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Date:   Fri, 12 Jun 2020 17:52:08 +0300
From:   Amir Goldstein <>
To:     Mel Gorman <>
Cc:     Jan Kara <>, Alexander Viro <>,
        linux-fsdevel <>,
        linux-kernel <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH] fs: Do not check if there is a fsnotify watcher on pseudo inodes

On Fri, Jun 12, 2020 at 4:18 PM Mel Gorman <> wrote:
> On Fri, Jun 12, 2020 at 12:52:28PM +0300, Amir Goldstein wrote:
> > On Fri, Jun 12, 2020 at 12:26 PM Mel Gorman <> wrote:
> > >
> > > The kernel uses internal mounts for a number of purposes including pipes.
> > > On every vfs_write regardless of filesystem, fsnotify_modify() is called
> > > to notify of any changes which incurs a small amount of overhead in fsnotify
> > > even when there are no watchers.
> > >
> > > A patch is pending that reduces, but does not eliminte, the overhead
> > > of fsnotify but for the internal mounts, even the small overhead is
> > > unnecessary. The user API is based on the pathname and a dirfd and proc
> > > is the only visible path for inodes on an internal mount. Proc does not
> > > have the same pathname as the internal entry so even if fatrace is used
> > > on /proc, no events trigger for the /proc/X/fd/ files.
> > >
> >
> > This looks like a good direction and I was going to suggest that as well.
> > However, I am confused by the use of terminology "internal mount".
> > The patch does not do anything dealing with "internal mount".
> I was referring to users of kern_mount.

I see. I am not sure if all kern_mount hand out only anonymous inodes,
but FYI, now there a MNT_NS_INTERNAL that is not SB_KERNMOUNT:
df820f8de4e4 ovl: make private mounts longterm

> > If alloc_file_pseudo() is only called for filesystems mounted as
> > internal mounts,
> I believe this is the case and I did not find a counter-example.  The
> changelog that introduced the helper is not explicit but it was created
> in the context of converting a number of internal mounts like pipes,
> anon inodes to a common helper. If I'm wrong, Al will likely point it out.
> > please include this analysis in commit message.
> > In any case, not every file of internal mount is allocated with
> > alloc_file_pseudo(),
> > right?
> Correct. It is not required and there is at least one counter example
> in arch/ia64/kernel/perfmon.c but I don't think that is particularly
> important, I don't think anyone is kept awake at night worrying about
> small performance overhead on Itanium.
> > So maybe it would be better to list all users of alloc_file_pseudo()
> > and say that they all should be opted out of fsnotify, without mentioning
> > "internal mount"?
> >
> The users are DMA buffers, CXL, aio, anon inodes, hugetlbfs, anonymous
> pipes, shmem and sockets although not all of them necessary end up using
> a VFS operation that triggers fsnotify.  Either way, I don't think it
> makes sense (or even possible) to watch any of those with fanotify so
> setting the flag seems reasonable.

I also think this seems reasonable, but the more accurate reason IMO
is found in the comment for d_alloc_pseudo():
"allocate a dentry (for lookup-less filesystems)..."

> I updated the changelog and maybe this is clearer.

I still find the use of "internal mount" terminology too vague.
"lookup-less filesystems" would have been more accurate,
because as you correctly point out, the user API to set a watch
requires that the marked object is looked up in the filesystem.

There are also some kernel internal users that set watches
like audit and nfsd, but I think they are also only interested in
inodes that have a path at the time that the mark is setup.


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