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Date:   Wed, 05 Apr 2017 07:14:09 -0400
From:   Jeff Layton <jlayton@...hat.com>
To:     NeilBrown <neilb@...e.com>, Matthew Wilcox <willy@...radead.org>
Cc:     linux-fsdevel@...r.kernel.org, linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org,
        linux-ext4@...r.kernel.org, akpm@...ux-foundation.org,
        tytso@....edu, jack@...e.cz
Subject: Re: [RFC PATCH 0/4] fs: introduce new writeback error tracking
 infrastructure and convert ext4 to use it

On Wed, 2017-04-05 at 09:13 +1000, NeilBrown wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 04 2017, Jeff Layton wrote:
> 
> > On Tue, 2017-04-04 at 09:12 -0700, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
> > > On Tue, Apr 04, 2017 at 08:17:48AM -0400, Jeff Layton wrote:
> > > > Agreed that we should focus on POSIX compliance. I'll also note that
> > > > POSIX states:
> > > > 
> > > > "If more than one error occurs in processing a function call, any one
> > > > of the possible errors may be returned, as the order of
> > > > detection is undefined."
> > > > 
> > > >     http://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/9699919799/functions/V2_chap02.html#tag_15_03
> > > > 
> > > > So, I'd like to push back on this idea that we need to prefer reporting
> > > > -EIO over other errors. POSIX certainly doesn't mandate that. 
> > > 
> > > I honestly wonder if we need to support ENOSPC from writeback at all.
> > > Looking at our history, the AS_EIO / AS_ENOSPC came from this patch
> > > in 2003:
> > > 
> > > https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/tglx/history.git/commit/?id=fcad2b42fc2e15a94ba1a1ba8535681a735bfd16
> > > 
> > > That seems to come from here:
> > > http://lkml.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/0308.0/0205.html
> > > which is marked as a resend, but I can't find the original.
> > > 
> > > It's a little misleading because the immediately preceding patch
> > > introduced mapping->error, so there's no precedent here to speak of.
> > > It looks like we used to just silently lose writeback errors (*cough*).
> > > 
> > > I'd like to suggest that maybe we don't need to support multiple errors
> > > at all.  That all errors, including ENOSPC, get collapsed into EIO.
> > > POSIX already tells us to do that for close() and permits us to do that
> > > for fsync().
> > > 
> > 
> > That is certainly allowed under POSIX as I interpret the spec. At a
> > minimum we just need a single flag and can collapse all errors under
> > that.
> > 
> > That said, I think giving more specific errors where we can is useful.
> > When your program is erroring out and writing 'I/O error' to the logs,
> > then how much time will your admins burn before they figure out that it
> > really failed because the filesystem was full?
> 
> What if you don't have an admin?  What if it was an over-quota error?
> I think precise error messages are valuable.
> I am leaning towards "last error wins" though.  The complexity of any
> scheme that reports "worst recent error" seems to out weigh the value.
> 
> I think we should present this as a service to filesystems. e.g. create
> a "recent_wb_error" structure which the filesystem can record errors in
> when they occur, and syscalls can read errors from.
> One of these would be provided in 'struct address_space', but
> filesystems can easily embed one in their own data structure
> (e.g. nfs_open_context) if they want to.
> 
> I don't think we should return a recent_wb_error on close by default,
> but individual filesystems can ("man 2 close" implies NFS does this for
> EDQUOT at it should continue to do so).
> 
> fsync() (and file_sync_range()) should return a recent_wb_error, but
> what about write()?  It would be a suitable way to stop an application
> early, but it isn't exactly the requested write that failed...
> Posix says of EIO from write:
> 
>     A physical I/O error has occurred.
> 
> which is rather vague.  Where and when did this error in physics (:-)
> occur?
> 
> O_DIRECT write() can get an EIO from a previous write-back write to the
> same file.  Maybe non-O_DIRECT writes should too?
> 

Some already do this for buffered writes.

This is really a philosophical question, IMO...is it correct to return
an error on a write call, due to writeback failing previously or during
the write call, quite possibly to a range that the write call does not
touch? I can see an argument either way for this.

Also, if we do think that returning an error on the write is the right
thing to do, should that error advance the sequence counter in the
struct file, such that an fsync afterward gets back 0? My feeling here
is that fsync should still report an error after a failed write, but
maybe that's wrong?

This is certainly one area where switching to synchronous writes on
error would make things a little simpler.
-- 
Jeff Layton <jlayton@...hat.com>

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