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Date:   Tue, 31 Oct 2023 13:22:01 +0100
From:   Jan Kara <>
To:     Jeff Layton <>
Cc:     Dave Chinner <>,
        Amir Goldstein <>,
        Linus Torvalds <>,
        Kent Overstreet <>,
        Christian Brauner <>,
        Alexander Viro <>,
        John Stultz <>,
        Thomas Gleixner <>,
        Stephen Boyd <>,
        Chandan Babu R <>,
        "Darrick J. Wong" <>,
        Theodore Ts'o <>,
        Andreas Dilger <>,
        Chris Mason <>, Josef Bacik <>,
        David Sterba <>,
        Hugh Dickins <>,
        Andrew Morton <>,
        Jan Kara <>, David Howells <>,,,,,,,
Subject: Re: [PATCH RFC 2/9] timekeeping: new interfaces for multigrain
 timestamp handing

On Tue 31-10-23 07:04:53, Jeff Layton wrote:
> On Tue, 2023-10-31 at 09:37 +1100, Dave Chinner wrote:
> > I have suggested mechanisms for using masked off bits of timestamps
> > to encode sub-timestamp granularity change counts and keep them
> > invisible to userspace and then not using i_version at all for XFS.
> > This avoids all the problems that the multi-grain timestamp
> > infrastructure exposed due to variable granularity of user visible
> > timestamps and ordering across inodes with different granularity.
> > This is potentially a general solution, too.
> I don't really understand this at all, but trying to do anything with
> fine-grained timestamps will just run into a lot of the same problems we
> hit with the multigrain work. If you still see this as a path forward,
> maybe you can describe it more detail?

Dave explained a bit more details here [1] like:

Another options is for XFS to play it's own internal tricks with
[cm]time granularity and turn off i_version. e.g. limit external
timestamp visibility to 1us and use the remaining dozen bits of the
ns field to hold a change counter for updates within a single coarse
timer tick. This guarantees the timestamp changes within a coarse
tick for the purposes of change detection, but we don't expose those
bits to applications so applications that compare timestamps across
inodes won't get things back to front like was happening with the
multi-grain timestamps....

So as far as I understand Dave wants to effectively persist counter in low
bits of ctime and expose ctime+counter as its change cookie. I guess that
could work and what makes the complexity manageable compared to full
multigrain timestamps is the fact that we have one filesystem, one on-disk
format etc. The only slight trouble could be that if we previously handed
out something in low bits of ctime for XFS, we need to keep handing the
same thing out until the inode changes (i.e., no rounding until the moment
inode changes) as the old timestamp could be stored somewhere externally
and compared.



Jan Kara <>

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