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Date:   Fri, 10 May 2019 16:19:47 +0200
From:   Denys Vlasenko <>
Subject: [PATCH] fix "fsck -A" failure on a completely clean fs

Before remounting root fs and mounting local filesystems
in /etc/fstab, my boot scripts check them for errors with:

if ! fsck -A; then
         echo "fsck exit code: $?. Boot will not continue."
         while true; do sleep 9999; done
mount -o remount,rw /
mount -a

Looks like something very straightforward, right?

I have two filesystems in /etc/fstab:
/dev/sda2 /                       ext4    defaults        1 1
/dev/sda1 /boot                   ext4    defaults        1 2

If I use fsck from util-linux-2.33.2-1.fc31.x86_64 (IOW: rather recent code),
it starts two instances of fsck.ext4 (all is fine with it).

The second one's stdio is redirected (probably to /dev/null),
it is no longer the tty. (Which is fine too).

But now we hit a problem. Second fsck.ext4 flat out refuses to do its job,
even before it looks at the filesystem.

Therefore, this condition does not trigger:
         if (getenv("E2FSCK_FORCE_INTERACTIVE") || (isatty(0) && isatty(1))) {
                 ctx->interactive = 1;
and ctx->interactive stays 0.
Therefore, later in main() fsck.ext4 dies with this message:
         if (!(ctx->options & E2F_OPT_PREEN) &&
             !(ctx->options & E2F_OPT_NO) &&
             !(ctx->options & E2F_OPT_YES)) {
                 if (!ctx->interactive)
                                     _("need terminal for interactive repairs"));

This happens BEFORE any repairs are deemed necessary, IOW: it happens ALWAYS,
even if filesystem is completely fine.

IOW: "fsck -A" is *completely unusable* in this scenario.
I believe this is wrong. It is intended to be the generic, fs-agnostic way
to run fsck's on all /etc/fstab filesystems.

I propose to change the code so that this abort happens only if we
indeed need to interactively ask something.

Tested patch attached.

Fedora BZ:

View attachment "interactive_bugout.patch" of type "text/x-patch" (1232 bytes)

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