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SubjectRe: [RFC 12/26] ext2 white-out support
On Mon, Jul 30, 2007 at 06:13:35PM +0200, Jan Blunck wrote:
> Introduce white-out support to ext2.
>
> Known Bugs:
> - Needs a reserved inode number for white-outs

You picked different reserved inodes for the ext2 and ext3
filesystems. That's good for a NACK right there. The codepoints
(i.e., reserved inode numbers, feature bit masks, etc.) for ext2,
ext3, and ext4 MUST not overlap. After all, someone might use tune2fs
-j to convert an ext2 filesystem to ext3, and is it's REALLY BAD that
you're using a reserved inode of 7 for ext2, and 9 for ext3.

Also, I note that you have created a new INCOMPAT feature flag support
for whiteouts. That's really unfortunate; we try to avoid introducing
incompatible feature flags unless absolutely necessary; note that even
adding a COMPAT feature flag means that you need a new version of
e2fsprogs if you want e2fsck to be willing to touch that filesystem.

So --- if you're looking for a way to add whiteout support to
ext2/ext3 without needing a feature bit, here's how. We allocate a
new inode flag in struct ext3_inode.i_flags:

#define EXT2_WHTOUT_FL 0x00040000
We also allocate a new field in the ext2 superblock to store the
"whiteout inode". (Please coordinate with me so it's a superblock
field not in use by ext3/ext4, and so it's reserved so that no one
else uses it.) The superblock field, call it s_whtout_ino, stores the
inode number for the "white out inode".

When you create a new whiteout file, the code checks sb->s_whtout_ino,
and if it is zero, it allocates a new inode, and creates it as a
zero-length regular file (i_mode |= S_IFREG) with the EXT2_WHTOUT_FL
flag set in the inode, and then store the inode number in
sb->s_whtout_ino. If sb->s_whtout_ino is non-zero, you must read in
the inode and make sure that the EXT2_WHTOUT_FL is set. If it is not,
then allocate a new whiteout inode as described previously. Then link
the inode into the directory as before.
When reading an inode, if the EXT2_WHTOUT_FL flag is set, then set the
in-memory mode of the inode to be S_IFWHT.

That's pretty much about it. For cleanliness sake, it would be good
if ext2_delete_inode clears sb->s_whtout_ino if the last whiteout link
has been deleted, but it's strictly speaking not necessary. If you do
it this way, the filesystem is completely backwards compatible; the
whiteout files will just appear to links to a normal zero-lenth file.

I wouldn't bother with setting the directory type field to be DT_WHT,
given that they will never be returned to userspace anyway.

Regards,

- Ted
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