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SubjectRe: file changes without updating mtime
Perhaps you could create a filesystem wrapper module
or Linux Security module or equivalent to intercept write/truncate etc.
to invalidate an extended attribute containing a checksum.

This extended attribute could be updated from userspace periodically,
and your userspace program would compare those checksums.

That would be generally useful. For example rsync could
use it to very quickly determine if it needed to sync file contents.

See also

Note also files mounted loopback and modified don't
have their mtime updated either. Perhaps the patch
referenced above addresses that?

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