February 23, 2019

GRUB vs. the Inodes: Who Needs a Bootable System, Anyway? - page 2

Computers: The Fun Never Ends

  • May 1, 2008
  • By Carla Schroder
There are several options. Distribution maintainers are applying their own patches (see Resources for a sampling). You could switch to GRUB 2 or LILO. Yes, nice reliable old LILO has no problem with 256-byte inodes. GRUB 2 promises to be wonderful in many ways, though its current reliability on production systems is questionable. The current status is
"...usable, but we are still making incompatible changes from time to time. Stabilizing the features is planned in November, 2008."
The quickest and easiest option (when you have control of filesystem creation) is to format any new Ext3 filesystems with 128-byte inodes. This command tells you your e2fsprogs version:
$ mke2fs -V
mke2fs 1.40.8 (13-Mar-2008)
        Using EXT2FS Library version 1.40.8

This is the usual command for creating new Ext3 filesystems with e2fsprogs:

# mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda1

The newer versions that default to 256-byte inodes will emit this warning, and create your new filesystem anyway:
Warning: 256-byte inodes not usable on older systems

Use the uppercase I option to create 128-byte inodes:

# mkfs.ext3 -I 128 /dev/sda1

You can check your work with tune2fs:

# tune2fs -l /dev/sda1 | grep -i 'inode size'
Inode size:               128

The excellent GParted is a front-end to the mkfs command and runs only mkfs.ext3 [devicename] with no way to add options, so you'll have to use mkfs itself.

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