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The mountall man page says "this is a temporary tool until init(8) itself" can do it, basically. Why not just use mount -a? Is there a difference between the two, and if so, which should I use for what?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

According to the man page, the ubuntu version of mountall does the following :

  • reads fstab(5)
  • calls fsck(8)
  • calls mount(8)
  • and calls swapon(8)

Canonical does not provide much information on the reason why they had to build a "temporary tool".

According to mount manual, mount -a "[...] causes all filesystems mentioned in fstab to be mounted[...]".

Anyway, I advise you to use mount -a as it works on most unices.

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Seems you are saying you don't see the difference either, right? – Johannes Ernst Sep 17 '12 at 22:48
Not at all. For example, I can't see where mount -a would launch fsck (just quickly checked source code and man page) and mountall is described as temporary. – user130370 Sep 17 '12 at 23:05

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