Monday, but only if Ubuntu isn’t using ext4.

    • Sadly/surprisingly/stunningly/WTFly… Ubuntu and its K/l/X/Ed/Myth variants are all pretty much ext4. If you wish to save said porn, I strongly advise you to burn it to a cd, save it to a windows install, or at least copy it to a usb drive. as of this morning, ext4/Mint has yet again lost anything that would lead it to using the wallpaoper i’ve suggested. sigh

    • Alex says:

      I’m pretty sure you can use Ubuntu with ext3. Or you can make a Windows VM. Supposedly the issue about config files dissappearing (due to programs not using fsync before rename) has been fixed years ago, and the alloc_on_commit option was added which writes on disk every 5 seconds or so (there is also the nodealloc option which disables delayed allocation completely). I’m not sure if Ubuntu uses them as default (probably not).

      • Hi Alex. I am pretty sure I can use ext3 also, however, this experiment is ment to be run as the average user would run it: downloading and installing with default settings. I don’t know what the prob is with saving my config options. I know that supposedly the problem with ext4 has been fixed… but my real world experience is the opposite. however, if you have some suggestions to make for fixing the probs i would be glad to test them out 😀

  2. kurkosdr says:

    Sometimes I fon’t understand the loons. You have something that’t crude, not fancy but works (ALSA, ext3). Then you replace it with something that’s suposedly new and fancy but has random beta stage bugs (PulseAudio), causing much frustrution among users, because Linux must one-up or match Windows or something. AlphaIsBetaIsFinal(tm) in full effect.

    Something must be horribly wrong with Shuttleworth’s head and with Mint guys. (Some) users have such low standards today that all these guys had to do is make sure upgrades work on previously Ubuntu-certified computers and not bundle stuff from upstream without testing it to verify upstream’s claim it’s suitable for public consumption. This is minimum effort guys, and you are nit even putting that. But please keep blogging how MS sucks.

  3. kurkosdr says:

    New version of Ubuntu is out! Does it also lose files? One more waterboarding please.

    Also, would it be so hard to make the config pf Ubuntu tools do an fsunc? At least the basic ones like the tool that changes the wallpaper?

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