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Date:   Wed, 12 Aug 2020 16:08:07 +0100
From:   Al Viro <>
To:     Miklos Szeredi <>
Cc:     Linus Torvalds <>,
        Jann Horn <>,
        Casey Schaufler <>,
        Andy Lutomirski <>,
        linux-fsdevel <>,
        David Howells <>,
        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 Wed, Aug 12, 2020 at 04:46:20PM +0200, Miklos Szeredi wrote:

> > "Can those suckers be passed to
> > as starting points?
> No.

Lovely.  And what of fchdir() to those?  Are they all non-directories?
Because the starting point of can be simulated that way...

> >  Can they be bound in namespace?
> No.
> > Can something be bound *on* them?
> No.
> >  What do they have for inodes
> > and what maintains their inumbers (and st_dev, while we are at
> > it)?
> Irrelevant.  Can be some anon dev + shared inode.
> The only attribute of an attribute that I can think of that makes
> sense would be st_size, but even that is probably unimportant.
> >  Can _they_ have secondaries like that (sensu Swift)?
> Reference?
	So, naturalists observe, a flea
	Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
	And these have smaller still to bite 'em,
	And so proceed ad infinitum.
of course ;-)
IOW, can the things in those trees have secondary trees on them, etc.?
Not "will they have it in your originally intended use?" - "do we need
the architecture of the entire thing to be capable to deal with that?"

> > Is that a flat space, or can they be directories?"
> Yes it has a directory tree.   But you can't mkdir, rename, link,
> symlink, etc on anything in there.

That kills the "shared inode" part - you'll get deadlocks from
hell that way.  "Can't mkdir" doesn't save you from that.  BTW,
what of unlink()?  If the tree shape is not a hardwired constant,
you get to decide how it's initially populated...

Next: what will that tree be attached to?  As in, "what's the parent
of its root"?  And while we are at it, what will be the struct mount
used with those - same as the original file, something different
attached to it, something created on the fly for each pathwalk and
lazy-umounted?  And see above re fchdir() - if they can be directories,
it's very much in the game.

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