back to article Aw, Snap! But you should see the other guy – they're in dire need of a good file system consistency check

Switch to Linux, they said. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, if today's edition of The Register's Bork diary is anything to go by. Reader "Clive The Commuter" spotted a BOGOF (bork one, get one free) as a pair of digital signs at London's Marylebone station had a wobble. "Aw, Snap!" says a cheery edition of what we …

  1. chuckufarley Silver badge

    I don't care....

    ...What the sales rep told you! You should *never* run a production rootfs from a micro SD card!

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: I don't care....

      My oldest devices in service are 8 and 10 years old and still on their original SD cards. The newer devices are doing things that require more speed so OS on SD card would cause a noticeable slow down. If the task is not demanding, you buy quality cards and over spec the capacity OS on SD can be fine. If you buy cards from the supermarket the cards might last a few hours but I would not trust them that long with valuable data.

      1. Kristian Walsh

        Re: I don't care....

        Make the on-card filesystems read-only, put all writable stuff into a ramfs, and there's no issue with using SD cards. Flash is destroyed by writing, not reading, and for something like this that’s just a thin-client to a web-hosted service, there’s no need for writable persistent storage on the device.

        I would, however, have also designed this with a recovery image so that any corruption of that main flash could be blasted away easily by a quick dd, but as it’s a mobile unit anyway, access for repair is probably not as big an issue as for fixed stuff.

    2. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: I don't care....

      Solid state drives are not that expensive in small sizes and supposedly last longer.

      SD cards are crap unless is the expensive ones used for Video Recording Cameras and even then I always do more than one backup.

  2. b0llchit Silver badge

    Rocket science or crash

    Switch to Linux, they said. What could possibly go wrong?

    Well, you should not expect a different result when the same (intellectually chalenged) designers and maintainers are employed, regardless of underlying system. Doing fail-resistant systems is hard, very hard. Making systems fail-safe (or fail safely systems) is even harder, very much harder. Just look at rocket science... We still have some devices floating out in space, very far away at 150+ AU, and still sending data. So, it can be done, building a stable system.

    I do not think that anybody is prepared to pay for that any more.

    1. stuartnz
      Thumb Up

      Re: It can be done

      "We still have some devices floating out in space, very far away at 150+ AU, and still sending data."

      Apropos of SFA, this comment led me to Voyager site to confirm the distance gap between the 2 Voyagers. I said out loud, "oh, Voyager 2 is only 124 AU away" then smiled at the absurdity of that statement. I also noted that Voyager 1 is now 20.75 light hours away - I hope that someone's planning a party for the light-day milestone. :D

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It can be done

        > I hope that someone's planning a party for the light-day milestone. :D

        1 LD from Earth = November 18, 2026

        so a while yet to get the balloons ready.

        1. stuartnz

          Re: It can be done

          "1 LD from Earth = November 18, 2026

          so a while yet to get the balloons ready."

          Given that NASA is a government agency, barely enough time to find the disused filing cabinet the balloons are in, I'd say.

          1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
            Big Brother

            Re: It can be done

            Just about the right time to submit the funding request for 1 pack of government-approved balloons from a government-approved supplier. $2,000,000 should just about do it, unless you want some helium too.

            1. aki009

              Re: It can be done

              It's not $2,000,000 for the pack of balloons. It's $10 for the balloons, and $1,999,990 for the required paperwork. For convenience they are just billed together.

            2. Chris G

              Re: It can be done

              A set of standards must be written up delineating maximum and minimum lnflated volume at a given pressure,rate of inflation using 'standard' lung power, hand pump or motorised pump,

              Impermeability at atmospheric pressure at sea level, penetrative resistance and colour spectrum availability. Development and delivery times must be determined and samples provided all subject to tender, the decision to be based on a ratio of price/quality assurance........

              and there's the procurement of the string,......

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: It can be done

                "and there's the procurement of the string,......"

                Shirley the string is only theoretical?

      2. ciaran

        zero time

        Of course, from the point of view of the photons, it takes exactly 0 time to make the trip.

        Photons never age ;)

    2. DCFusor

      Re: Rocket science or crash

      So, a chrome failure (app) and a hard drive issue (hardware) are now blamed on the opsys?

      Windows sour grapes.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Rocket science or crash

        To be fair, a request for a FSCK doesn't necessarily mean drive failed. It could have been a power or software problem which caused a shutdown without syncing everything. So that could possibly be down to an OS error, although it could also be one of two hardware failures or a non-OS software failure.

        1. molletts

          Re: Rocket science or crash

          In this case, it's almost certainly a drive or interface failure. The sign appears to have an NCQ-capable SATA drive which is returning bus errors to the block device layer in response to both read and write commands, leading to I/O errors in the filesystem layer. The automatic fsck run during the startup process (probably triggered by the filesystem having failed to unmount cleanly due to drive errors last time the machine shut down) failed because of the I/O errors so the init script is asking for human intervention.

      2. Glen 1

        Re: Rocket science or crash

        TBF, how many hardware (or crappy 3rd party driver) problems has windows taken flack for over the years.

    3. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Rocket science or crash

      Too bad an Atari is too underpowered to tun this kind of stuff, the old things still work and only fear for rust, damaged cables and termites.

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Replacement PCI bus service

    I'm here all week, try the veal

    1. Glen 1

      Re: Replacement PCI bus service

      "I'm here all week"

      Sounds about right for UK rail services.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Replacement PCI bus service

      But i've lready tipped the waitstaff!

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    the same state of disrepair as the signalling and points on the Metropolitan Line (over which Chiltern runs), and what should have been a 30-min trip home stretched to three times the usual scheduled amount of time


    It was quite usual for the Chiltern line in my day and it looks like nothing much has changed from 30 years ago.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      I used them for 14 months around 2013 and they were pretty good at getting me between Banbury and Birmingham. There were a few issues but most seemed to be caused by sad individuals foisting their terminal unhappiness onto us commuters. My only gripe was that I liked to use Snow Hill (it being quieter and also the terminus) and if anything went wrong the service went no further than Moor St. On a couple of occasions that meant a mad dash from Snow to Moor via the shopping centre.

      And is there anything worse for a commuter than getting an SMS at 1530 telling them there is a problem with their train?

      But I was only once seriously late. They had to lay buses on one evening and I was nearly an hour late arriving home. But most of the time they ran a very punctual and pleasant service.

      I was damn lucky though. I was made redundant the same week that there was a landslide near Leamington Spa. That must have been a very unpleasant experience for my ex-fellow commuters.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. batfastad

      Chiltern line rider here and to be fair there are far worse train cartels operating around London.

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Look at all this new-fangled nonsense

    They should never have got rid of the BBCs, they don't crash. Well, almost never.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Look at all this new-fangled nonsense

      BBC micros don't crash, they just BAAH without the Bip!

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