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SubjectRe: File System conversion -- ideas

*********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********

On 6/29/2003 at 10:37 PM Hugo Mills wrote:

>[Damn, forgot to cc the list]
>On Sun, Jun 29, 2003 at 05:00:34PM -0400, rmoser wrote:
>> *********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********
>> On 6/29/2003 at 9:50 PM Hugo Mills wrote:
>> >On Sun, Jun 29, 2003 at 04:29:45PM -0400, rmoser wrote:
>> >> That would be much harder to maintain as well. It would have to be
>> >altered
>> >> every time the filesystem code in the kernel is changed.
>> >
>> > Yes, but the point is it's a much easier thing to implement and
>> >test the concept than diving straight into kernel code. You don't have
>> >to maintain it for very long (if at all) -- just long enough to prove
>> >to everyone that this kind of conversion is possible, and that they
>> >should help you roll it into the kernel.
>> >
>> I can't code it. I want to, it'd be FUN, but I can't.
> This, I think, is your problem. IIRC, you had the same problem last
>time you posted an idea to LKML. It's like novelists -- come up with a
>good idea for a story, and approach a novelist with it: "Hey! I've got
>this great idea for a story!". They will tell you exactly where to
>stick your great idea. Their problem is not a lack of ideas, it's a
>lack of time in which to implement all of their ideas. For example,
>I've got enough ideas right now for bits of code and research that I
>want to write that I could probably work full-time for at least 10
>years to implement just the ones I have _now_. Effectively, what
>you're asking these people to do is to do all of the work, and give
>you some of the credit for having the idea.

I don't need credit. I didn't code it :-p

> Start with the easy bits: make a list of _every_ piece of metadata
>that can be stored by an ext2 filesystem. Do the same for ReiserFS.
>Work out how one maps to the other. Write a C/C++ struct to contain
>that metadata. Work out how you're going to store your metadata nodes
>on-disk. Those are the easy bits.

Nerg. Heh that's gonna be hard to find. Need to get a book on filesystems.

> Then it gets harder: see if you can get the documentation for the
>on-disk format of ext2. I don't believe that it's _stunningly_
>complicated, at least in its basics. If ext2 turns out to be too
>complicated, try FAT32 (or even FAT16!). Write a piece of (userspace)
>code which can read that format (or take it from either the kernel or
>e2fsck) and which converts to your own format. Write another piece of
>code which converts back (to ext2). Try it on a small ext2 loopback
>device -- copy all the data on the "device" to a file somewhere else,
>and then try to create another ext2 FS from your metadata.

I can likely do it with 2 datasystems of my own design but nobody would
give a rats ass.

> Fix bugs, and repeat for ReiserFS.
> By this point, you will know how ext2 and Reiser really work. Then
>you can start considering how to manage your metadata objects inside a
>partly-converted filesystem. Work out how to do that, and implement it

What? I'd rather structure the datasystem to handle it right off the bat.
(I'm expecting to get flamed for this statement lol)

>(still in user-space). At that point, you can take it back to LKML,
>and say: "here's some code which I think will work". They will
>probably tear it to bits, and find loads of holes. This is good -- it
>probably means that someone's found it worthwhile enough to help you
>with it. At this point, if it works, things may snowball, although
>you'll still end up doing most of the work.

I'll fry the kernel if I put it in there.

> Personally, I think you're doomed, and I think you're probably
>terminally doomed at the managing-the-atoms-in-the-filesystem bit,
>just because by its very nature an atom is going to take up much more
>space than the equivalent metadata in any given filesystem.

Like I said, it won't work 100% of the time. But of course Linux doesn't
boot 100% of the time; sometimes some fool tries to run it on a system
with 64k of RAM, and it just requires a bit more than that.

>> >> I've beaten the O((FS_COUNT)^2) already. And by the way, it's
>> >> O((FS_COUNT)*(FS_COUNT - 1_). There's exactly O(2*FS_COUNT)
>> >> and o(2*FS_COUNT) sets of code needed total to be able to convert
>> >> between any two filesystems.
>> >
>> > There's no such thing as O(x*(x-1)). This is precisely O(x^2).
>> >Similarly, O(2*x) is precisely the same as O(x). If you're going to
>> >try to use mathematics to demonstrate your point, please at least make
>> >sure that you're using it _right_.
>> >
>> Big O notation is inappropriate here because it measures time complexity;
>> however, I was following Viro's lead. We're using it to measure code
>> complexity, sorry.
> Just to put the record straight, computer scientists normally use
>O-notation to describe time complexity. However, it's a general
>notation for describing functions qualitatively, and could be used in
>any context (growth of time, growth of code, growth of data, w.r.t.
>some input parameter(s)). I've used O-notation for talking both about
>data size and simply about arbitrary functions (when you expand a
>polynomial series, you tend to write "... + O(e^3)", or whatever, at
>the end of the useful expansion of the series, to indicate that it
>keeps going).
> Hugo.
>=== Hugo Mills: hugo@... | | ===
> PGP key: 1C335860 from or
> --- For months now, we have been making triumphant retreats ---
> before a demoralised enemy who is advancing
> in utter disorder.
>Version: GnuPG v1.2.2 (GNU/Linux)
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