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    SubjectRe: [ANNOUNCE] mini_fo-0.6.0 overlay file system
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    On May 13, 2005, at 04:01:37, Jörn Engel wrote:
    > Doesn't even have to be interruptable.

    Well, I wrote in my first mail:

    > On Thu, 12 May 2005 23:18:36 -0400, Kyle Moffett wrote:
    >> 1) This system should be a first-class VFS element, IE: -o union
    >> should
    >> work on all filesystems, regardless of feature support.

    I'd like to have -o union work not just on ext2/3. It could
    potentially be
    very _slow_ on other filesystems, until they get nonresident file
    support,
    but it would definitely need to be an interruptible page copy in that
    case.

    > Your trick, if I understand it correctly, is to copy data up on a
    > block
    > level, not on a file level.

    Precisely.

    >> That way, if I later unmounted the unioned ext3 fs and remounted it
    >> elsewhere without the underlying storage, I would be able to
    >> access the
    >> parts of the directory structure and files that are resident, and the
    >> rest would fail with a new error code ENONRESIDENT or similar.
    >
    > ENONRESIDENT bugs me somehow. I guess EIO would be quite sufficient.

    Hmm. Ideally a program like tar would be able to determine which
    pages of
    a file are resident in memory and only store those. How does this
    currently
    work for sparse files?

    > Maybe you also want a new incompatible fs flag, just to make sure old
    > kernels without proper understanding don't mess up the fs.

    Definitely. You'd only need to set this if there were any
    nonresident files,
    however, and those would probably only be created if you union
    mounted with
    "-o nonres" or similar.

    >> If they deleted /dev/hdb1, but still wanted whatever changes they had
    >> made on /dev/hdb2, they could always get at them by remounting /
    >> dev/hdb2
    >> somewhere _without_ "-o union", and use a modified tar to package
    >> up the
    >> resident portions of files the same way it does for sparse files.
    >> Naturally there would need to be a way to mark a sparse file's empty
    >> spaces as nonresident if so desired when untarring.
    >
    > That's the old well-known (to some people) union-mount behaviour.

    I'm just describing the whole idea in totality, so that everybody can
    get an
    idea of what's going on.

    > Really, your idea of a block (page, whatever) level granularity for
    > copying data is nice.

    I liked the idea of the existing linux sparse file support, so I
    based it off
    that.

    > It solves the biggest concern I had left for union mount. Actually
    > implementing it, though, depends on quite a bit of infrastructure
    > that just
    > doesn't exist yet. Still, a very interesting idea.

    For ext2/ext3, the sparse-file-support _does_ exist, so the only
    major parts
    that need to be added are:
    o An extra ext2/ext3 flag that indicates nonresidence (For both
    sparse
    files, normal files, and directories).
    o VFS-level support for the union operation with hooks to let each
    filesystem do something special.





    Cheers,
    Kyle Moffett

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