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SubjectRe: [RFC] ext2 and ext3 block reservations can be bypassed
From
I went to google and attempted to find information about the root
reserve space for ext2, as a user wondering about the feature would. I
couldn't find any documentation that states it's purely a fragmentation
and convenience feature. I did, however, find documents stating
otherwise. Note how even Documentation/filesystems/ext2.txt states that
it's a security feature?

If this is not a security feature, Documentation/filesystems/ext2.txt
needs to be changed. Eg.,

"In ext2, there is a mechanism for reserving a certain number of blocks
for a particular user (normally the super-user). This is intended to
keep the filesystem from filling up entirely, which helps combat
fragmentation. The super-user may still use this space. Note that this
is not a security feature, and is only provided for convenience -
various methods exist where a user may circumvent this reservation and
use the space if they so wish. Quotas or separate filesystems should be
used if reliable space limits are needed."



1. http://web.mit.edu/tytso/www/linux/ext2intro.html

Design and Implementation of the Second Extended Filesystem

[....] Ext2fs reserves some blocks for the super user (root). Normally,
5% of the blocks are reserved. This allows the administrator to recover
easily from situations where user processes fill up filesystems.


2. Documentation/filesystems/ext2.txt

Reserved Space
--------------

In ext2, there is a mechanism for reserving a certain number of blocks
for a particular user (normally the super-user). This is intended to
allow for the system to continue functioning even if non-priveleged
users fill up all the space available to them (this is independent of
filesystem quotas). It also keeps the filesystem from filling up
entirely which helps combat fragmentation.


3. Note what mke2fs prints:

3275 blocks (5.00%) reserved for the super user

It does not say "reserved to combat fragmentation"


-J


On Mon, May 13, 2002 at 06:57:23PM +0100, Christoph Hellwig wrote:
> On Mon, May 13, 2002 at 10:52:50AM -0700, Elladan wrote:
> > > It is _not_ a security feature, it is meant to keep the filesystem from
> > > fragmenting too badly. root can use that space, since root can do whatever
> > > she wants anyway.
> >
> > But it *appears* to be a security feature. Thus, someone might
> > incorrectly depend on it, unless it's clearly documented as otherwise.
>
> So what. People rely on chroot() as security feature all the time and
> we don't "fix" it either. If you need security nothing but gaining
> knowledge about all details helps.
>
> -
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