* (laptop) harddisk firmwares and (laptop) BIOSes might set too aggressive power management (operating system independent)
* The operating system and the applications running on it might cause too much unnecessary disk activity (multiple operating systems are affected. at least a couple of Linux distributions seem to have the same problem)
The result : is rapid parking/unparking cycles of the harddisk's head (a rapidly increasing Load_Cycle_Count).
IMHO this is the way Ubuntu should fix this :
IMHO this Load_Cycle_Count bug should be assigned critical priority.
IMHO Ubuntu should make fixing unnecessary disk activity bugs a high priority. We can all help finding unnecessary disk activity bugs.
IMHO Ubuntu should override too aggressive power management and make this also a high priority.
IMHO smartmontools should be installed on default. smartd should run on default with sane settings hooking into a notifier to notify users. At least some people who were affected might be warned in time to buy a new harddrive. Maybe this should be a Hardy goal ?
Laptop-mode with sane default settings can override too aggressive power management settings and can also prevent some unnecessary disk activity. Maybe Ubuntu should enable laptop-mode with sane default settings for laptops. What do you guys think ? What are sane default settings ?
Some suggestions for laptop-mode parameters :
Regarding smartd hooking into a notifier. I'm thinking of the following example situations when to warn a user :
* if the Load_Cycle_Count is increased with more than 22 cycles per hour (22 * 24 * 365 * 3 < 600.000) (to find people who are still affected)
* if smartctl assesses your harddrive as not healthy
* if more than X errors were found during the last self-test
* if Load_Cycle_Count's WORST is within Y of Load_Cycle_Count's THRESHOLD
I found the following wiki pages with similar ideas :
Some bug reports about unnecessary disk activity. These bugs are possible contributors to the Load_Cycle_Count issue.
* the commit interval for the ext3 filesystem should be higher than 5 seconds for laptop users
* ext3 partitions should be mounted with noatime or relatime for laptop users
* acpid : Log output far too verbose
* liferea might cause unnecessary disk activity
* thunderbird might cause unnecessary disk activity
* tracker : the index delay should be set to a higher value for laptop users
firefox might cause unnecessary disk activity when going to a new website
hddtemp might cause unnecessary disk activity
IMHO we need people to contribute to these bugs.
There's more information about the Load_Cycle_Count issue in this bug report :