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SubjectRe: [PATCH 07/10] ovl: add initial revalidate support
On Thu, 16 Sep 2010 16:47:29 +0200
Miklos Szeredi <> wrote:

> On Mon, 06 Sep 2010, NeilBrown wrote:
> > Add dentry_revalidate method and fail validation of either the
> > upper or lower dentry has been renamed or unlinked directly in the
> > otherlying filesystem.
> > This allows such changes to appear promptly in the overlay providing
> > the file isn't currently in use.
> I fixed up some things in the revalidation logic and tested it out.
> There are some unexpected effects, but they boil down to the fact that
> busy directories can't be invalidated. Mostly it works as expected.
> However, the "rearange directories so that a/b becomes b/a" trick
> still strikes in evil ways. Consider the following script:
> mkdir /upper/a/b
> cd /mnt/overlay/a
> while true; do
> cd b
> mv /upper/a/b /upper/b
> mv /upper/a /upper/b/a
> cd a
> mv /upper/b/a /upper/a
> mv /upper/b /upper/a/b
> done
> It will create an ever deeper directory tree on the overlay.
> Can this be prevented? Probably, e.g. lookup should make sure that
> each new directory gets a *unique* set of lower and upper dentries
> (e.g. by creating hash tables indexed by lower and upper dentries).
> Is it worth the trouble?

The only real problem here is that an unprivileged user with direct access
to 'upper' could consume unlimited kernel memory without using a
corresponding mount of storage space (so quotas etc wouldn't stop them).

Maybe the easiest counter-measure to that is to keep track of a 'depth' of
each dentry and disallow lookups that go much beyond PATH_MAX???

Either that or rely in the sysadmin to hide the upper/lower filesystems from
untrusted users. I particularly see value in sysadmins being able to modify
these filesystem - not so much for 'regular users'.


> Any other ideas?
> Thanks,
> Miklos

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