#850 Unmounting USB devices is unsafe in Fedora 17
Closed None Opened 9 years ago by kparal.

I would like to ask FESCo on behalf of Fedora QA team for your standpoint on bug [https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=819492 819492].

Quick intro: GNOME developers removed notifications "Don't eject your device yet" that used to appear when you tried to unmount your USB device (flash disk, external HDD, etc) and some data still needed to be synced. The reason is that the code was ugly. But they have not provided any replacement. The result is that the user now clicks 'eject drive' button and gets the notion that all operations are already complete. But when he ejects the drive, his data are corrupted.

On May 7 QA team accepted it as F17 Blocker bug, because user data corruption can easily occur [1]. Also, LiveCDs are frequently used for system backup, maintenance and recovery and this bug can be fatal, because we can't fix LiveCDs later on.

But Desktop developers seem to claim this is actually not an important issue and that they might work on it in the future, but a proper fix definitely can't be done in F17 time-frame. Due to their claim QA team erased Blocker bug resolution and decided for further discussion.

On May 11 QA team again accepted it as F17 Blocker bug, stating that proper fix might not be achievable, but we still need some way to mitigate the loss of user data, however dirty the workaround solution might be. [2]

Because developers seem to be opposed to fixing this issue for F17, voices were raised asking for FESCo statement regarding this matter. I would be very glad if FESCo could clearly state whether they believe it is acceptable to release Fedora 17 in the current state (without any notifications whether users can eject their USB devices) or whether they support our QA viewpoint that at least some mitigation solution is needed.

[1] http://meetbot.fedoraproject.org/fedora-meeting/2012-05-07/fedora-qa.2012-05-07-15.03.log.html (search for 819492)
[2] http://meetbot.fedoraproject.org/fedora-bugzappers/2012-05-11/f17-final-blocker-review-meeting-5.2012-05-11-17.04.log.html (search for 819492)

We should discuss it today, because it's a blocker issue.

David, Matthias: FESCo will discuss this today at 17:00UTC; your views on this would be appreciated.

At 2012-05-14 FESCo meeting:
* AGREED: USB unmounting issue is a blocker, needs immediate attention
(9 +1) (sgallagh, 18:11:26)

One suggested workaround for F17 is to have all external media mounted with the 'sync' option.

(initially replied via email but that'd didn't work so adding my comment here as well)

Actually this workaround will probably not work very well because the root problem is that the applications with the Eject icon don't wait for completion in the first place. Specifically, nothing prevents you from starting a copy operation in another app, then switching to Nautilus or the Shell and pressing the Eject icon and then believing all is good. It's the same problem.

Instead, if you want this resolved, you really need to fix the two offending applications (Nautilus and GNOME Shell). Sorry but there is just no way you can avoid it. On the upside, fixing those apps isn't exactly rocket science and it's something that needs to be done anyway.

Then there's the whole idea of punishing everyone with 'sync' instead of just fixing the applications (which needs fixing anyway)... for an issue where it's not exactly clear it's a blocker in the first place. Suffice to say, I don't think that's a very good idea.

Hope this helps.

FESCo agreed unanimously that this is a blocker. So a solution needs to
be found. If the suggested workaround doesn't meet these needs, we need
to find another solution. We are all ears.

FESCo, thank you for discussing this and stating your opinion. I propose to continue this "implementation" discussion inside the bugzilla 819492 itself, so it is not scattered into different places and thus harder to follow.

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