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Subjectoverlayfs vs. fscrypt
Date
Hi!

overlayfs and fscrypt are not friends.
Currently it is not possible to use a fscrypt encrypted directory as upper
directory with overlayfs.
The reason for that is, fscrypt implements ->d_revalidate().

From fscrypt's point of view having ->d_revalidate() makes sense because it
wants to hide/show encrypted filenames if someone loads or unlinks a key.

On the other hand, overlayfs makes sure that the upper directory cannot
change beneath it. Therefore it checks whether the upper directory is a remote
filesystem by checking for ->d_revalidate() and refuses to mount if so.

In my little embedded Linux world it is common to use both UBIFS and
overlayfs. Now with UBIFS being encrypted using fscrypt, overlayfs is a
problem.
My current hack is not using fscrypt_d_ops in UBIFS. This works because on a
typical embedded target you setup your crypto keys exactly once, right before
you mount overlayfs in an initramfs.

But I'm sure this problem will hit sooner or later users of ext4 and f2fs too.
Therefore I'd like to discuss possible solutions.

So far I see two options:

1. Get rid of ->d_revalidate() in fscrypt.
Maybe we find a way to return a dentry via ->lookup() which is not cached at
all and therefore no ->d_revalidate() is needed. If unreadable and encrypted
filename lookups are slow, so what?
AFAIU this approach is impossible in the current dcache design since it is not
allowed to have more than one dentry to the same file.

2. Teach overlayfs to deal with a upper that has ->d_revalidate().
Given the complexity of overlayfs I'm not sure how feasible this is.
But I'm no overlayfs expert, maybe I miss something.

What else could we do?

Thanks,
//richard


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