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SubjectRe: [PATCH] [Request for inclusion] Filesystem in Userspace


On Thu, 18 Nov 2004, Miklos Szeredi wrote:
>
> Will the clients be allowed to fill up the _whole_ memory with dirty
> pages?

Sure. It's not a situation that is easy to get into, but it's a nasty
case.

> Page writeback will start sooner than that, and then the
> client will not be able to dirty more pages until some are freed.

Ehh - the _CPU_ handles dirtying pages all on its own. The OS never even
knows that a page got dirtied, so "starting writeout early" is not much of
an option.

We actually had (for a short while) code that tracked the dirty bit in
software (ie make it unwritable by default, and take the write fault), but
people showed that that was actually a real performance problem on some
loads.

> BTW, I've never myself seen a deadlock, and I've not had any report of
> it.

Almost nobody uses shared writable mappings. Certainly not on "odd"
things. They are historically used by things like innd for the active
file, by some odd applications that want to do their own memory
management, and by databases. That's pretty much it.
So it's entirely possible that you have never even _seen_ a shared
writable mapping even if you stressed the filesystem very hard. They
really are that rare.

There's a few VM testers out there that do nasty things with writable
shared mappings. You could try them just for fun, but personally, if we
are seriously talking about merging FUSE, I'd actually prefer for writable
mappings to not be supported at all.

It wouldn't be the only filesystem that doesn't support the thing. I think
even NFS didn't support them until I did the pagecache rewrite. Nobody
really complained (well, _very_ few did).

IOW, from a merging standpoint, simple really _is_ better. Even if you
really really want to use exotic features like "direct IO" and writable
mappings some day, let's just put it this way: it's a lot easier to merge
something that has no questions about strange cases, and then _later_ add
in the strange cases, than it is to merge it all on day #1.

I'm a sucker. Ask anybody. I'll accept the exact same patch that I
rejected earlier if you just do it the right way. I'm convinced that some
people actually do it on purpose just for the amusement value ("Look, he
did it _again_. What a doofus!")

Linus
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