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Date:	Wed, 26 Aug 2009 00:27:23 +0200
From:	Pavel Machek <>
To:	Theodore Tso <>, Ric Wheeler <>,
	Florian Weimer <>,
	Goswin von Brederlow <>,
	Rob Landley <>,
	kernel list <>,
	Andrew Morton <>,,,,,
Subject: [patch] document that ext2 can't handle barriers

Document things ext2 expects from storage filesystems, and the fact
that it can not handle barriers. Also remove jounaling description, as
that's really ext3 material.

Signed-off-by: Pavel Machek <>

diff --git a/Documentation/filesystems/ext2.txt b/Documentation/filesystems/ext2.txt
index 67639f9..e300ca8 100644
--- a/Documentation/filesystems/ext2.txt
+++ b/Documentation/filesystems/ext2.txt
@@ -338,27 +339,17 @@ enough 4-character names to make up unique directory entries, so they
 have to be 8 character filenames, even then we are fairly close to
 running out of unique filenames.
+Ext2 expects disk/storage subsystem not to return write errors.
+It also needs write caching to be disabled for reliable fsync
+operation; ext2 does not know how to issue barriers as of
+2.6.31. hdparm -W0 disables it on SATA disks.
-A journaling extension to the ext2 code has been developed by Stephen
-Tweedie.  It avoids the risks of metadata corruption and the need to
-wait for e2fsck to complete after a crash, without requiring a change
-to the on-disk ext2 layout.  In a nutshell, the journal is a regular
-file which stores whole metadata (and optionally data) blocks that have
-been modified, prior to writing them into the filesystem.  This means
-it is possible to add a journal to an existing ext2 filesystem without
-the need for data conversion.
-When changes to the filesystem (e.g. a file is renamed) they are stored in
-a transaction in the journal and can either be complete or incomplete at
-the time of a crash.  If a transaction is complete at the time of a crash
-(or in the normal case where the system does not crash), then any blocks
-in that transaction are guaranteed to represent a valid filesystem state,
-and are copied into the filesystem.  If a transaction is incomplete at
-the time of the crash, then there is no guarantee of consistency for
-the blocks in that transaction so they are discarded (which means any
-filesystem changes they represent are also lost).
 Check Documentation/filesystems/ext3.txt if you want to read more about
 ext3 and journaling.

(cesky, pictures)
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