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Torvalds’ Dead SSD Delays 3.12 Linux Kernel

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Even the father of Linux is not immune to hardware failure

Earlier this week, development of the Linux 3.12 kernel suffered a setback after an SSD drive in the workstation of chief architect Linus Torvalds suddenly failed.

In a message entitled ‘RIP – dead harddisk’, the creator of the open source OS asked the contributors to re-send patches and pull requests that had not yet been integrated into the kernel Git repository.

Torvalds works on the kernel full-time, and retains the highest authority to decide which new code is incorporated into it.

Solid State Delay

“The timing absolutely sucks, but it looks like the SSD in my main workstation just died on me,” wrote Torvalds, just days before the end of the two-week merge window.

seagate_ssd_3“I’ll try to see if I can recover the disk, but right now my machine refuses to even see the boot sector on it, and tries to boot from the network instead. So I’m not all that hopeful.”

The developer said he didn’t lose a lot of work, and asked the community to check if their requests have been posted in the current tree on

“If worst comes to worst, I’ll just do the last next days of the merge window on the laptop that I was planning on finishing it off with anyway, since I have travel coming up,” Torvalds assured his colleagues.

The Linux kernel 3.12 is still in early stages of development, and due to go through proper testing. Some of the changes include improved power management, new KVM virtualisation features, better sound drivers, new features for EXT4 file-system and F2FS file-system.

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  1. I’m certain that, as he champions complete transparency, Linus Torvalds will honor this request and help all of us who have helped make Linux the world’s best operating system:(and a lot who haven’t, but who Linus may sway via this action):

    Please, Mr. Torvalds, let us know the manufacturer and model number of your SSD which failed, and which is causing the delay of the latest kernel.

    Many thanks, and much continued success, from us all.

  2. What? You have got to be kidding, right?

    Of course when I was doing mission critical coding for IBM a decade ago I got the raspberries all the time for being to paranoid with my code images. I had my images backed up like DNA… every cell on my beo-cluster had a copy of my entire code-set; I had a two copies at home, and I kept a complete (full) backup of the primary disk images in a safe-deposit box at the bank… not to mention the mobile image that went back-and-forth with me on my ThinkPad every day.

    Linus Torvalds has ” O N E ” copy of his new kernel image ( ONE and ONLY ONE ) and its just GONE ???

    You guys have got to be kidding. ROFLOL.


  3. If you knew anything about git, you’d realize he didn’t “lose the kernel image” – he lost a few hours of queued patch sets that had been staged but not yet merged into github.

    And because git is distributed, each of those patch sets are still in its developer’s clone of the repository, and just need to be re-pushed.

    This is similar to what you would have experienced if your Thinkpad failed after you spend a few hours coding while traveling, but before you created physical backup disks for your safe deposit box – you lost a few hours work, nothing more.

    You could do with more knowledge and less attitude. Just a thought. You might start at


    Storage advancements in the kernel?
    by ScuttleMonkey

    Now that Ceph is gathering momentum since having been included in the mainline kernel, what other storage (or low level) advancements do you see on the horizon?

    Linus: “I’m not actually all that much of a storage guy, and while I’m the top-level kernel maintainer, this is likely a question that would be better asked of a number of other people.

    The one (personal) thing storage-related that I’d like to re-iterate is that I think that rotating storage is going the way of the dodo (or the tape). “How do I hate thee, let me count the ways”. The latencies of rotational storage are horrendous, and I personally refuse to use a machine that has those nasty platters of spinning rust in them.

    Sure, maybe those rotating platters are ok in some NAS box that you keep your big media files on (or in that cloud storage cluster you use, and where the network latencies make the disk latencies be secondary), but in an actual computer? Ugh. “Get thee behind me, Satan”.

    That didn’t answer the question you really asked, but I really don’t tend to get all that excited about storage in general.”

    May 22, 2012
    Recovering from SSD Failure

    One of the biggest surprises experienced by many laptop users is an SSD failure. It’s surprising for many people because of a couple of important things. First of all, people assume that because an SSD or solid state hard drive does not have as many moving parts as a regular hard drive, it naturally is going to be failure proof.
    Can SSD Drives Fail?

    In a word, yes. Even though SSD hard drives are not subject to the same kind of failures as regular spindle and platter hard drives, (drives which by the way still provide the data storage on about 95% of our computer systems), they still do experience what many in the industry call “fade”.
    Sunday, January 9, 2011
    SSD Fade. It’s real, and why you may not want SSDs for your ZIL

    SSD’s fade – and they fade quicker than you’d expect.

    When I say “fade” I mean that their performance drops quickly with write use.