So, the server that my page is on a the moment is a very old Sparc 5 running linux. I have no monitor, no serial, but I do have a keyboard. The only real access I ever do is via ssh. So?

So this morning the sparc's hard drive was making funny noises. Weird, bad, funny noises. Not to mention that I cannot access it. (No ping, much less ssh.) So rebooting it is. Except that after about 30 minutes (long enough for it to boot) I still cannot ssh into it. Quick check with ping, and yep, there is still no ping. Evil.

Had to goto work, so the machine stayed down until I got home. Having spoke with co-workers about it, it occurred to me that the machine had probably tried to fsck, and failed, and wanted the user to log in as root in single mode. But I have no serial or monitor. However, I have a keyboard.

Now, if I know what the machine is waiting for, and I can type. I should be able to give it what it wants, even if I cannot see what I'm doing. Right? I mean, it is just waiting to be fscked by hand.

So then, blind, type root password. Hit enter. Hear drive do stuff and stop. Type fsck -y /dev/sda1. Hit enter. Hear drive do a bunch of stuff. Type reboot. Hear drive do a bunch of stuff and watch LEDs blink.
But still no ping.

Again, but fsck -y /dev/sda2.
No ping.

Again, but fsck -y /dev/sda3.
No ping.

WTF! No ping? There are only three partitions. (Yes, I forgot which was swap, so I just fscked that too.). What is going on? I need to see. How? Well, I am obviously logged in a doing stuff. Can I start the network and ssh, and log in? Yep. Hurrah!

So now I can ssh in and try to figure out why it isn't booting. Quick couple of pokes, and I see that it is sda4 not sda3. So I fsck that. And reboot again. (I now vaguely remember that the third partition is something special for suns. Don't remember what though.)

We have ping!

Does being able to do this make me good? Or is it just sad that I pulled this off.

(I really need a new server. But now that this one is working again....)