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Date:   Tue, 5 May 2020 19:21:54 +0200
From:   Paolo Bonzini <>
To:     David Rientjes <>
Cc:     Jim Mattson <>,
        Emanuele Giuseppe Esposito <>,
        Jonathan Adams <>,
        kvm list <>,
        Christian Borntraeger <>,
        David Hildenbrand <>,
        Cornelia Huck <>,
        Vitaly Kuznetsov <>,
        Alexander Viro <>,
        Emanuele Giuseppe Esposito <>,
        LKML <>,,,,,
        Linux FS Devel <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v2 0/5] Statsfs: a new ram-based file sytem for Linux
 kernel statistics

On 05/05/20 19:07, David Rientjes wrote:
>> I am totally in favor of having a binary format, but it should be
>> introduced as a separate series on top of this one---and preferably by
>> someone who has already put some thought into the problem (which
>> Emanuele and I have not, beyond ensuring that the statsfs concept and
>> API is flexible enough).
> The concern is that once this series is merged then /sys/kernel/stats 
> could be considered an ABI and there would be a reasonable expectation 
> that it will remain stable, in so far as the stats that userspace is 
> interested in are stable and not obsoleted.
> So is this a suggestion that the binary format becomes complementary to 
> statsfs and provide a means for getting all stats from a single subsystem, 
> or that this series gets converted to such a format before it is merged?

The binary format should be complementary.  The ASCII format should
indeed be considered stable even though individual statistics would come
and go.  It may make sense to allow disabling ASCII files via mount
and/or Kconfig options; but either way, the binary format can and should
be added on top.

I have not put any thought into what the binary format would look like
and what its features would be.  For example these are but the first
questions that come to mind:

* would it be possible to read/clear an arbitrary statistic with
pread/pwrite, or do you have to read all of them?

* if userspace wants to read the schema just once and then read the
statistics many times, how is it informed of schema changes?

* and of course the details of how the schema (names of stat and
subsources) is encoded and what details it should include about the
values (e.g. type or just signedness).

Another possibility is to query stats via BPF.  This could be a third
way to access the stats, or it could be alternative to a binary format.


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