using dumpe2fs on some ext4 partition, I get in the initial data, that the first inode is #11. However, if I ls -i on this disk root partition, I get that it's inode number is #2 (as expected). So... What is this “first partition” reported by dumpe2fs ?


#11 is the first "non-special" inode, that can be used for the first regularly created file or directory (usually used for lost+found). The number of that inode is saved in the filesystem superblock (s_first_ino), so technically it doesn't need to be #11, but mke2fs always sets it that way.

Most of the inodes from #0 to #10 have special purposes (e.g. #2 is the root directory) but some are reserved or used in non-upstream versions of the ext filesystem family. The usages are documented on kernel.org.

inode Number Purpose
0 n/a
1 List of defective blocks
2 Root directory
3 User quota
4 Group quota
5 Reserved for boot loaders
6 Undelete directory (reserved)
7 "resize inode"
8 Journal
9 "exclude" inode (reserved)
10 Replica inode (reserved)

Inode #1 -> #10 are "Reserved". From that reserved block #2 is the "root" directory of the filesystem

So #11 is typically the first real inode allocated... and that is probably lost+found


% ls -ali / | awk '$1<=11'
 2 dr-xr-xr-x. 18 root root  4096 Jul 24  2019 ./
 2 dr-xr-xr-x. 18 root root  4096 Jul 24  2019 ../
 2 dr-xr-xr-x.  6 root root  4096 May  1 22:21 boot/
 3 drwxr-xr-x  17 root root  2980 Jun 30 20:49 dev/
11 drwx------.  2 root root 16384 Jul 24  2019 lost+found/
 1 dr-xr-xr-x  90 root root     0 Jun 30 20:49 proc/
 1 dr-xr-xr-x  13 root root     0 Jun 30 20:49 sys/

The directories boot dev proc and sys are all mountpoints, so the ls output is showing the inode numbers inside those filesystems. That leaves . and .. as #2 and lost+found as #11

In early versions of ext2 this reserved count was fixed. In later versions it's configurable in the superblock, and that's the value that dump2fs is reporting.

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