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Date:   Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:28:24 +1000
From:   NeilBrown <>
To:     Matthew Wilcox <>
Cc:     Jeff Layton <>,,,,,,
Subject: Re: [RFC PATCH 0/4] fs: introduce new writeback error tracking infrastructure and convert ext4 to use it

On Tue, Apr 04 2017, Matthew Wilcox wrote:

> On Tue, Apr 04, 2017 at 01:03:22PM +1000, NeilBrown wrote:
>> On Mon, Apr 03 2017, Jeff Layton wrote:
>> > On Mon, 2017-04-03 at 12:16 -0700, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
>> >> So, OK, that makes sense, we should keep allowing filesystems to report
>> >> ENOSPC as a writeback error.  But I think much of the argument below
>> >> still holds, and we should continue to have a prior EIO to be reported
>> >> over a new ENOSPC (even if the program has already consumed the EIO).
>> >
>> > I'm fine with that (though I'd like Neil's thoughts before we decide
>> > anything) there.
>> I'd like there be a well defined time when old errors were forgotten.
>> It does make sense for EIO to persist even if ENOSPC or EDQUOT is
>> received, but not forever.
>> Clearing the remembered errors when put_write_access() causes
>> i_writecount to reach zero is one option (as suggested), but I'm not
>> sure I'm happy with it.
>> Local filesystems, or network filesystems which receive strong write
>> delegations, should only ever return EIO to fsync.  We should
>> concentrate on them first, I think.  As there is only one possible
>> error, the seq counter is sufficient to "clear" it once it has been
>> reported to fsync() (or write()?).
>> Other network filesystems could return a whole host of errors: ENOSPC
>> Do we want to limit exactly which errors are allowed in generic code, or
>> do we just support EIO generically and expect the filesystem to sort out
>> the details for anything else?
> I'd like us to focus on our POSIX compliance here and not return
> arbitrary errors.  The relevant pages are here:
> For close(), we have to map every error to EIO.
> For fsync(), we can return any error that write() could have.  That limits
> us to:
> I think EFBIG really isn't a writeback error; are there any network
> filesystems that don't know the file size limit at the time they accept
> the original write?  ENOBUFS seems like a transient error (*this* call to
> fsync() failed, but the next one may succeed ... it's the equivalent of
> ENOMEM).  ENXIO seems to me like it's a submission error, not a writeback
> error.  So that leaves us with ENOSPC and EIO, as we have support today.

I guess Posix doesn't acknowledge the existence of disk quotas?
I think we need to add EDQUOT to your list.
Other hypothetical errors errors from the server such as EPERM or ESTALE
can reasonably be mapped to EIO.

>> One possible approach a filesystem could take is just to allow a single
>> async writeback error.  After that error, all subsequent write()
>> system calls become synchronous. As write() or fsync() is called on each
>> file descriptor (which could possibly have sent the write which caused
>> the error), an error is returned and that fact is counted.  Once we have
>> returned as many errors as there are open file descriptors
>> (i_writecount?), and have seen a successful write, the filesystem
>> forgets all recorded errors and switches back to async writes (for that
>> inode).   NFS does this switch-to-sync-on-error.  See nfs_need_check_write().
>> The "which could possibly have sent the write which caused the error" is
>> an explicit reference to NFS.  NFS doesn't use the AS_EIO/AS_ENOSPC
>> flags to return async errors.  It allocates an nfs_open_context for each
>> user who opens a given inode, and stores an error in there.  Each dirty
>> pages is associated with one of these, so errors a sure to go to the
>> correct user, though not necessarily the correct fd at present.
> ... and you need the nfs_open_context in order to use the correct
> credentials when writing a page to the server, correct?



>> When we specify the new behaviour we should be careful to be as vague as
>> possible while still saying what we need.  This allows filesystems some
>> flexibility.
>>   If an error happens during writeback, the next write() or fsync() (or
>>   ....) on the file descriptor to which data was written will return -1
>>   with errno set to EIO or some other relevant error.  Other file
>>   descriptors open on the same file may receive EIO or some other error
>>   on a subsequent appropriate system call.
>>   It should not be assumed that close() will return an error.  fsync()
>>   must be called before close() if writeback errors are important to the
>>   application.
> Thanks for explaining what NFS does today.

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