Monday, March 16, 2009

New system crash causes dramatic personal data losses - But lessons are learned!

This is primary an effect of using a not so good third party ATI graphics card driver in my Debian GNU/Linux box, my brothers had to use an OpenGL Quake map editor in the computer that caused the Kernel to crash every now and then, .. The only way to get back up was to hard-reboot the computer by pressing the reset button, doing this over and over caused the defective driver one time to crash over the Ext file system driver and caused a permanent unrecoverable data loss of the whole content of my /home Ext2 partition.

This data loss includes most significantly the soure code of the GroundOS hobby operation system on wich i have been working more that 6 months now! and wich i will have to rewrite from scratch, other losses include (but are not limited to) technical documents, personal photos, personnal writings, software packages and sources, source codes and small projects i have been working on these last months, ...

One first lesson that is to be learned here, is to upgrade from Ext2!! this historical file system has proved over the time very poor recovery and self-healing abilities, .. one other thing is to use a safe kernel/drivers whenever available .. or you use a better operating system than Linux (yes there are!), another thing to be learned is to avoid running ANY piece of software that you know may compromise your kernel integrity! hard rebooting is evil, it only is your LAST escape when every other thing fails!

If you are in a professional envioronment or if you can afford buying more hard drives, raid can turn out to be a god send too! if you don't but you still desire to invest some ressources in protecting your data and having more undo options and a time slider, you may want to try the state of the art ZFS filesystem (only available today in Solaris/OpenSolaris, and FreeBSD).

Last but not least, ALWAYS BACK-UP your sensitive data!
I hope this helps.

Edit: here's a video I had made to tal about that:

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