Kurt Garloff (
Thu, 3 Dec 1998 17:49:16 +0100

On Thu, Dec 03, 1998 at 03:34:21PM +0000, Riley Williams wrote:
> Hi Kurt.
> Most Unix tools include basic sanity checks, and that's one area where
> the Linux kernel could be improved. The following sanity check should
> not be that hard to do:
> Q> Complain if the configuration selects file systems without also
> Q> selecting somewhere to mount them, as there's little point to a
> Q> kernel supporting (say) ext2 without supporting any form of disk
> Q> drive to use it on.
> Note that I'm not advocating that either IDE or SCSI have to be
> selected, just that if neither is selected, then few of the file
> systems make any sense...

It's not that easy. You can have ext2 filesystems on ROM devices or a
network block device. And it should be possible to compile a kernel w/o IDE
and SCSI, but with ext2fs and nbd.
If you want to put a warning for this case, OK, go ahead.

> Likewise, a kernel compiled with NFS support but without networking
> support doesn't make a great deal of sense, but appears selectable; I
> can't check at the moment, so can't be sure re that at this point...

... and the needed modules can still be added and inserted.

The modules add significant complexity to your sanity checks.

There are so many ways to screw your system if you are root and don't think
enough before you are doing something. Un*x is about saving the user from
doing stupid things but not root.

If there are easy and obviously correct sanity checks (when you do something
which never makes sense), then add a warning or error message.

In the kernel configuration process, there aren't many such cases, which
aren't already prevented, IMHO.

I don't think, Linus will accept anything apart from cases, where it's
obvious, that this configuration won't be any good.


Kurt Garloff <>  (Dortmund, FRG)
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