Red Hat Bugzilla – Bug 10053
/etc/mtab lock file causes hang at boot time
Last modified: 2014-03-16 22:12:58 EDT
The problem occurs with initscripts-4.54-1, but doesn't seem to be
fixed in 4.70-1.
Boot problem: The system didnt come up, not even in single-user mode.
(Btw: where is rescue.img in RedHat 6.1??? The docs say it's there, but it
The reason was an inexperienced user who had edited /etc/mtab instead of
/etc/fstab for entering mount points. The editor created a file
/etc/mtab[tilde] (sorry, I cant type the tilde in this window),
which, for some reason, is used as lockfile for /etc/mtab access.
The hang occurs after remounting root read-write, when the lines
# Enter root and /proc into mtab.
mount -f /
mount -f /proc
are executed. Later in the script, the lock file is removed, but that's
too late. If it was removed before executing the above lines, the
problem wouldn't occur.
Although editing /etc/mtab is admittedly stupid, I guess it can happen
that inexperienced users confuse fstab and mtab, so this little workaround
would improve stability.
Martin Wilck <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Institute for Tropospheric Research, Permoserstr. 15, D-04318 Leipzig,
Tel. +49-341-2352151 / Fax +49-341-2352361
This is fixed as of the current rawhide initscripts.