Booting XO-1 with SD card occasionally hangs on I/O timeouts

Mikus Grinbergs mikus at
Tue May 8 16:14:35 EDT 2012

> Is this an interesting problem?
> It only happens occasionally, say 1 out of 100 times.

Over the years, I've always had a "permanent" SD card in all my XO 
systems (many dozens of SD cards in all).  The SD cards have one 
ext2-formatted data partition, plus a swap partition.

I can NEVER recall any incident where I could attribute "failure to 
boot" to the SD card.  [Note that if an XO fails to boot, I normally 
don't get to see the /var/log/messages from that boot attempt.]   My 
experience with "failures to boot (after getting past OFW)" is that they 
occur 10 out of 10 times (not 1 out of 100).

I've had a handful of incidents where the SD card became "dead" - 
(electrically unresponsive) - but the XO would still boot - it would 
just not "see" the SD card.

In general, an XO with a corrupted SD card would boot - but accesses to 
one or more directories would time out (and 'ls -l' would show question 
marks).  Nowadays I always 'synch' after explicitly writing onto an SD 
card,  and run 'fsck' whenever I have an SD card removed from its XO.

My suggestion would be to try "repairing" (fsck?) the SD card.  Though 
you may not have the time to try this, you might check if the same SD 
card on a different XO-1 still has this problem, and if a different SD 
card in the original XO-1 still has this problem.


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