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SubjectRe: silent semantic changes with reiser4
On Thu, 2 Sep 2004 22:54, Theodore Ts'o wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 01, 2004 at 01:51:40PM -0700, Jeremy Allison wrote:
> > > So you're saying SCP, CVS, Subversion, Bitkeeper, Apache and rsyncd
> > > will _all_ lose part of a Word document when they handle it on a
> > > Window box?
> > >
> > > Ouch!
> >
> > Yep. It's the meta data that Word stores in streams that will get lost.
> And this is why I believe that using streams in application is well,
> ill-advised. Indeed, one of my concerns with providing streams
> support is that application authors may make the mistake of using it,
> and we will be back to the bad old days (when MacOS made this mistake)
> where you will need to binhex files before you ftp them (and unbinhex
> them on the otherside) --- and if you forget, the resulting file will
> be useless.

At least currently (to my knowledge anyway) all stream support in Windows is
data that is not important, and that can be either regenerated from
filesystem metadata or (more usually) the main file stream itself.

This sort of data is really where streams excel, by providing a way to access
data that would otherwise take time/cpu to regenerate over and over, but that
in itself is not indispensable. Good examples of this are indexes of data
within a document, details of who owns/created/modified the document, common
views or reformatting of the data, etc. With audio/video/graphics, you could
store lower quality transforms of data (eg: stereo to mono, resolution
reduction, thumbnails, etc) in the streams for a file. With a word document,
it could be things like an index (assuming it's auto-generated from section
headings). With a database, it could be the indexes, and a few views that are
expensive time-wise to generate. All of these are easily regenerated from the
original data stream, but takes a while. And if you've got the disk, why not
use it?

If streams were always to be considered volatile, then you could do all sorts
of interesting things with them. Any disk cleanup mechanism you have could
also reap old streams specifically if the disk gets below a certain amount
free. This means that old streams that are hanging about don't end up wasting
all your disk space. Of course, you'd want a way to disable this (for servers
mainly), and streams would have to be considered volatile on more than just
Linux as a platform for this to be useful.

Note that I'm not particularly advocating streams here. I'm just pointing out
'how' it could be useful. It could be very easy to misuse streams and cause
huge problems (as per Ted's comments), but it's always good to know the other
side of the argument.

Stuart Young (aka Cef) is for LKML and related email only
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