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Date:	Wed, 23 May 2007 20:36:07 -0400
From:	"Josef 'Jeff' Sipek" <jsipek@...sunysb.edu>
To:	linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org, linux-fsdevel@...r.kernel.org
Cc:	akpm@...ux-foundation.org, Erez Zadok <ezk@...sunysb.edu>,
	"Josef 'Jeff' Sipek" <jsipek@...sunysb.edu>
Subject: [PATCH 17/21] Unionfs: Documentation update regarding overlapping branches and new lookup code

From: Erez Zadok <ezk@...sunysb.edu>

Added detailed comment and updated documentation to explain why overlapping
branches are disallowed, and better explain the cache coherency issues.

Signed-off-by: Erez Zadok <ezk@...sunysb.edu>
Signed-off-by: Josef 'Jeff' Sipek <jsipek@...sunysb.edu>
---
 Documentation/filesystems/unionfs/issues.txt |   16 ++++++++--------
 fs/unionfs/main.c                            |   16 +++++++++++++++-
 2 files changed, 23 insertions(+), 9 deletions(-)

diff --git a/Documentation/filesystems/unionfs/issues.txt b/Documentation/filesystems/unionfs/issues.txt
index a434fee..c634604 100644
--- a/Documentation/filesystems/unionfs/issues.txt
+++ b/Documentation/filesystems/unionfs/issues.txt
@@ -5,14 +5,14 @@ KNOWN Unionfs 2.0 ISSUES:
    This means we can't reliably detect a read-only NFS export.
 
 2. Modifying a Unionfs branch directly, while the union is mounted, is
-   currently unsupported.  We have tested Unionfs under such conditions, and
-   fixed any bugs we found (Unionfs comes with an extensive regression test
-   suite).  However, it may still be possible that changes made to lower
-   branches directly could cause cache incoherency which, in the worst case,
-   may case an oops.  We are currently addressing this problem for Unionfs
-   and also generically for all stackable file systems, by handing mmap and
-   introducing small VFS/MM changes that would allow a file system to handle
-   cache coherency correctly.
+   currently unsupported, because it could cause a cache incoherency between
+   the union layer and the lower file systems (for that reason, Unionfs
+   currently prohibits using branches which overlap with each other, even
+   partially).  We have tested Unionfs under such conditions, and fixed any
+   bugs we found (Unionfs comes with an extensive regression test suite).
+   However, it may still be possible that changes made to lower branches
+   directly could cause cache incoherency which, in the worst case, may case
+   an oops.
 
    Unionfs 2.0 has a temporary workaround for this.  You can force Unionfs
    to increase the superblock generation number, and hence purge all cached
diff --git a/fs/unionfs/main.c b/fs/unionfs/main.c
index 84d3bf5..a9ad445 100644
--- a/fs/unionfs/main.c
+++ b/fs/unionfs/main.c
@@ -351,7 +351,21 @@ static int parse_dirs_option(struct super_block *sb, struct unionfs_dentry_info
 
 	BUG_ON(branches != (hidden_root_info->bend + 1));
 
-	/* ensure that no overlaps exist in the branches */
+	/*
+	 * Ensure that no overlaps exist in the branches.
+	 *
+	 * This test is required because the Linux kernel has no support
+	 * currently for ensuring coherency between stackable layers and
+	 * branches.  If we were to allow overlapping branches, it would be
+	 * possible, for example, to delete a file via one branch, which
+	 * would not be reflected in another branch.  Such incoherency could
+	 * lead to inconsistencies and even kernel oopses.  Rather than
+	 * implement hacks to work around some of these cache-coherency
+	 * problems, we prevent branch overlapping, for now.  A complete
+	 * solution will involve proper kernel/VFS support for cache
+	 * coherency, at which time we could safely remove this
+	 * branch-overlapping test.
+	 */
 	for (i = 0; i < branches; i++) {
 		for (j = i + 1; j < branches; j++) {
 			dent1 = hidden_root_info->lower_paths[i].dentry;
-- 
1.5.2.rc1.165.gaf9b

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