DragonFly BSD
DragonFly kernel List (threaded) for 2004-01
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Re: Background fsck

From: Chris Pressey <cpressey@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 15:37:50 -0800

On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 15:20:10 -0500
Gary Thorpe <gathorpe79@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> There was a thread on tech-kern@xxxxxxxxxx regarding relocation of bad
> sectors and caching and the informal observations were that some IDE 
> drives LIE about this when the cache is enabled. That's such a
> wonderful improvement don't you think?

Right up there with fake-parity memory, I'd have to say.

> In fact, without hardware being able to reliably and truthful inform
> the OS on what is happening, no filesystem can guarantee anything.

Which is kind of what I was trying to get at.  If drive manufacturers
want to go this route and be taken seriously, they're going to have to
start adding stuff that's normally in the filesystem to the drive

(More likely they don't fear not being taken seriously, I grant you.)

> But ATA gets high sequential transfers so I guess thats all that
> matters.

Not to me or you, obviously, but most people apparently have a high
tolerance for crap.

> Existing designs may be MORE complex and harder to maintain than
> softdeps: do you want that?

Hell no.  That's like the last thing I want.

But if someone else wants to use (say) EXT3 or ReiserFS with DragonFly,
I wouldn't want to stop them.  Especially considering these are already
maintained by other parties.

> If it is necessary, design one from scratch using principles the
> others explored/built on. Its not impossible.

No, but it's extra work, and it isn't necessary.

> Since the VFS is NOT the major obstacle to supporting jounraling

(As I said, I don't really care about journalling.)

> (almost all discussions I have seen end with "lets get LFS working
> right instead " which implies that the people who will actually decide
> want to keep it a BSD-based) and the VFS systems in all the BSDs
> already support multiple file system, I don't see where you are going?
> Do you mean to make them more modular/flexible to allow module loading
> unloading and dynamic addition of filesystems?

I mean, make it easier to port other filesystems to it.

As it stands, the VFS does support other filesystems, but poorly.  I'm
not sure how much of this has to do with UFS being regarded, in large
part, as the One True Filesystem for FreeBSD, and how much of it is
strictly technical.

> Do you honestly think Linux has a good design for this or is it a hack
> (I don't know I am asking)?

I don't really know either, but my impression is that there's way less
cruft in it, even if the design isn't any better.

> > Sure.  But journalling != atomicity, and I don't care nearly as much
> > about the former as I do the latter.
> Yes journaling is atomicity:

No.  Journalling implies atomicity, but atomicity doesn't imply

> either a change makes it into the log or
> it doesn't, or at least thats the impression I get on HOW they
> _should_ be designed (with journaling commits being atomic).
> The other alternative is to try and get EVERY file system operation to
> be atomic, which will probably be infeasible or completely destroy
> performance. Disks can only guarantee that small blocks are
> read/written atomically, so could you please elabourate on how this
> would work?

I have no idea.  But I have no reason to believe journalling is the only
feasible option.  And as I said, I don't really care.

> >>Suppose the driver has a bug which cause the kernel to use an
> >invalid >pointer: since most OS's are still monolithic, you are more
> >unsure>about what you may have just corrupted (including FS code).
> >>
> > 
> > Or suppose the kernel just refuses to use the invalid pointer.
> Or suppose it IS valid, but it points to the wrong data and you 
> overwrite something and it is only caught later? What error handling
> can you do: the error is asynchronous as it will either go undetected 
> immediately and be revealed later OR it will cause a trap. Unless you 
> want to add exception handling to a kernel, there is not much else you
> can do if the error occurs in the same module as the core kernel (as
> in a monolithic and not in a microkernel, although faults within a 
> microkernel and not one of the servers would have the same result).

So why *not* add some form of exception handling to the kernel?  At
least for the things on the border between the kernel and the rest of
the world, like device drivers and filesystems.

The answer is usually "because we don't want to take that sort of
performance hit."

Which is fine as long as some level of performance is acknowledged as
being a higher priority than some level of reliability.

> I suppose it would be interesting to people working on fault 
> tolerance/corrections in things like space exploration, but I doubt 
> there is enough will to get it working on even commercial systems.

Heck, if there isn't even enough will to manufacture "honest" hard
drives and memory for commercial systems, then there certainly isn't
going to be enough will to build reliable software for them, right?

> Why does this matter? Who needs a cheap slogan anyway?

I think you missed my point - the trite sig was only to illustrate. 
Cheap slogans don't matter, but philosophy does, and IMO DragonFlyBSD's
philosophy could stand to be clearer.


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