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SubjectRe: [PATCH 09/20] ext4: Initialize timestamps limits
On Fri, Aug 2, 2019 at 11:39 PM Theodore Y. Ts'o <> wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 02, 2019 at 09:00:52PM +0200, Arnd Bergmann wrote:
> >
> > I must have misunderstood what the field says. I expected that
> > with s_min_extra_isize set beyond the nanosecond fields, there
> > would be a guarantee that all inodes have at least as many
> > extra bytes already allocated. What circumstances would lead to
> > an i_extra_isize smaller than s_min_extra_isize?
> When allocating new inodes, i_extra_isize is set to
> s_want_extra_isize. When modifying existing inodes, if i_extra_isize
> is less than s_min_extra_isize, then we will attempt to move out
> extended attribute(s) to the external xattr block. So the
> s_min_extra_isize field is not a guarantee, but rather an aspirationa
> goal. The idea is that at some point when we want to enable a new
> feature, which needs more extra inode space, we can adjust
> s_min_extra_size and s_want_extra_size, and the file system will
> migrate things to meet these constraints.

I see in the ext4 code that we always try to expand i_extra_size
to s_want_extra_isize in ext4_mark_inode_dirty(), and that
s_want_extra_isize is always at least s_min_extra_isize, so
we constantly try to expand the inode to fit.

What I still don't see is how any inode on the file system
image could have ended up with less than s_min_extra_isize
in the first place if s_min_extra_isize is never modified and
all inodes in the file system would have originally been
created with i_extra_isize >= s_min_extra_isize if

Did older versions of ext4 or ext3 ignore s_min_extra_isize
when creating inodes despite
or is there another possibility I'm missing?

> Since the extended timestamps were one of the first extra inode fields
> to be added, I strongly suggest that we not try to borrow trouble.
> Solving the general case problem is *hard*.

As I said before, I absolutely don't suggest we solve the problem
of reliably setting the timestamps, I'm just trying to find out if there
is a way to know for sure that it cannot happen and alert the user
otherwise. So far I think we have concluded

- just checking s_inode_size is not sufficient because ext3
may have created inodes with s_extra_isize too small
- checking s_min_extra_isize may not be sufficient either, for
similar reasons I don't yet fully understand (see above).

If there is any other way to be sure that the file system
has never been mounted as a writable ext3, maybe that can
be used instead?


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