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Date:   Wed, 12 Aug 2020 09:23:23 +0200
From:   Miklos Szeredi <>
To:     Linus Torvalds <>
Cc:     Jann Horn <>,
        Casey Schaufler <>,
        Andy Lutomirski <>,
        linux-fsdevel <>,
        David Howells <>,
        Al Viro <>, Karel Zak <>,
        Jeff Layton <>,
        Miklos Szeredi <>,
        Nicolas Dichtel <>,
        Christian Brauner <>,
        Lennart Poettering <>,
        Linux API <>,
        Ian Kent <>,
        LSM <>,
        Linux Kernel Mailing List <>
Subject: Re: file metadata via fs API (was: [GIT PULL] Filesystem Information)

On Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 11:19 PM Linus Torvalds
<> wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 1:56 PM Miklos Szeredi <> wrote:
> >
> > So that's where O_ALT comes in.   If the application is consenting,
> > then that should prevent exploits.   Or?
> If the application is consenting AND GETS IT RIGHT it should prevent exploits.
> But that's a big deal.
> Why not just do it the way I suggested? Then you don't have any of these issues.

Will do.

I just want to understand the reasons why a unified namespace is
completely out of the question.   And I won't accept "it's just fugly"
or "it's the way it's always been done, so don't change it".  Those
are not good reasons.

Oh, I'm used to these "fights", had them all along.  In hindsight I
should have accepted others' advice in some of the cases, but in
others that big argument turned out to be a complete non-issue.   One
such being inode and dentry duplication in the overlayfs case vs.
in-built stacking in the union-mount case.  There were a lot of issues
with overlayfs, that's true, but dcache/icache size has NEVER actually
been reported as a problem.

While Al has a lot of experience, it's hard to accept all that
anecdotal evidence just because he says it.   Your worries are also
just those: worries.  They may turn out to be an issue or they may

Anyway, starting with just introducing the alt namespace without
unification seems to be a good first step. If that turns out to be
workable, we can revisit unification later.


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