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SubjectRe: About /etc/mtab and /proc/mounts
On Thu, Feb 27, 2003 at 05:42:30PM +0900, Miles Bader wrote:
> Kasper Dupont <> writes:
> > > Yes. On some systems, /var and /tmp are the _only_ read-write filesystems.
> >
> > OK, but then on such a system with my approach it would be possible to
> > make /mtab.d a symlink pointing to somewhere under /var.
> ... you could do the same with /etc/mtab.
> In fact since /etc is almost guaranteed to be on the same filesystem as
> /, it seems like "/mtab.d" offers zero advantages over just /etc/mtab --
> the case where /etc/mtab is the most annoying is when /etc is R/O, but
> this almost always means that / will be R/O, making /mtab.d useless too.

If you netboot /etc as its own filesystem make sense. Why
duplicate the rest of root just for /etc. /etc, /var and
/tmp are the only filesystems that have much reason to be
unique to a system; all others are easily sharable and most
others read-only.

> > But AFAIK fsck uses mtab.
> It uses /etc/fstab.
> > If mtab does not exist mount will attempt to create a new one with
> > only the root listed.
> Unless you use the `-n' flag, which an init-script should do if it
> knows there's something wierd required to get /var mounted or something.

<voice of annoyance>
/etc/mtab is a hack. I suspect it was done so that fsck, df
and umount wouldn't have to read /dev/kmem. We now have
much better ways to get data out of the kernel.

The idea of storing the list of mounted filesystems on a
mounted filesystem is a bad idea from the get-go. The only
advantage it ever really had was the possibility to manually
play mountpoint monte with mv. Duplicating the in-kernel
data externally begs for inconsistencies that only get worse
with pivot root.

Let the data reside in the kernel and have a procfs or sysfs
entity for it. A symlink from /etc/mtab can keep the old
tools happy.

J.W. Schultz Pegasystems Technologies
email address:

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