[Nottingham] USB flashing your distro?

ForkBombFluf fluf at freeshell.org
Wed Apr 16 20:16:39 BST 2008

On Wed, 16 Apr 2008, Penfold Q wrote:

> As Cam has said, in embedded environments, regular incremental writing
> (appending to log files) causes these blighters to wear out really
> quickly. With a bug that caused writes every 5 milliseconds, we wore
> these disks out in a few hours. Sent them back to the manufacturer and
> they said the disks were worn out.

Thanks for the anecdote, Penfold;  I always find real world experience 
more interesting (and telling) than a manufacturer's pre-sale claims. :-)

> Plus undocumented firmware bugs in
> the CompactFlash controllers that you only get told about once you've
> fallen foul of them and all in all, CompactFlash was a pain to integrate
> into our embedded systems. Many of us would have preferred to stick with
> discrete flash devices that we can control the writes to more
> explicitly. Hey ho.

I suppose it's like anything, how does a "flash disk layperson" know which 
flash disks are likely to fail quickly and which ones aren't (all 
read/write useage being equal of course)? Obviously there's a lot of 
underlying detail in how each model is constructed that is known only by 
the few who design them and/or use them to their limits.  The onlly thing 
the larger majority of people purchasing them seem to pay much ttention to 
is the capacity; build quality be damned.  Just goes to show that we all 
end up making assumptions in areas where we don't have extensive 
expertise.  It's like leaving the Finance department in charge of computer 
purchasing; they'll likely just look at the processor speed, amount of 
RAM, hard drive size, then go with whoever offers it the cheapest.  Never 
mind that the RAM is slow and has no capacity for error correction, the 
processor is a crippled Celeron, the hard drive is stuck together with 
"Fujitsu Glue", and it's all lovingly assembled and brought to us by the 
zombies of Sir Alann Sugar.

But I digress...

Regarding the flash RAID, Martin, I can only agree with the author of the 
first link's comment: "One word currently popping into my head to describe 
it is: Ludicrous!! :) "


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