[solved] Green hard disk drives

Ralf Mardorf ralf.mardorf at alice-dsl.net
Tue Aug 25 07:31:30 UTC 2015

On Tue, 25 Aug 2015 00:28:37 +0100, TJ wrote:
>I've followed the issue with interest. Glad you finally identified the
>I wonder if smartd ought to be taught to check the power/sleep state
>of a device and only query it if it is currently awake/active?

I don't know if this is possible and assumed it should be possible,
then perhaps it's already provided by an option. For me there's
no need to read the entire man page, because I don't want to use
smartd. Maybe excluding drives from polls is possible.

It at least is possible to configure the interval.

"-i N, --interval=N
  Sets the interval between disk checks to N seconds, where N is a
  decimal integer.  The minimum allowed value is ten and the maximum is
  the largest positive integer  that  can  be represented on  your
  system  (often 2^31-1).  The default is 1800 seconds." - man smartd

1800 seconds / 60 = 30 minutes

IMO this is a valid default interval, if a distro not automatically
enables smartd, when installing the smartmontools package.

Perhaps Ubuntu should consider to increase the default value to

60 seconds * 60 * 24 = 86400 seconds, aka 1 time/day.

OTOH Ubuntu flavours such as Xubuntu by default likely install GVFS or
similar, resp. Kubuntu the KDEs equivalent to GVFS, Lubuntu likely
installs lxpanel with the version of libfm that doesn't provide the fix
to not wake up drives. IOW the myth that Green drives from Western
Digital are buggy won't die out, because a lot of software depends on
buggy software that actually kills the drives. [2]

Btw. I'm glad that it is a 30 minutes interval, so I noticed that an
unwanted service was enabled.

IMO Ubuntu should consider to ask the user to enable or disable
services, when installing a package.

When installing a sound server that by default _requires_ realtime
permissions, the user get's asked [1]. By an option it is possible to
run jackd without realtime permissions, but doing this when using
jackd makes no sense. Actually there's no reason to install jackd
without enabling realtime permissions.

If a service _is not required_ to use software provided by the package,
then why not ask the user if the service should be enabled? Installing
smartmontools without enabling smartd makes sense.


# sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends
jackd2 libjack-jackd2-dev
"If you want to run jackd with realtime priorities, the user starting
jackd needs realtime permissions. Accept this option to create the
file /etc/security/limits.d/audio.conf, granting realtime priority and
memlock privileges to the  audio group.

Running jackd with realtime priority minimizes latency, but may lead to
complete system lock-ups by requesting all the available physical
system memory, which is unacceptable in multi-user environments.

Enable realtime process priority?

<Yes>                                       <No>"

Too funny, there's no information that the users are not automatically
add to the group audio and that /etc/security/limits.d/audio.conf is
different to the defaults recommended by upstream.

It's a big problem. Upstream usually isn't willing to care about the
green drive issue.

That lxpanel upstream, resp. libfm upstream was interested in the issue
and fixed the bug is an exception. At least GVFS isn't a hard
dependency for Thunar, but for the Mate, Cinnamon and GNOME file
managers it's a hard dependency. If you build and install an empty dummy
package that fakes to provide GVFS, the Mate, Cinnamon and GNOME file
managers still work without issues, without recompiling them.
SpaceFM does use udisks2, the user needs to disable a few SpaceFM
settings, but can keep udisks2. Rodent doesn't need any changes.
SpaceFM and Rodent provide mounting by mouse click without the need to
wake up green drives. If I launch K3b or the KDE archive manager, I
need to reboot to get rid of the KDE's green drive killer, but at least
they are inactive as long as the apps didn't run, while GVFS kills
drives as soon as it is installed.

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