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Date:   Tue, 30 Nov 2021 10:49:50 +0100
From:   Lukas Czerner <>
To:     "Theodore Y. Ts'o" <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v2] ext4: implement support for get/set fs label

On Mon, Nov 29, 2021 at 10:00:08PM -0500, Theodore Y. Ts'o wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 12, 2021 at 09:20:19AM +0100, Lukas Czerner wrote:
> > +	/* Update backup superblocks */
> > +	ngroups = ext4_get_groups_count(sb);
> > +	for (grp = 0; grp < ngroups; grp++) {
> > +
> 		...
> > +		ret = ext4_journal_ensure_credits_fn(handle, 1,
> > +						     EXT4_MAX_TRANS_DATA,
> > +						     0, 0);
> > +		if (ret < 0)
> > +			break;
> This doesn't look right.  This will try to make sure there is at least
> one credit left on the handle, and if there isn't it will attempt to
> add EXT4_MAX_TRANS_DATA to the handle --- and if there isn't enough
> room remaining in the journal to add that number of credits, no
> credits will be added, and ext4_journal_ensure_credits_fn() will
> return a positive integer (in our current implementation it will
> always return 1).

Oops, I was sure I've seen this somewhere in the code, but I guess I was
wrong. Should have checked what it actually returns. Thanks for pointing
this out.

> So once run out of credits, and there is no more room in the journal,
> we we will proceed, and when we try to modify the backup superblock, a
> WARN_ON will be triggered and ext4_handle_dirty_metadata() will
> trigger an ext4_error(), which would be unfortunate.
> I'd also point out that for very large file systems, I'm not convinced
> that we need to atomically update all of the backup superblocks at the
> same time.  Sure, probably makes sense to update the primary, and
> superblocks for block groups 0 and 1 atomically (or s_backup_bgs[0,1]
> a sparse_super2 file system) using the journal.
> But after that?  I'd suggest not running the updates for the rest
> through the journal at all, and just write them out directly.  Nothing
> else will try to read or write the backup superblock blocks, so
> there's no reason why we have to be super careful writing out the
> rest.  If we crash after we've only updated the first 20 backup
> superblocks --- that's probably 18 more than a user will actually use
> in the first place.
> That allows us to simply reserve 3 credits, and we won't need to try
> to extend the handle, which means we don't have to implement some kind
> of fallback logic in case the handle extension fails.

I think I agree. But in this case should we at least attempt to check
and update the backup superblocks in fsck? Not sure if we do that

> One other comment.  Eventually (and not so in the distant future)
> we're going to want to use the same superblock updating logic to
> handle changing the UUID, and possibly, for other tune2fs operations.
> The reason for this is that there are some people who are trying to
> update the UUID and resize the file system to fit the size of the
> cloud block device (e.g., either an Amazon EBS or GCE's PD) in
> separate systemd unit scripts.  This results in race conditions that
> can cause either the tune2fs or resize2fs to fail --- rarely, but if
> you are starting up thousands and thousands of VM's per day, even the
> rare becomes common place.  This is the reason of e2fsprogs commit
> 6338a8467564 ("libext2fs: retry reading superblock on open when
> checksum is bad") but that turns out not to be enough; although it
> does reduce the incidence rate by another order of magnitude or two.
> So....  we should probably have a mutex which prevents two ioctls
> which is modifying the superblock from running at the same time.  It's
> *probably* going to be OK for now, since the second ioctl racing to
> update the superblock will update the checksum, and so long as we have
> journalling enabled, we shouldn't have a bad checksum end up on disk.
> But we're going to want to add an ioctl to fetch the superblock, and
> at that point we'll definitely need the mutex to protect the
> superblock getter from getting an inconsistent view of the superblock.
> The other thing that might be nice would be if the superblock update
> function was abstracted out, and the FS_IOC_SETLABEL ioctl provided a
> callback function which updates the label.
> Neither of these two suggestions are strictly necessary for your patch
> series (although the mutex will prevent problems with racing
> FS_IOC_SETLABEL and FS_IOC_GETLABEL ioctls), so if you don't want to
> make these changes now, I'm not going to insist on them; we can
> always make these improvements when we implement FS_IOC_SETUUID,
> FS_IOC_GETUUID, and EXT4_IOC_GET_SB.  (BTW, I believe Darrick has
> patches to implement FS_IOC_[SG]ETUUID for xfs and possibly some other
> file systems, IIRC, but those have never been landed in Linus's tree.)

It's not a critical functionality so it can wait. I'll think about
implementing the superblock modification system. Thanks for the useful

> And finally, thanks for working on FS_IOC_SETLABEL!  It has been on my
> todo list for a long time, but it's never managed to make the top of
> the priority queue...

No problem, I am happy to help.


> Cheers,
>      	      	    	      	   	      = Ted

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