blkid is hanging on probing nonexistant floppy drive

Bug #1044111 reported by warren on 2012-08-30
This bug affects 4 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
util-linux (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

1. Lubuntu 12.10 i386 3.5.0-11-generic
2. util-linux 2.20.1-5.1ubuntu1
3. I expected sudo blkid to display partition stats. This bug is reference to bug #1029149 gparted never completing scanning all devices.
4. I do not get the desired output from gparted or sudo blkid.

The attached screenshot show the lack of results when using the sudo blkid command.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 12.10
Package: util-linux 2.20.1-5.1ubuntu1
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.5.0-11.11-generic 3.5.2
Uname: Linux 3.5.0-11-generic i686
ApportVersion: 2.5.1-0ubuntu2
Architecture: i386
Date: Thu Aug 30 18:33:46 2012
InstallationMedia: Lubuntu 12.10 "Quantal Quetzal" - Alpha i386 (20120826)
 PATH=(custom, no user)
SourcePackage: util-linux
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

warren (wkclemmons) wrote :
warren (wkclemmons) wrote :
Ubuntu QA Website (ubuntuqa) wrote :

This bug has been reported on the Ubuntu ISO testing tracker.

A list of all reports related to this bug can be found here:

tags: added: iso-testing
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in util-linux (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Simon Reed (xubuntu-o) wrote :

I'm not sure whether to update this bug or:
- bug 155047
- bug 1029149
as I suspect they are really all duplicates as they suffer the symptoms of this blkid bug.

I have been struggling to install LXLE 12.04.5 because of this bug. gparted sits on "Scanning all devices..." for over 20 minutes every time a change is made in gparted.

The problem is made worse by the Sony PCG-FX201 laptop not having any option in the BIOS to say there is no floppy drive. My workaround was to put the floppy drive back in the laptop (one can either plug in the floppy drive, a 2nd battery, or a weight-saver).

On installing the floppy drive, gparted continues and then works normally. (No floppy disk is required.)

It is caused by sudo blkid pausing for ages (appearing to hang) when there is no floppy drive but responds instantly when it is installed.

I don't think blkid should hang when a drive is absent.

util-linux 2.20.1-1ubuntu3.1
libparted 2.3
GParted 0.18.0 0.18.0-1~getdeb1
LXLE 12.04.5 LTS

Martin Pitt (pitti) wrote :

This isn't really blkid's fault. The problem is motherboards that have a floppy controller with no actual floppy attached to it -- each time you try and send a command to that, the entire controller hangs for some 30 seconds before it finally fails. This affects anything that tries to talk to it, not just blkid.

summary: - blkid is hanging, or at least taking a long time to process partition
- statistics
+ blkid is hanging on probing nonexistant floppy drive
Phillip Susi (psusi) wrote :

Yes, if you do not have a floppy drive, then you need to tell your bios that you do not have one. As an alternative, you can blacklist the fd module to force the kernel not to use it.

Changed in util-linux (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Invalid
Simon Reed (xubuntu-o) wrote :

Is there no better solution than to say "Change your BIOS settings"? There is nothing to put the idea in the user's mind that that may be the problem, especially these days when many users have never seen a floppy disk in their lives.

blkid will make gparted lock up for 20 minutes or more, other commands fail much more quickly. Because gparted calls blkid, one never sees any output from blkid when it is causing gparted to seem to hang. This means people installing Linux for the first time think the installer does not work and they are likely to go away and not come back saying "Linux won't work on this PC". A PC that likely has a functioning Windows on it.

At the very least there needs to be some sort of clue to the user, for example, programs that rely on blkid checking to see if it takes ages to respond and then informing the user the BIOS might need changing to match the actual drives installed, and the "System Requirements" documents for the various distributions changed to say "make sure your BIOS matches your installed drives because there is one time where it will cause your PC to hang which is when you install Linux".

As it stands, this problem is an example of "Linux is too hard to use".

It actually took me over 20 hours of determined struggling to finally work out why I could not seem to install Linux on my laptop, despite trying many distros, and to work out it was this blkid / gparted problem.

Martin Pitt (pitti) wrote :

@Simon: I'm going to give you a brutally honest answer, as that's going to be more helpful than just silence: Most Linux developers haven't had systems with floppy drives for many many years (me included), and it's actually not that easy these days to find a computer with a floppy these days, at least in the western world. Also, I myself fixed a couple of floppy bugs several years ago, but these are a real ratsnest -- there is just no d**** way to get it right -- you fall into the "hangs the entire system" trap whatever you try and do. The only (local) workaround would be to completely disable probing and support for floppies, but if we do that we get another set of angry users like in bug 1064195.

In essence: it's an enormous task to get floppies work decently, for a miniscule benefit, and there's zero interest.

I know that this isn't satisfying to you, but this is how free software works. If someone really cares about this, one needs to pay some developers/contractors to work on this.

To post a comment you must log in.
This report contains Public information  Edit
Everyone can see this information.

Other bug subscribers