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While using fdisk, I was looking through the list of partition types and noticed one that I guess I hadn't before. Hex code 88, "Linux Plaintext". I searched around but couldn't find anything meaningful about it. Does anyone know what the purpose/use case is for this partition type?

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Apparently this was a short-lived hack from 2005 to fix the problem of accessing devices larger than 2TB in size. The reason it is called Linux plaintext is because it allows you to edit the partition table by hand using an editor like vi, emacs or nano. On a german language forum from 15 years ago, I found a reference to this in the LKML here:

https://web.archive.org/web/20060921222352/http://www.ussg.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/0503.2/0399.html

With the advent of GPT type partition tables, this seems to be no longer needed, although the idea of editing partitions with standard text editors is kinda fascinating.

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