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SubjectRe: silent semantic changes with reiser4
I had not intended to respond to this because I have nothing positive to 
say, but Andrew said I needed to respond and suggested I should copy
Linus. Sigh.

Dear Christoph,

Let me see if I can summarize what you and your contingent are saying,
and if I misconstrue anything, let me know.;-)

You ignored everything I said during the discussion of xattrs about how
there is no need to have attributes when you can just have files and
directories, and that xattrs reflected a complete ignorance of name
space design principles. When I said we should just add some nice
optional features to files and directories so that they can do
everything that attributes can do if they are used that way, you just
didn't get it. You instead went for the quick ugly hack called xattrs.
You then got that ugly hack done first, because quick hacks are, well,
quick. I then went about doing it the right way for Reiser4, and got
DARPA to fund doing it. I was never silent about it.

Making files into directories caused only two applications out of the
entire OS to notice the change, and that was because of a bug in what
error code we returned that we are going to fix. You think that was a
disaster; I think it was a triumph.

Now a cleanly architected filesystem with no attributes and just files
and directories that can do everything attributes are used for exists.
You don't want it to have the competitive advantage. Instead, you want
it to have its clean design excised until you have something that
duplicates it ready to go, and only then should it be allowed that users
will use the features of your competitor's filesystem which you
disdained implementing for so long.

Since you never studied or understood namespace design principles (or
you would not have created and supported xattrs), you want to rename it
to be called VFS, rewrite what we have done, and take over as the
maintainer, mangling its design in a committee clusterfuck as you go.

We have just implemented very trivial semantic enhancements of the FS
namespace, nothing like as ambitious as
or WinFS, and you are already pissing your pants.

Is that a fair summary?

Eat my dust.



I should of course qualify what I have said. The use of files and
directories in place of attributes is not a finished work. It has bugs,
sys_reiser4() does not yet work, and there are little features still
missing like having files readdir ignores.

Still, except for the bugs, what we have is usable, and there are a lot
of happy reiser4 users right now even with the bugs. It will need a
little bit more time, and then all the pieces will be in place.


If you implement your filesystems as reiser4 plugins, and rename
reiser4's plugin code to be called "vfs", your filesystems will go
faster. Not as fast as reiser4 though, because it has a better layout
and that affects performance a lot, but faster is faster.... See for details.


Since we have such a performance lead, Namesys is about to change its
focus from the storage layer to semantics, look at for details. Semantic enhancements are
the important stuff, and finally Namesys is where we have all the
storage layer prerequisites done right, and the real work can begin.
The gap between us is about to widen further.

Christoph Hellwig wrote:

>After looking trough the code and mailinglists I'm quite unhappy with
>a bunch of user-visible changes that Hans sneaked in and make reiser4
>incompatible with other filesystems
if we leave you in the dust, run faster.... not my problem....

>Given these problems I request that these interfaces are removed from
>reiser4 for the kernel merge, and if added later at the proper VFS level
>after discussion on linux-kernel and linux-fsdevel, like we did for
If you can't help fight WinFS, then get out of the way. Namesys is on
the march. Read

Or, be smart, recognize that reiser4 is faster and more flexible than
your storage layers because we are older and wiser and worked harder at
it, join the team, and start contributing plugins that tap into the
higher performance it offers.

Microsoft tried to build a storage layer that could handle small objects
without losing performance, failed, and gave up at considerable cost to
their architecture and pocketbook.

We just broke a hole in the enemy line. You could come swarming through
it with us, but it sounds like you prefer complaining to HQ that we are
getting too far in front of you.

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