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I have a system that boots from a solid state disk. How can I make it immune to improper shutdowns? I can also switch to a distribution having this feature. I can choose between Ubuntu, Redhat, and Fedora (or derivatives of these distros).

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Connect it to a UPS... – jasonwryan Jan 15 '13 at 8:04

No system is immune to improper shutdowns.

That's why you have UPS that when connected to a system informs it that the main power is no longer available and the system will start a controlled shutdown. (Assuming that has been configured for it).

Although the previous info warns against power loss nothing stops a user of pressing the power off and shutting down the system in a improper way.

What you have nowadays is better automated recovery methods that "reduce" the problem that you might have when performing a improper shutdown.

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I had an UPS that sent a notice on power failure and then after 5 minutes a 2nd notice that the UPS' battery is going down, so you didn't have to shutdown when the power comes back after 1 minute. – ott-- Jan 15 '13 at 10:30
like I mention, if it is configured to do so. Of course if UPS has enough battery you will keep your system up. But if the power if not coming back and the UPS informs you that it's battery is ending, you will shutdown your system before the battery of the UPS runs out, right? Ensuring a proper and clean shutdown. – BitsOfNix Jan 15 '13 at 11:13
So can desktop distros never reach the level of robustness of embedded ones? What is the bottleneck here? File systems? – niw3 Jan 15 '13 at 17:38
I'll not answer for the future of technology :) But filesystems help in terms of on disk data, at the moment you have two very good fs types for it: ZFS and BRTFS, both are transactional fs where when the data is written, it is checked for errors. But nothing prevents of having things in memory and the system going down and corrupting the data. But this is something that happens either server side or desktop side. Journalling for traditional file systems help in the recovery part. Of course that the aim for this FS are most server side instead of desktops. – BitsOfNix Jan 16 '13 at 7:18

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