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    SubjectRe: Device-mapper submission for 2.4
    On Tuesday 09 December 2003 08:10, Marcelo Tosatti wrote:
    > On Tue, 9 Dec 2003, Joe Thornber wrote:
    > > On Tue, Dec 09, 2003 at 11:15:08AM -0200, Marcelo Tosatti wrote:
    > > > I believe 2.6 is the right place for the device mapper.
    > >
    > > So what's the difference between a new filesystem like XFS and a new
    > > device driver like dm ?
    > Expected question...
    > XFS is a totally different filesystem from the ones present in 2.4.
    > As far as I know, we already have the similar functionality in 2.4 with
    > LVM. Device mapper provides the same functionality but in a much cleaner
    > way. Is that right?

    Hi Marcelo,

    With all due respect, I don't really agree with this assessment.

    To the casual observer, XFS is just another filesystem. It's used to manage
    files, just like with ext3, Reiser, or JFS. However, XFS provides certain
    features and performance characteristics that may not be found in the other
    filesystems. For this reason, many people prefer XFS over the other
    filesystems, and have pushed for its inclusion in the 2.4 kernel. Of course,
    I'd argue that just as many (if not more) people have very little preference
    as to which filesystem they use. They're happy as long as their data doesn't
    get corrupted if their system crashes.

    The situation with Device-Mapper is *very* similar. There are plenty of people
    that are happy using LVM1, and probably don't care much about Device-Mapper
    at this point. But there are also many people who prefer the improved
    features offered by using Device-Mapper. The two new volume management tools,
    LVM2 and EVMS, provide significant improvements over LVM1, such as improved
    metadata formats, more reliable metadata updates, better user interfaces, in
    addition to features that aren't available with LVM1, such as asynchronous
    snapshots. Device-Mapper also provides a modular interface for adding new
    functionality. For example, the EVMS project includes a module for performing
    block-level bad-block-relocation, and another developer has contributed a
    module for block-level encryption based on the crypto API. These new volume
    management tools only work with Device-Mapper, because LVM1 simply doesn't
    have the flexibility necessary to provide these capabilities. Again, this
    situation seems to closely mirror the situation with XFS vs. the existing

    Another compelling reason in my mind is that unlike the variety of filesystems
    that exist both in 2.4 and in 2.6, LVM1 is no longer available in 2.6. Many
    LVM1 users have been eager to try out 2.6 (and I certainly agree with you
    that we need to convince more people to make this switch) but the fact that
    their current tools are useless on 2.6 makes the transition far more painful.
    It would be a huge benefit if these folks were able to first transition to
    the new volume management tools while remaining on a 2.4 kernel. Then after
    they're comfortable with this first switch, they can begin transitioning to a
    2.6 kernel, where the new tools will work seemlessly.

    I certainly understand your apprehension about accepting new drivers that
    modify common kernel code. As with XFS, nearly all of the submitted code sits
    in its own directory, and is only enabled if a user decides he needs it. And
    the common changes really are incredibly minimal.

    Joe's first patch changes all of 8 lines in the JBD code, which is done to
    prevent JBD and Device-Mapper from stepping on each other's private data. The
    second patch (mempool) only adds new functionality that won't affect any
    existing code. (I'm actually suprised the mempool code hasn't been merged
    yet, since it would be quite useful for any number of drivers and/or
    filesystems besides Device-Mapper. It has certainly come in quite handy in
    2.6.) And the changes in arch/ are simply to support the Device-Mapper
    interface on 64-bit architectures.

    I'd be happy to answer any questions or provide any other information that
    would help you with this decision. If you'd like additional review of the
    common code changes, I'll gladly look for volunteers to help with what should
    be a very simple review.

    I truly believe that including Device-Mapper will not only benefit users who
    wish to continue on the 2.4 platform, but also those who are looking for an
    easier path to migrate to 2.6.

    Thanks very much for your time, Marcelo!

    Kevin Corry

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