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Linus Torvalds Compares Hard Disks to Satan (wired.com)
27 points by gregpurtell on Oct 14, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 24 comments



Way to take a handful of offhand comments from someone else's interview and try to spin it into an entire article for your own publication.


Indeed. For reference, here's Linus' actual quote from the linked Slashdot article[1]:

I'm not actually all that much of a storage guy, and while I'm the top-level kernel maintainer, this is likely a question that would be better asked of a number of other people.

The one (personal) thing storage-related that I'd like to re-iterate is that I think that rotating storage is going the way of the dodo (or the tape). "How do I hate thee, let me count the ways". The latencies of rotational storage are horrendous, and I personally refuse to use a machine that has those nasty platters of spinning rust in them.

Sure, maybe those rotating platters are ok in some NAS box that you keep your big media files on (or in that cloud storage cluster you use, and where the network latencies make the disk latencies be secondary), but in an actual computer? Ugh. "Get thee behind me, Satan".

[1] http://meta.slashdot.org/story/12/10/11/0030249/linus-torval...


What a thoroughly uninteresting read. Linus doesn't like the noise and latency, developers prefer SSDs.

Stay tuned as this breaking news unfolds!


Linus used to say controversial things.


That's actually one way to get famous. And it works very well.


Having just spent the majority of yesterday recovering a backup thanks to my laptop disk going pop, I agree.

Can anyone recommend a decent SSD (SATA2)? I am considering crucial m4.


The OCZ drives are fantastic. I'm running a Vertex 3 right now, which rates at about 60,000 IOPS. It was a replacement for a short lived Crucial.

This is entirely anecdotal, and by no means a smear against Crucial I put a Crucial into my laptop the day before departing on a 3 month business trip to Europe last year.

By the time I got to London, the drive had failed utterly and completely. Thankfully, I had stuffed my previous drive into my bag with me and was able to recover.

I replaced it with the OCZ ( It amuses me that my time in London has made me hear that in my head as "Oh Cee Zed" ... I believe they have an even better Vertex 4 now ) and it has been a rock solid workhorse.

I've since hauled that laptop + drive over about 120k miles and 15 countries without so much as a blip.

Again, anecdotal but I adore this drive.


Thanks for your reply. Based on this and a quick google review session, I just ordered a 128Gb OCZ vertex 4 from scan.co.uk for surprisingly little money!

if it blows up, they're pretty good on warranties and I've got two laptops and rsync jobs set up so no big deal.

Just to add I modified the order to include an additional Samsung 830 128Gb as a backup which will go in my spare laptop.

I was rather expecting things to be more expensive!


My experience with OCZ is not as nice; their Vertex 2 has a bug where if you sleep the machine too many times, you may get data loss. Total data loss. Heaps of people on the OCZ forums having the same issue.

Luckily had weekly backups, so only lost one week's worth of data, but still.

This kinda soured me against trying any new OCZ...

Now I have an Intel SSD; pricier, but well worth it.


Same experience, with two separate OCZ drives. Total irrecoverable data loss. Yay backups. I switched to Intel too in the end.


And, having had a similar problem with Intel, I switched to Samsung. So it goes.


I grabbed one OCZ and one Samsung. Fingers crossed.

Managed to persuade company to pay for it as well as I'm being a guinea pig user :)


+1 for OCZ. I went through three Kingston drives in a year. This OCZ is over a year old now and still going strong


I spent $400 on a Crucial M4 512. The first one failed--no joke--an hour into use. After a reboot the system wouldn't POST, couldn't even get into the BIOS setup. I RMA'd it to Amazon, got a replacement that seemed to be working fine, until 3 weeks into use when it also died. I was in Europe at the time so needless to say that was a very inconvenient time for it to fail.

This is on a 2-year-old, run-of-the-mill Dell laptop. Maybe there's something funny about my laptop's hardware but it's been running without so much as a sneeze for 2 years now with its old "spinning rust" 640GB HDD.

SSD's are still early-adopter technology. I'm waiting another year before I try again, and when I do I'm keeping the former HDD at my side just in case.


Remember that every iPhone/Android has an SSD drive in it and how many are DOA? Very, very few. We're talking about hundreds of millions of SSD drives sold per year that are used all day every day. So it's not early-adopter technology in any meaningful sense.

There's no reason at all to extrapolate from personal experience.


The SSD controllers are more complicated than the controllers you get in the cheap (and very slow - 10-20MB/s vs 4-500MB/s) storage you get in the phones. The controllers are the ones that usually fail.


One thing hard drives still have that SSDs don't is that they very rarely loose your data once it is written. Use SSDs for speed, but know that your backups have become far more important than before.


My impression was that SSDs would eventually become unwritable, but that they never become unreadable.

Part of that understanding comes from an anecdote related by a contractor I knew that did government work. Supposedly some departments will use solid-state disks for the "cannot lose" data for which availability is less important because the disks will eventually become unwritable and at that point just become archives.


Flash, by design, only admits finitely many write cycles, but this does not mean SSDs "never become unreadable", only that they never become unreadable as a result of the finite rewritability of Flash. In theory. In practice, the fact that your data is "really still there" means very little if the controller refuses to read it, SSD firmware is complex and therefore bug-prone, and reading in the "worn out" state will always be a rare edge case, so it's not something I'd care to test without good, current backups.


My first (Intel X-25) SSD went from working fine to not being able to read _anything_ from it, at all, in 10 minutes - after having worked great for 1½ years.

It is still worth it, but I have never experienced a failure mode like that with harddisks. Usually you can get most of the data off of them when you start getting errors.


I have purchased 3 crucial M4 drives and have been satisfied with all of them. It's a strong choice.


SSDs can go kaput too, you still need to backup.


What are some good prosumer SSDs for people putting together new desktop boxen?


My experience is a bit outdated, but I've had good luck with both Intel drives and the OCZ Vertex series. If I were going to buy an SSD today, it would probably be the 240GB Intel 520.




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