bin/48989: Sysinstall's partition editor gets confused by partitions created out-of-order

Snowfall snowfall at
Wed Jun 25 06:30:17 PDT 2003

The following reply was made to PR bin/48989; it has been noted by GNATS.

From: Snowfall <snowfall at>
To: freebsd-gnats-submit at, tazle at
Cc: security-officer at
Subject: Re: bin/48989: Sysinstall's  partition editor gets confused by
  partitions created out-of-order
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 00:47:14 +1200

 CC-ed to the security officer since there is a real possibility that
 the FreeBSD installer does delete a lot of data on hard disks.
 | When using sysinstall's partition editor to create partitions the
 | editor sometimes gets confused if they are created out of order (for
 | example b,a,d). I installed FreeBSD 5.0-RELEASE on vmware for some
 | testing today and had the following problems when creating partitions:
 | I first used the auto defaults option to see if it would give
 | something sane, it didn't(well, rather sane but not good enough). Then
 | I started deleting the partitions, swap first, then created a smaller
 | swap, then deleted /usr, /var and /tmp, then /, then created a new /
 | and then tried to create a new /usr, which didn't work. It said
 | "Unable to create the partition. Too big?". I am sure it wasn't too
 | big as I managed to create an equally big partition after deleting the
 | newer / and swap partitions and creating them in order (first /, then
 | swap). I have run into this problem earlier, deleting the already
 | existing partitions helped that time too.
 A Sysinstall (FreeBSD installer) bug trashed 1-2 partitions at the
 end of a hard disk, for me. This bug seems so serious that all
 installations of FreeBSD are very appropriate for being stopped
 so long as the bug is not removed. I never found out what caused
 that. I am not sure if checking with Partition Magic before using
 the FreeBSD installer would get past a test of adequate safety,
 that could let the project's staff recommend that as a workaround
 for the bug(s) in sysinstall. Using Partition Magic can reduce the
 chance of data loss. But disordered partions are acceptable to
 Windows 2000.
 Disordering the primary partition is something that a new user of FreeBSD
 would be sometimes likely to do since that can get the operating
 system booting again.
 Another bug that ought not have got through is this one (for the
 FreeBSD 5.1 installer):
   "error mounting /dev/ad0s1 on /dist"
 The FreeBSD installer (v5) gives that useless error when it never
 got to load the msdosfs driver from the option not insisted upon,
 drivers floppy. The code printing that message gets only a Boolean
 indication of what the problem was!.
 When Windows NT first came out, it had a format program that would
 erase hard disk data.
 Craig Carey, New Zealand 

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