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Date:	Thu, 3 Sep 2015 11:36:57 -0700
From:	"Darrick J. Wong" <>
To:	Richard Yao <>
Cc:	Jan Kara <>, LKML <>,
	"" <>,
	linux-fsdevel <>,
	Raymond Jennings <>,
	Linus Torvalds <>,
	"Theodore Ts'o" <>, Albino B Neto <>
Subject: Re: [GIT PULL] Ext3 removal, quota & udf fixes

On Thu, Sep 03, 2015 at 06:22:25PM +0000, Richard Yao wrote:
> What happens with this patch if /dev/$DEVICE is ext4 formatted and someone runs
> `mount -t ext3 /dev/$DEVICE $MNT`?
> This should fail with the ext3 driver, but it looks like it will work fine with
> CONFIG_EXT4_USE_FOR_EXT23 because ext3_fs_type maps to ext4_mount. My system is
> not built with CONFIG_EXT4_USE_FOR_EXT23 (long story short: it uses a RHEL6
> derived config on Linux 4.1) and I do not have time to rebuild it to verify my
> suspicion, but I imagine there are others on the list that could trivially check
> this.

On 4.2 with CONFIG_EXT4_USE_FOR_EXT23:

# mke2fs -T ext4 /dev/sda
# mount /dev/sda /mnt -t ext3
mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/sda,
       missing codepage or helper program, or other error
       In some cases useful info is found in syslog - try
       dmesg | tail  or so

# lsmod|grep ext 
ext4                  630784  0 
jbd2                  126976  1 ext4
mbcache                20480  1 ext4
# dmesg
[74559.632979] EXT4-fs (sda): couldn't mount as ext3 due to feature incompatibilities

> Also, new kernels are typically drop-in replacements on older userlands. An edge
> case that no one appears to have mentioned is the possibility of using a newer
> kernel on an older system where the initramfs generator might only include ext3,
> which this would break. It might not be terrible to write a small dummy ext3
> module whose only purpose is to depend on ext4 and load it into the kernel on
> those systems. That way initramfs software that properly grabs module
> dependencies will include the ext4 module and `modprobe ext3` will do what it

Well, if it goes looking for ext3.ko directly it will fail, but...

# modinfo ext3
filename:       /lib/modules/4.2.0-mcsum/kernel/fs/ext4/ext4.ko
license:        GPL
description:    Fourth Extended Filesystem
author:         Remy Card, Stephen Tweedie, Andrew Morton, Andreas Dilger, Theodore Ts'o and others
alias:          fs-ext4
alias:          ext3
alias:          fs-ext3

I don't know about RHEL initrd scripts, but Ubuntu's use some modprobe trickery
which ensures that it picks up the correct ext4.ko.  It does something similar
to this:

# modprobe --ignore-install --quiet --show-depends ext3 | sed -e 's/^insmod //g'

to pick up the modules for the initramfs.  Not sure what the other distros
do, though.

> always did in terms of making ext3 file systems mountable. I suppose that we
> could use aliases, but given that there is a compatibility shim for CONFIG_EXT3
> to avoid surprises, a dummy module seems reasonable.
> These are the only two things that I see preventing ext4 from being a drop-in
> replacement for ext3.
> That said, my only connection with ext3/ext4 is that I am one of the genkernel
> developers (Gentoo's  Linux initramfs/kernel genreation framework/scripts), so
> my opinion might not matter much here, but I am also in favor of killing ext3 in
> favor of CONFIG_EXT4_USE_FOR_EXT23.



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