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SubjectRe: fanotify - overall design before I start sending patches
Andreas Dilger wrote:
> On Jul 24, 2009 17:21 -0400, Eric Paris wrote:
> > On Fri, 2009-07-24 at 15:00 -0600, Andreas Dilger wrote:
> > > On Jul 24, 2009 16:13 -0400, Eric Paris wrote:
> > > It seems like a 32-bit mask might not be enough, it wouldn't be hard
> > > at this stage to add a 64-bit mask. Lustre has a similar mechanism
> > > (changelog) that allows tracking all different kinds of filesystem
> > > events (create/unlink/symlink/link/rename/mkdir/setxattr/etc), instead
> > > of just open/close, also use by HSM, enhanced rsync, etc.
> >
> > I had a 64 bit mask, but Al Viro ask me to go back to a 32 bit mask
> > because of i386 register pressure. The bitmask operations are on VERY
> > hot paths inside the kernel.
> How about adding a spare "__u32 mask_hi" for future use, so that it can
> be changed directly into a __u64 on LE machines? That preserves the
> extensibility for the future, without hitting performance on 32-bit
> machines before it is needed.

If so, remember to put "__u32 mask_hi" *before* "__u32 mask" on BE
32-bit machines. Then it can be changed to __u64 on those too, if

> Well, if new files are created then userspace won't have any idea which
> inodes need to be checked, and it will also need to keep a persistent
> database of all file i_version values. If you are trying to hook a
> backup tool onto such an interface and files created persistently on
> disk before a crash are not handled, then they may never be backed up.
> Tools like inotify are fine for desktop window refresh and similar uses,
> but for applications which require robust handling they also need to
> work over a crash.

I see two ways to handle that:

- Simply assert that the monitoring program is running whenever
there are any changes to a particular filesystem, or the program
is told that it must reindex as a matter of policy.

For example you might run the program before mounting and after
unmounting, so you know there are no changes at other times.

That's not hard security, but then neither is i_version or any
other check, as root (which is responsible for the mount/umount
sequence after all) can also bypass filesystems.

- Have a well-known extended attribute (xattr) or set of them which
are _always deleted_ whenever files are modified. For example
"system.indexing.*". An application called Foo Monitor would
create "" xattrs on files prior to indexing
each one.

Each time a MODIFY event occurs on a file, whether it's being
watched or not, the kernel would remove all attributes whose
names match "system.indexing.*".

That includes recursively doing the same to parent directories
via the path used for that access, all the way to the filesystem
root (even if the root isn't visible due to mounting). (See my
other recent mail for why a single path works for hard-linked files).

Tools can look at those xattrs to determine if their indexing
information is up to date - persistently across crashes, unmounts
and reboots.

> The other issue is that you might get quite a large queue of operations
> in memory, and if this can't be saved to the filesystem then it might
> result in OOMing itself.

:-) What does inotify do in this scenario?

-- Jamie

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