Re: [RFC] new ->perform_write fop

From: Nick Piggin
Date: Thu May 20 2010 - 02:48:20 EST

On Thu, May 20, 2010 at 09:50:54AM +1000, Dave Chinner wrote:
> > As I said, we can have a dumb fallback path for filesystems that
> > don't implement hole punching. Clear the blocks past i size, and
> > zero out the allocated but not initialized blocks.
> >
> > There does not have to be pagecache allocated in order to do this,
> > you could do direct IO from the zero page in order to do it.
> I don't see that as a good solution - it's once again a fairly
> complex way of dealing with the problem, especially as it now means
> that direct io would fall back to buffered which would fall back to
> direct IO....

Well it wouldn't use the full direct IO path. It has the block, just
build a bio with the source zero page and write it out. If the fs
requires anything more fancy than that, tough, it should just
implement hole punching.

> > Hole punching is not only useful there, it is already exposed to
> > userspace via MADV_REMOVE.
> That interface is *totally broken*.


> It has all the same problems as
> vmtruncate() for removing file blocks (because it uses vmtruncate).
> It also has the fundamental problem of being called un the mmap_sem,
> which means that inode locks and therefore de-allocation cannot be
> executed without the possibility of deadlocks.

None of that is an API problem, it's all implementation. Yes fadivse
would be a much better API, but the madvise API is still there.
Implementation wise: it does not use vmtruncate; it has no mmap_sem

> Fundamentally, hole
> punching is an inode operation, not a VM operation....

VM acts as a handle to inode operations. It's no big deal.

> > An API that doesn't require that, though, should be less overhead
> > and simpler.
> >
> > Is it really going to be a problem to implement block hole punching
> > in ext4 and gfs2?
> I can't follow the ext4 code - it's an intricate maze of weird entry
> and exit points, so I'm not even going to attempt to comment on it.
> The gfs2 code is easier to follow and it looks like it would require
> a redesign and rewrite of the block truncation implementation as it
> appears to assume that blocks are only ever removed from the end of
> the file - I don't think the recursive algorithms for trimming the
> indirect block trees can be easily modified for punching out
> arbitrary ranges of blocks easily. I could be wrong, though, as I'm
> not a gfs2 expert....

I'm far more in favour of doing the interfaces right, and making
the filesystems fix themselves to use it.

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