Re: [RFC][PATCH 0/4] Enhanced file stat system call

From: NeilBrown
Date: Thu Nov 17 2016 - 23:30:13 EST

On Fri, Nov 18 2016, Andreas Dilger wrote:

> [ Unknown signature status ]
>> On Nov 17, 2016, at 1:00 PM, J. Bruce Fields <bfields@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> On Thu, Nov 17, 2016 at 04:45:45PM +0000, David Howells wrote:
>>> One Thousand Gnomes <gnomes@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>>>> (2) Lightweight stat (AT_STATX_DONT_SYNC): Ask for just those details of
>>>>> interest, and allow a network fs to approximate anything not of
>>>>> interest, without going to the server.
>>>>> (3) Heavyweight stat (AT_STATX_FORCE_SYNC): Force a network fs to flush
>>>>> buffers and go to the server, even if it thinks its cached attributes
>>>>> are up to date.
>>>> That seems an odd way to do it. Wouldn't it be cleaner and more flexible
>>>> to give a timestamp of the oldest time you consider acceptable (and
>>>> obviously passing 0 indicates whatever you have)
>>> Perhaps, though adding 6-argument syscalls is apparently frowned upon.
>>>>> Note that no lstat() equivalent is required as that can be implemented
>>>>> through statx() with atflag == 0. There is also no fstat() equivalent as
>>>>> that can be implemented through statx() with filename == NULL and the
>>>>> relevant fd passed as dfd.
>>>> and dfd + a name gives you fstatat() ?
>>> Yes.
>>>> The cover note could be clearer on this.
>>> Fixed.
>>>> Should the fields really be split the way they are for times rather than
>>>> a struct for each one so you can write code generically to handle one of
>>>> those rather than having to have a 4 way switch statement all the time.
>>> It depends. Doing so leaves 16 bytes of hole in the structure. I could
>>> ameliorate the wastage by using a union to overlay useful fields in the gaps,
>>> but that's pretty icky and might be compiler dependent.
>>>> Another attribute that would be nice (but migt need some trivial device
>>>> layer tweaking) would be STATX_ATTR_VOLATILE for filesystems that will
>>>> probably evaporate on a reboot. That's useful information for tools like
>>>> installers and also for sanity checking things like backup paths.
>>> There's a FILE_ATTRIBUTE_TEMPORARY that I could map for windows filesystems
>>> that could be used with this.
>>>> Remote needs to have clear semantics: is ext4fs over nbd 'remote' for
>>>> example ?
>>> Hmmm... Interesting question. Probably should. But you could be insane and
>>> RAID an nbd and a local disk. Further, does NFS over a loopback device to
>>> nfsd on the same machine qualify as root? What if that's exposing a local fs
>>> on NBD? Perhaps I should drop 'REMOTE' for now. It sounds like something
>>> that a GUI filemanager might find interesting, though.
>> Sorry, I haven't been paying attention, just popping up for this, but:
>> "shared" might be a more useful term than "remote".
>> A filesystem that may be mounted from more than one system is "shared".
>> Caching performance and semantics of such a filesystem are more
>> complicated since the filesystem may change out from under us. This is
>> what makes e.g. the lightweight/heavyweight stat difference more
>> interesting in the shared case.
>> The filesystem should be able to make that shared/unshared distinction
>> without knowledge of the storage it's sitting on top of.
>> Answering your questions by that criterion:
>> - ext4/nbd: not shared
>> - nfs/lo: shared
>> But, it's fine with me to drop any features for now as long as we can
>> always add them later.
> Please, please, please, let's get the syscall and basic functionality
> landed first, and then nit-pick about extensions later. This has been
> dragging on for _years_ and bike shedded to death.

I very much agree with this, but I think it will require dropping (not
replacing yet) things that do not have a well defined meaning, including

> STATX_ATTR_KERNEL_API File is kernel API (eg: procfs/sysfs)
> STATX_ATTR_REMOTE File is remote and needs network
> STATX_ATTR_FABRICATED File was made up by fs

Without clear guidance on how the filesystem should choose to set these,
and how a program should interpret them, they are worse than noise.
I imagine each could possibly be useful, but without clear unambiguous
documentation, they aren't.
So just remove them for now, and consider adding them once the core
syscall has landed.


Attachment: signature.asc
Description: PGP signature