[Portland] PortlandVFSProposal

Dan Kegel dank at kegel.com
Sat Jan 7 18:04:32 EET 2006

On 1/7/06, Diego Calleja <diegocg at gmail.com> wrote:
> > The desktop isn't "just" GNU/Linux on a i386 compatible computer.
> Agreed: Which is why common-vfs isn't suitable, since it forgets
> about propietary apps.

[Disclaimer: I haven't actually read through the code I'm about to
pontificate about.]

I always thought the Gnome and KDE VFS's were
needed only because the kernel lacked three crucial
1) safe unprivileged mounts
(but it's probably getting those; see http://lwn.net/Articles/160906/ )
2) per-user mounts
(but it's getting those; see http://lwn.net/Articles/159077/ )
3) an easy way to add new filesystem types
(which we have now with fuse).

If these features become popular on Linux and FreeBSD,
it won't take terribly long for them to propagate to other
popular open source flavors of Unix (e.g. Solaris).
On systems where the kernel has those three bits all working well
together, Gnome and KDE's VFS layers should shrink
to simple convenience wrappers, and all apps regardless
of whether they're Gnome or KDE or something else
will be able to use the userspace VFS services.
And that's the way it ought to be.

It might still be worth abstracting and merging the Gnome and KDE
VFS layers out a bit, since they do provide convenience
functions like "load a whole file" which aren't addressed by FUSE,
and which arguably ought to be available regardless of which
desktop library you're writing to, but that'd just be icing on the cake.
- Dan

Wine for Windows ISVs: http://kegel.com/wine/isv

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