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SubjectRe: reiser4 plugins
Hans Reiser wrote:
> It was always the expectation that users would want to have one
> mountpoint with the files having metafiles as files, and another with
> the same files but strictly posix, and then their apps can use whichever
> they have the power to understand.

It was never in the early betas I tried :(

I'm proposing (or re-proposing) that the /meta mountpoint be strictly
for accessing meta-files, with no intention of eventually using this by
default. Furthermore, /meta should follow POSIX anyway, mostly -- no
file-as-dir there, either, although you still wouldn't want to use tar
on it.

With only a few patches, using /meta could be almost as convenient as
using file/..metas/foo, and it completely kills the file-as-directory
flamewar -- everybody's happy.

Or so I thought. It seems that the people arguing for file-as-directory
are ignoring /meta, and the people arguing against it are arguing
against all meta-files, saying that the good things about meta-files
don't justify the risks of file-as-dir. Only once did I see someone
bring up /meta.

I don't like the idea of having /meta have file-as-dir and everything as
we originally wanted, because then we've duplicated the interface. To
read the *contents* of /foo, I can either cat /foo or cat /meta/foo.
I'd hate to have the POSIX mountpoint still lying around if no one's
using it, even more than I hate the idea of "foo" being in two places
for no good reason.

Is there a technical (performance?) reason that my approach is wrong?
(metas go in /meta, files go in /, and everything feels POSIX-y)

> Hans
> David Masover wrote:
>>Hubert Chan wrote:
>>>On Wed, 29 Jun 2005 17:34:41 -0400, Ross Biro <>
>>>>I'm confused. Can someone on one of these lists enlighten me?
>>>>How is directories as files logically any different than putting all
>>>>data into .data files and making all files directories (yes you would
>>>>need some sort of special handling for files that were really called
>>>>.data). Then it's just a matter of deciding what happens when you
>>>>call open and stat on one of these files?
>>>Logically, I don't think there is a difference. A filesystem that
>>>doesn't support file-as-dir could implement the same functionality that
>>>way. [1] In fact, that's essentially what MacOS X/NeXTSTEP does with
>>>bundle format -- it's just a regular directory with regular files
>>I, personally, would hate it if everything in my /bin suddenly became
>>a directory, mainly because everything would stop working. Is that
>>the kind of thing you're suggesting?
>>I'm a little confused about the .data idea, I guess.
>>>>But we could have a whole new set of system calls that treat things as
>>>>magic, and if files as directories is as cool as many people think,
>>>>apps will start using the new api. If not, they won't and the new api
>>>>can be deprecated.
>>>File-as-dir doesn't require new system calls (that I know of), which is
>>>the whole point of the idea. Existing programs can edit the strange new
>>>attributes without being modified.
>>That is indeed the point, but scroll down.
>>>The main thing blocking file-as-dir is that there are some
>>>locking(IIRC?) issues. And, of course, some people wouldn't want it to
>>>be merged into the mainline kernel. (Of course, the latter doesn't
>>>prevent Namesys from maintaining their own patches for people to play
>>>around with.)
>>What's the locking issue? I think that was more about transactions...
>>>People like Horst (and probably others, who are less vocal), I think,
>>>don't think that it's even worth trying it out because they don't see
>>>any major advantages. Or at least they think that the potential
>>>negatives outweigh the potential positives. I respect that they have
>>>different opinions, but I of course disagree and attempt to convince
>>>them otherwise.
>>Did the /meta (metafs) idea get killed while I was out? Using that
>>approach, your potential negatives are that apps which crawl the
>>entire FS tree, starting at /, with hardcoded apps for /proc and /sys,
>>are now broken -- but then, /sys already broke them once, so I don't
>>particularly care if we break them again.
>>Potential positives? I think even just because we like the idea is
>>enough, because it doesn't break anything and doesn't really affect
>>anyone who doesn't use it.
>>Maybe there are coding standards, but I think others are working that
>>out now.

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