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Subject[RFC 8/8] Aufs2: plan

> This is my second trial to ask incorporating aufs into mainline.


Restoring some features which was implemented in aufs1.
They were dropped in aufs2 in order to make source files simpler and
easier to be reviewed.

Export Aufs via NFS
Here is an approach I adopt in aufs1.
- like xino/xib, add a new file 'xigen' which stores aufs inode
- iget_locked(): initialize aufs inode generation for a new inode, and
store it in xigen file.
- destroy_inode(): increment aufs inode generation and store it in xigen
file. it is necessary even if it is not unlinked, because any data of
inode may be changed by UDBA.
- encode_fh(): for a root dir, simply return FILEID_ROOT. otherwise
build file handle by
+ branch id (4 bytes)
+ superblock generation (4 bytes)
+ inode number (4 or 8 bytes)
+ parent dir inode number (4 or 8 bytes)
+ inode generation (4 bytes))
+ return value of exportfs_encode_fh() for the parent on a branch (4
+ file handle for a branch (by exportfs_encode_fh())
- fh_to_dentry():
+ find the index of a branch from its id in handle, and check it is
still exist in aufs.
+ 1st level: get the inode number from handle and search it in cache.
+ 2nd level: if not found, get the parent inode number from handle and
search it in cache. and then open the parent dir, find the matching
inode number by vfs_readdir() and get its name, and call
lookup_one_len() for the target dentry.
+ 3rd level: if the parent dir is not cached, call
exportfs_decode_fh() for a branch and get the parent on a branch,
build a pathname of it, convert it a pathname in aufs, call
path_lookup(). now aufs gets a parent dir dentry, then handle it as
the 2nd level.
+ to open the dir, aufs needs struct vfsmount. aufs keeps vfsmount
for every branch, but not itself. to get this, (currently) aufs
searches in current->nsproxy->mnt_ns list. it may not be a good
idea, but I didn't get other approach.
+ test the generation of the gotten inode.
- every inode operation: they may get EBUSY due to UDBA. in this case,
convert it into ESTALE for NFSD.
- readdir(): call lockdep_on/off() because filldir in NFSD calls
lookup_one_len(), vfs_getattr(), encode_fh() and others.

Test Only the Highest One for the Directory Permission (dirperm1 option)
Let's try case study.
- aufs has two branches, upper readwrite and lower readonly.
/au = /rw + /ro
- "dirA" exists under /ro, but /rw. and its mode is 0700.
- user invoked "chmod a+rx /au/dirA"
- then "dirA" becomes world readable?

In this case, /ro/dirA is still 0700 since it exists in readonly branch,
or it may be a natively readonly filesystem. If aufs respects the lower
branch, it should not respond readdir request from other users. But user
allowed it by chmod. Should really aufs rejects showing the entries
under /ro/dirA?

To be honest, I don't have a best solution for this case. So I
implemented 'dirperm1' and 'nodirperm1' option in aufs1, and leave it to
When dirperm1 is specified, aufs checks only the highest one for the
directory permission, and shows the entries. Otherwise, as usual, checks
every dir existing on all branches and rejects the request.

As a side effect, dirperm1 option improves the performance of aufs
because the number of permission check is reduced.

Show Whiteout Mode (shwh)
Generally aufs hides the name of whiteouts. But in some cases, to show
them is very useful for users. For instance, creating a new middle layer
(branch) by merging existing layers.

(borrowing aufs1 HOW-TO from a user, Michael Towers)
When you have three branches,
- Bottom: 'system', squashfs (underlying base system), read-only
- Middle: 'mods', squashfs, read-only
- Top: 'overlay', ram (tmpfs), read-write

The top layer is loaded at boot time and saved at shutdown, to preserve
the changes made to the system during the session.
When larger changes have been made, or smaller changes have accumulated,
the size of the saved top layer data grows. At this point, it would be
nice to be able to merge the two overlay branches ('mods' and 'overlay')
and rewrite the 'mods' squashfs, clearing the top layer and thus
restoring save and load speed.

This merging is simplified by the use of another aufs mount, of just the
two overlay branches using the 'shwh' option.
# mount -t aufs -o ro,shwh,br:/livesys/overlay=ro+wh:/livesys/mods=rr+wh \
aufs /livesys/merge_union

A merged view of these two branches is then available at
/livesys/merge_union, and the new feature is that the whiteouts are
Note that in 'shwh' mode the aufs mount must be 'ro', which will disable
writing to all branches. Also the default mode for all branches is 'ro'.
It is now possible to save the combined contents of the two overlay
branches to a new squashfs, e.g.:
# mksquashfs /livesys/merge_union /path/to/newmods.squash

This new squashfs archive can be stored on the boot device and the
initramfs will use it to replace the old one at the next boot.

Being Another Aufs's Readonly Branch (robr)
Aufs1 allows aufs to be another aufs's readonly branch.
This feature was developed by a user's request. But it may not be used

Copy-up on Open (coo=)
By default the internal copy-up is executed when it is really necessary.
It is not done when a file is opened for writing, but when write(2) is
done. Users who have many (over 100) branches want to know and analyse
when and what file is copied-up. To insert a new upper branch which
contains such files only may improve the performance of aufs.

Aufs1 implemented "coo=none | leaf | all" option.

Refresh the Opened File (refrof)
This option is implemented in aufs1 but incomplete.

When user reads from a file, he expects to get its latest filedata
generally. If the file is removed and a new same named file is created,
the content he gets is unchanged, ie. the unlinked filedata.

Let's try case study again.
- aufs has two branches.
/au = /rw + /ro
- "fileA" exists under /ro, but /rw.
- user opened "/au/fileA".
- he or someone else inserts a branch (/new) between /rw and /ro.
/au = /rw + /new + /ro
- the new branch has "fileA".
- user reads from the opened "fileA"
- which filedata should aufs return, from /ro or /new?

Some people says it has to be "from /ro" and it is a semantics of Unix.
The others say it should be "from /new" because the file is not removed
and it is equivalent to the case of someone else modifies the file.

Here again I don't have a best and final answer. I got an idea to
implement 'refrof' and 'norefrof' option. When 'refrof' (REFResh the
Opened File) is specified (by default), aufs returns the filedata from
Otherwise from /new.

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