Random kernel update breakage

Sam Varshavchik mrsam at courier-mta.com
Wed Aug 25 22:04:51 UTC 2010

Steve Blackwell writes:

> On Wed, 25 Aug 2010 11:14:48 +0300
> Gilboa Davara <gilboad at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Tue, 2010-08-24 at 22:29 -0400, Sam Varshavchik wrote:
>> > Every once in a while, something breaks when a kernel update gets
>> > installed. It doesn't happen every time, I'd say that once in every
>> > thirty or so kernel updates, grub fails to come up after a
>> > subsequent reboot.
>> > 
>> > This is just a minor annoyance -- I'd have to boot the install CD
>> > in rescue mode, let it mount Fedora on /mnt/sysimage, chroot to it,
>> > and execute /sbin/grub-install -- but I'm wondering if anyone else
>> > is seeing this.
>> > 
>> > This just happened again -- after installing,
>> > rebooting my laptop only results in a black screen, with a BIOS
>> > cursor uselessly blinking away in the top-left corner. Whip out the
>> > rescue CD, and now a few minutes later I'm back in business.
>> > 
>> > But then, I updated a different server to, and it
>> > booted the new kernel just fine. Previously, this same server got
>> > similarly de-grubbed by an earlier kernel update, but the laptop
>> > had no issues being updated to the same kernel.
>> > 
> I've had this happen to me too. My theory has been that either it has
> nothing to do with Fedora at all and it is a BIOS problem or that the
> grub device.map file gets reversed somehow. 
> In either case, you would have to have 2 disks so
> perhaps we can determine if anyone who has seen this problem only has
> one disk which would dispel my theory.

Nope -- the laptop has one disk. I've got a wide variety of machines here, 
and all of them had this happen at one time or another. It's really all over 
the place: a pair of i686 laptops, each with one IDE disk. A dual Pentium 4 
machine with two SCSI disks. A dual Opteron machine with two SCSI disks and 
one IDE disk. A dual Opteron machine with two SATA disks. One of the 
laptops, and one of the Opteron machines dual-boots, others run only Fedora. 
And, at one time or another, over the last few years an otherwise 
run-of-the-mill kernel update (all machines are kept up to date) 
occasionally borks grub on one of them, at random. None of these machines 
suspend or hibernate. That's pretty much the only common factor.

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