Comment 17 for bug 556621

Theodore Ts'o (tytso) wrote :

Other people from Canonical have been filing bugs complaining about how they can't count on the time being correct.

In particular there are certain embedded devices which apparently Canonical has been building for where the time reliably resets itself to some time in the distant past every single time you reboot. Sure, if you happen to be on the network hopefully ntp or some other time daemon will skew the time back to reality, but what if that doesn't happen, and there are inodes which are created back in the 1900's? A patch to e2fsck which unceremoniously offers to clear them is likely going to cause Unbuntu users to go up in arms.

I suppose we could code in some hard-coded dates. (If the time is before when Linux was invented, clearly it's bogus.) However, I'm concerned that such hueristics aren't going to catch them all.

The best way to fix this is to have a kernel patch which clears uninitialized inodes in the background, so it's not done as a blocking activity during mke2fs. That is a much safer thing to do, IMHO.