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SubjectRe: replace() system call needed (was Re: EXT4-ish "fixes" in UBIFS)

>>> We have a problem that user-space people do not want to
>>> use 'fsync()', even when they are pointed to their code
>>> which is doing create/write/rename/close without fsync().
>> Well... they really don't want to spin the disk up for the
>> fsync(). I'm not sure if fsync() is really sensible operation to use
>> there.
> I'm personally concerned about hand-held, and in case of UBIFS
> fsync is not too expensive - we work on flash and on fsync() we
> write back only the stuff belonging to inode in question, and
> nothing else.

Well, I'm more concerned about spinning disks, having one even in my
zaurus. And I do believe that fsync() will write more data than
neccessary even in flash case.

>>> 1. truncate/write/close leads to empty files
>> this is buggy.
> In FS, or in application?

Application is buggy; no way kernel can help there.

>>> 2. create/write/rename leads to empty files
>> ..but this should not be. If we want to make that explicit, we should
>> provide "replace()" operation; where replace is rename that makes sure
>> that source file is completely on media before commiting the rename.
> Well, OK, we can fsync() before rename, we just need clean rules
> for this, so that all Linux FSes would follow them. Would be nice
> to have final agreement on all this stuff.

My proposal is

rename() stays.

replace(src, bar) is rename that ensures that bar will contain valid
data after powerfail.

>> It is somehow similar to fsync()/rename(), but does not force disk
>> spin up immediately -- it only inserts "barrier" between data blocks
>> and rename. (And yes, it should be implemented as fsync()+rename() for
>> filesystems like xfs. It can be implemented as plain rename for ext3
>> and ext4 after the fixes...)
> Right. But I guess only few file-systems would really implement
> this, because this is complex.

Complex yes, but at least ext3+ext4+btrfs should, and they really have
90% of "market share" :-). ext3 and ext4 implementations are already
done :-).
(cesky, pictures)

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