OFW and journal recovery warning

James Cameron quozl at laptop.org
Mon Feb 14 04:19:40 EST 2011

G'day Yioryos,

The "ext3 journal needs recovery" is emitted by OpenFirmware when the
ext3 filesystem contains a bit flag set in the metadata.  Linux sets
this bit in various situations.  fsck.ext3 does not *report* this bit.
When the filesystem is mounted, even read-only, the kernel mount will
cause the ext3 journal to be recovered.  It has very little to do with

The "ext3 journal needs recovery" is emitted only when a file is opened.
You'll get one for each open while the feature flag is set.
OpenFirmware does not clear the feature flag.  OpenFirmware blocks
writes to the filesystem while the feature flag is set.

The flag is EXT3_FEATURE_INCOMPAT_RECOVER defined in linux/ext2_fs.h,
value 0x0004, and is read from field s_feature_incompat in struct
ext2_super_block.  This is done in line 53 of ext2fs/sb.fth


The filesystem is not actually clean.  It has this bit set.  However,
there's different opinions on what "clean" is.

James Cameron

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