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    SubjectRe: Implementing Meta File information in Linux
    On Tue, 1 Sep 1998, Eric S. Raymond wrote:

    > 1. If you get the design of something wrong, it's a lot easier to change or
    > unwire it if it lives in an API library than if it lives in the kernel.
    > We *will* get the metadata design wrong the first time. Let's do our
    > prototyping in user space, guys, to hold down the number of potentially
    > destructive interactions.

    How about "let's do it in user space, period"? Or better yet, "make your
    programs include the same functionality without using 'metadata'"? :)

    This war has already been by the GNOME mailing lists about ten million
    times, and nobody ever comes up with a perfect solution. I suggest that it
    is because there isn't one!

    "Do it as a directory with files in it (like NeXT)"
    - Not transparent
    - Not backwards compatible

    "Do it in the kernel as part of the FS"
    - Not portable
    - Unneeded bloat
    - the high ratio of possible userland to kernel
    solutions suggests that the best way to do it is probably in
    userland.

    "Do it as an LD_PRELOAD"
    - Will slow down all programs whether they need it or not
    - Hackish and unreliable (i.e. programs can segv
    when LD_PRELOADing just a replacement time() function)

    "Maintain a database of filename -> metadata mappings"
    - Not transparent
    - Storage locations. Storing one fork of a file in
    one place and another fork in another place would
    cause problems for inter-user database sharing and
    sane quota maintainance

    "Use the netatalk approach" (dot directories with mirror files in them)
    + At least this has been widely tested & used
    - Not transparent

    Did I forgot to bash any other approaches? ;-)

    No such thing as free software design lunch,
    -- Elliot
    Progress (n.): The process through which Usenet has evolved from smart
    people in front of dumb terminals to dumb people in front of smart
    terminals. -- obs@burnout.demon.co.uk



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