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On booting you may be getting this message:
EXT3-fs: mounted file system with ordered data mode.
This is perfectly normal and says that the file system mounted OK.
"Ordered data" mode is the default mode for ext3 and ensures that data are consistent with the journal. Recently written files will never show up with garbage after a crash.
There are other modes.
"Writeback" mode avoids the long file system checks at boot time that were a "feature" of ext2, but otherwise guarantees of file system integrity are the same as in ext2.
"Data journal" mode requires a larger journal for speed reasons and takes longer to start after a crash, but it may be faster for NFS (network file system), for some database operations and synchronous mail server operations. Journals all data and metadata, so data is written twice.
You can update your ext3 journal to the latest version by using:
mount -o journal=update
You can also mount the file system using different journal modes, like this:
mount -o data=journal mount -o data=ordered mount -o data=writeback
Most of this info comes from the ext3 howto, by the way!
Still not clear on the explanation - what exactly is the technical difference?