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SubjectRe: Flames over -- Re: Which is simpler?
Alan Stern <stern@rowland.harvard.edu> wrote:
>
> On Fri, 17 Feb 2006, Pavel Machek wrote:
>
> > > If there is no better way to tell for sure that the device that is
> > > now there is not the same as the one that was there, then the kernel
> > > must assume the user did not do something stupid and continue to use
> >
> > Must?! Are you Linus or what?
>
> Technical issues aside, the question about recogizing formerly-attached
> devices when waking up from a system sleep is really about
> user-friendliness. The choice between what Phillip is advocating and what
> the rest of us have been saying is a policy choice, one that the kernel
> can't easily avoid making.
>
> Given that this is a policy decision, it might not be such a bad idea to
> ask Andrew or Linus for their opinion. In fact, I'll do that right now.
>
>
> To summarize the background:
>
> When a hotpluggable bus (USB for sure, possibly others as well) loses
> power, the hardware interprets this as a disconnection of all attached
> devices. When power is restored, it appears to the kernel as though a
> completely new set of devices has now been plugged in.
>
> This is unfriendly for people whose motherboard/USB-controller hardware
> doesn't supply minimal power during hardware- or software-suspend. Any
> mounted filesystems on a USB storage device get blown away when the system
> resumes, since the kernel thinks the device was unplugged.

I'm all for being friendly to people.

> In principle the kernel is capable of detecting that a device present on a
> port during resume is very similar to the device that had been present
> during the suspend. Through a combination of checks (descriptors, serial
> numbers, superblocks, maybe others) it could try to verify this and then
> keep the device data structures intact, as though the device had been
> connected all along.
>
> The advantage is that people wouldn't lose half-stored data on their
> removable drives, they wouldn't have unmount before suspending and remount
> after resuming, and they would be able to suspend with their root
> filesystem on a USB drive without causing a panic upon resume.
>
> The disadvantage is that sometimes people do switch removable drives or
> removable media while the system is asleep. If the kernel gets fooled
> into thinking the new device is the same as the old one, it would proceed
> to destroy the data on the new device by overwriting it with data from the
> old one. (Not to mention that this kind of approach is contrary to the
> USB specification.)
>
> On the other hand, it's what Windows does. We don't want people to say
> that Linux is incapable of implementing a feature that Windows has had for
> a long time. :-)
>
>
> So the question is: What should the kernel do? Assume the device has
> changed (as it does now) or make some checks to see if it might still be
> the same (dangerous though that may be)?
>
> If you really want to waffle, you can recommend that the capability to do
> this be present but normally disabled, controlled by a flag somewhere in
> /sys/kernel -- thus pushing the decision off to userspace.
>

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this really only affects storage devices, yes?
That narrows the scope of the problem quite some.

I suspect we could do a very good job of working out whether we're still
talking to the same fs if filesystem drivers were to help in that.

But I suspect we could do an even better job if we did that in userspace.

The logic to determine whether the new device is the same as the old device
can be arbitrarily complex, with increasing levels of success. Various
heuristics can be applied, some of which will involve knowledge of
filesystem layout, etc.

So would it not be possible to optionally punt the device naming decision
up to the hotplug scripts? So code up there can go do direct-IO reads of
the newly-present blockdev, use filesytem layout knowledge, peek at UUIDs,
superblocks, disk labels, partition tables, inode numbering, etc? Go look
up a database, work out what that filesystem was doing last time we saw it,
etc?

We could of course add things to the filesystems to help this process, but
it'd be good if all the state tracking and magic didn't have to be locked
up in the kernel.
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