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Date:	Tue, 26 May 2015 18:39:48 +0200
From:	Beata Michalska <>
To:	Greg KH <>
Cc:	Jan Kara <>,,,,,,,,,,,,
Subject: Re: [RFC v2 1/4] fs: Add generic file system event notifications


On 05/07/2015 01:57 PM, Beata Michalska wrote:
> Hi,
> On 05/05/2015 02:16 PM, Beata Michalska wrote:
>> Hi again,
>> On 04/29/2015 11:13 AM, Greg KH wrote:
>>> On Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 09:42:59AM +0200, Jan Kara wrote:
>>>> On Wed 29-04-15 09:03:08, Beata Michalska wrote:
>>>>> On 04/28/2015 07:39 PM, Greg KH wrote:
>>>>>> On Tue, Apr 28, 2015 at 04:46:46PM +0200, Beata Michalska wrote:
>>>>>>> On 04/28/2015 04:09 PM, Greg KH wrote:
>>>>>>>> On Tue, Apr 28, 2015 at 03:56:53PM +0200, Jan Kara wrote:
>>>>>>>>> On Mon 27-04-15 17:37:11, Greg KH wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> On Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 05:08:27PM +0200, Beata Michalska wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>> On 04/27/2015 04:24 PM, Greg KH wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>> On Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 01:51:41PM +0200, Beata Michalska wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Introduce configurable generic interface for file
>>>>>>>>>>>>> system-wide event notifications, to provide file
>>>>>>>>>>>>> systems with a common way of reporting any potential
>>>>>>>>>>>>> issues as they emerge.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> The notifications are to be issued through generic
>>>>>>>>>>>>> netlink interface by newly introduced multicast group.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Threshold notifications have been included, allowing
>>>>>>>>>>>>> triggering an event whenever the amount of free space drops
>>>>>>>>>>>>> below a certain level - or levels to be more precise as two
>>>>>>>>>>>>> of them are being supported: the lower and the upper range.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> The notifications work both ways: once the threshold level
>>>>>>>>>>>>> has been reached, an event shall be generated whenever
>>>>>>>>>>>>> the number of available blocks goes up again re-activating
>>>>>>>>>>>>> the threshold.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> The interface has been exposed through a vfs. Once mounted,
>>>>>>>>>>>>> it serves as an entry point for the set-up where one can
>>>>>>>>>>>>> register for particular file system events.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Signed-off-by: Beata Michalska <>
>>>>>>>>>>>>> ---
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  Documentation/filesystems/events.txt |  231 ++++++++++
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  fs/Makefile                          |    1 +
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  fs/events/Makefile                   |    6 +
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  fs/events/fs_event.c                 |  770 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  fs/events/fs_event.h                 |   25 ++
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  fs/events/fs_event_netlink.c         |   99 +++++
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  fs/namespace.c                       |    1 +
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  include/linux/fs.h                   |    6 +-
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  include/linux/fs_event.h             |   58 +++
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  include/uapi/linux/fs_event.h        |   54 +++
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  include/uapi/linux/genetlink.h       |    1 +
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  net/netlink/genetlink.c              |    7 +-
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  12 files changed, 1257 insertions(+), 2 deletions(-)
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  create mode 100644 Documentation/filesystems/events.txt
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  create mode 100644 fs/events/Makefile
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  create mode 100644 fs/events/fs_event.c
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  create mode 100644 fs/events/fs_event.h
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  create mode 100644 fs/events/fs_event_netlink.c
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  create mode 100644 include/linux/fs_event.h
>>>>>>>>>>>>>  create mode 100644 include/uapi/linux/fs_event.h
>>>>>>>>>>>> Any reason why you just don't do uevents for the block devices today,
>>>>>>>>>>>> and not create a new type of netlink message and userspace tool required
>>>>>>>>>>>> to read these?
>>>>>>>>>>> The idea here is to have support for filesystems with no backing device as well.
>>>>>>>>>>> Parsing the message with libnl is really simple and requires few lines of code
>>>>>>>>>>> (sample application has been presented in the initial version of this RFC)
>>>>>>>>>> I'm not saying it's not "simple" to parse, just that now you are doing
>>>>>>>>>> something that requires a different tool.  If you have a block device,
>>>>>>>>>> you should be able to emit uevents for it, you don't need a backing
>>>>>>>>>> device, we handle virtual filesystems in /sys/block/ just fine :)
>>>>>>>>>> People already have tools that listen to libudev for system monitoring
>>>>>>>>>> and management, why require them to hook up to yet-another-library?  And
>>>>>>>>>> what is going to provide the ability for multiple userspace tools to
>>>>>>>>>> listen to these netlink messages in case you have more than one program
>>>>>>>>>> that wants to watch for these things (i.e. multiple desktop filesystem
>>>>>>>>>> monitoring tools, system-health checkers, etc.)?
>>>>>>>>>   As much as I understand your concerns I'm not convinced uevent interface
>>>>>>>>> is a good fit. There are filesystems that don't have underlying block
>>>>>>>>> device - think of e.g. tmpfs or filesystems working directly on top of
>>>>>>>>> flash devices.  These still want to send notification to userspace (one of
>>>>>>>>> primary motivation for this interfaces was so that tmpfs can notify about
>>>>>>>>> something). And creating some fake nodes in /sys/block for tmpfs and
>>>>>>>>> similar filesystems seems like doing more harm than good to me...
>>>>>>>> If these are "fake" block devices, what's going to be present in the
>>>>>>>> block major/minor fields of the netlink message?  For some reason I
>>>>>>>> thought it was a required field, and because of that, I thought we had a
>>>>>>>> "real" filesystem somewhere to refer to, otherwise how would userspace
>>>>>>>> know what filesystem was creating these events?
>>>>>>>> What am I missing here?
>>>>>>>> confused,
>>>>>>>> greg k-h
>>>>>>> For those 'fake' block devs, upon mount, get_anon_bdev will assign
>>>>>>> the major:minor numbers. Userspace might get those through stat.
>>>>>> How can userspace do the mapping backwards from this "anonymous"
>>>>>> major:minor number for these types of filesystems in such a way that
>>>>>> they can "know" how to report the block device that is causing the
>>>>>> event?
>>>>>> thanks,
>>>>>> greg k-h
>>>>> It needs to be done internally by the app but is doable.
>>>>> The app knows what it is watching, so it can maintain the mappings.
>>>>> So prior to activating the notifications it can call 'stat' on the mount point.
>>>>> Stat struct gives the 'st_dev' which is the device id. Same will be reported
>>>>> within the message payload (through major:minor numbers). So having this,
>>>>> the app is able to get any other information it needs. 
>>>>> Note that the events refer to the file system as a whole and they may not
>>>>> necessarily have anything to do with the actual block device. 
>>> How are you going to show an event for a filesystem that is made up of
>>> multiple block devices?
>>>>   Or you can use /proc/self/mountinfo for the mapping. There you can see
>>>> device numbers, real device names if applicable and mountpoints. This has
>>>> the advantage that it works even if filesystem mountpoints change.
>>> Ok, then that brings up my next question, how does this handle
>>> namespaces?  What namespace is the event being sent in?  block devices
>>> aren't namespaced, but the mount points are, is that going to cause
>>> problems?
>>> thanks,
>>> greg k-h
>> Getting back to the namespaces ... 
>> In the current state the notifications will be sent to the init network namespace,
>> which means that processes belonging to a different net namespace will not
>> be able to receive them. To be more precise, those processes will not be 
>> able to subscribe to the multicast group, though this can be easily changed.
>> Furthermore, the notifications might also be sent to specific namespace.
>> In this case, the one, with which the trace for the mount point has been registered,
>> which as I believe would be the best approach.
>> As for the mount namespaces, reading the config file needs to be slightly tweaked, 
>> to hide away all the registered mount points which does not belong to the current
>> mount namespace.
>> Still, there is one possible 'issue' - the private/slave mount points. 
>> As the notifications will be sent to all the listeners (within the same netns),
>> the events might be visible to processes outside the given mount ns.
>> This should be limited to only those listeners that share the mount namespace,
>> to which such private/slave mount points belong. As using the generic netlink
>> to filter the outgoing messages is doable (with small changes to current
>> implementation), the filters themselves seem rather cumbersome, as they would require
>> finding the socket’s owner mount namespace, which just doesn't seems right.
>> On the other hand, identifying the file system, which generated the event, will
>> not be possible for processes outside such namespace, as device major:minor
>> numbers are not bound to any namespace (afaict) so they will not provide any
>> valid information. They will remain unresolved.
>> The best way out here though, is to leave it to userspace to properly setup new namespaces:
>> the mount namespace with possible private/slave mounts should have a separate 
>> network namespace to isolate the potential fs events, if required.
>> BR
>> Beata
> I'm not really sure where we are with this RFC now (?).
> Just wanted to let You know I won't be available for the next two weeks,
> in case this comes around.
> Best Regards
> Beata

Things has gone a bit quiet thread wise ...
As I believe I've managed to snap back to reality, I was hoping we could continue with this?
I'm not sure if we've got everything cleared up or ... have we reached a dead end?
Please let me know if we can move to the next stage? Or, if there are any showstoppers?

Thank You,

Best Regards

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