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Date:	Wed, 19 Sep 2012 16:41:00 -0400
From:	Theodore Ts'o <>
Subject: Re: [v2] ext4: fix possible non-initialized variable

On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 05:10:57PM -0300, Carlos Maiolino wrote:
> Ted,
> In case of ext4_add_entry() I'm supposing to make the function call ext4_error()
> and return -EIO in the case where ext4_bread() returns NULL and err is 0'ed,
> does that matches with your thoughts or is there a better way to handle with
> this?

Yeah, that's about it.  The real issue is EIO isn't really the right
errno code, but we don't have a better one.  I've considered trying to
propose adding a new EFSCORRUPT errno value, just so that the error
message that eventually gets displayed back to the user via an
application error message is more obvious, but I haven't had the
energy to see if we can get it past the fsdevel shed-painting

> I'm talking about ext4_add_entry() behavious mainly as an example to
> better understand how we should handle these situations. In case of
> ext4_add_entry(), based on our discussions ext4_bread() should not
> fail once dir entries should not have HOLES, so, a NULL return
> should indicate a on-disk corruption or an I/O error.

Well, a NULL return indicates that there is a hole in that particular
inode.  If err=0, then it's a hole.  Whether or not a hole is an
actual file system corruption is up to the caller of ext4_bread() to
determine.  In the case of directories, holes are an example file
system corruption, so for the code in fs/ext4/namei.c, the appropriate
thing to do would be to call ext4_error() and then return an error to
abort the operation.

There is an argument to be made that if the file system is mounted
with errors=continue, in this case we could just try to ignore the
hole, and try to recover as best we can.  But that's going to be quite
tricky to implement, and I'm not at all convinced it's worth the extra
complexity to implement.  I could imagine someone who had a very high
requirement for "zero downtime" who might argue for this, but then we
would need to make sure the fallback code really was bulletproof.  If
we pursued this option, then the EIO or EFSCORRUPT error code would
only be returned in the errors=remount-ro case.

(This is the sort of thing which is what customers pay $$$ for IBM's
mainframe in zOS.  Whether or not this is really needed for ext4 and
Linux, even for an enterprise product, is a different sort of
question.  I wouldn't object to someone who tried to make the
errors=continue behaviour to recover in a clean and safe way, but the
code would have to be very clearly documented, tested, and carefully

						- Ted
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