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Re: [PATCH] btrfs: disable zstd support for i386-pc

From: Eli Schwartz
Subject: Re: [PATCH] btrfs: disable zstd support for i386-pc
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2020 14:56:20 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/68.9.0

On 6/21/20 2:26 PM, Mike Gilbert wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 11, 2020 at 6:58 PM Eli Schwartz <> wrote:
>> On 11/7/19 12:08 AM, Vladimir 'phcoder' Serbinenko wrote:
>>> On Wed, 6 Nov 2019, 20:55 Michael Chang, <> wrote:
>>>> On Wed, Nov 06, 2019 at 11:15:04AM -0800, Vladimir 'phcoder' Serbinenko
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Please don't do it this way. The right solution is to move it to separate
>>>>> module and include zstd module when needed.
>>>> I fully agree to work out a proper solution, but before that I think it
>>>> is necessary to stop it from spread out going forward, as the running
>>>> system upgrading to new version could be affected and the consequence is
>>>> fatal - an unbootable system, qualified to be show stopper imho.
>>> We don't do a release right now, so I don't think it's justified. Also
>>> increase in size can easily come from a compiler. If an increase in size
>>> can make system unbootable on upgrade, I'd rather be fixing this than just
>>> pepper over it.
>> Given grub 2.06 is on the horizon, is it time to re-evaluate this and
>> disable something known to be badly broken?
> If I have read the thread correctly, this only breaks if you try to
> install grub in an undersized embedding area. This would really only
> affect new grub installs; existing ones can keep using the currently
> installed code.

"changing grub only affects people who newly run the grub-install
command" therefore it's not worth considering whether to make sure
grub-install completes without errors? I don't comprehend this logic.
Who ever suggested we care about people who aren't the target audience
of new grub versions to begin with?

But anyway this isn't true. There are valid reasons to reinstall grub on
old systems, in which case you are most likely not benefiting from zstd
support one way or another, but in this case, rerunning grub-install
destroys the working bootloader code and fails to replace. our infrastructure apparently
somehow ended up mismatching core.img and /boot modules, and had to
rerun grub-install (it's not clear what happened exactly, possibly
grub-install accidentally got rerun in a broken manner?) and then this
remote server would not boot, and could not be fixed without hunting for
the right old version of grub via the rescue system, reinstalling it,
and using it to restore the boring (working) old pre-zstd bootloader
code, after a lot of painful debugging.

> I think it would be better to hold out for a real fix than to disable
> a feature for an entire platform where only a subset of configurations
> would not work.

I'm astonished that "it's better to hold out for a real fix than to
ensure users' systems actually work".

Why is the benefit of enabling zstd support in situations where it very
often breaks everything, worth more than the disadvantage of, in fact,
breaking everything? The feature was broken out of the gate, no proper
fix seems imminent, let's bandage the wound before more people get hurt.

Better to not have a hot new feature than to have it, but be unable to boot.

Eli Schwartz
Bug Wrangler and Trusted User

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