A virtual filesystem standard

Alexander Larsson alexl at redhat.com
Thu Sep 18 09:51:14 EEST 2003

On Thu, 2003-09-18 at 02:15, Vincent Wagelaar wrote:
> On Tuesday 09 September 2003 15:50, George Staikos wrote:
> > On Tuesday 09 September 2003 03:29, Alexander Larsson wrote:
> > > On Mon, 2003-09-08 at 16:53, Owen Taylor wrote:
> > > > What would be of extrodinary value, I think, would be a writeup of
> > > >
> > > >  - What works well with KIO
> > > >  - What doesn't work / requires hacks
> > > >  - How it could have been done better
> > > >
> > > > I can try to get someone familiar with gnome-vfs (maybe Alex Larsson)
> > > > to do the same for that.
> > >
> > > Yes, this would be interesting. I'll try to find time to write it up.
> >
> >   Hopefully Waldo and/or David can help and we can do the same.  I think
> > it's quite important to plan this out properly before diving in head-first.
> Maybe another idea...
> For Linux there exist atm two implementations of a virtual filesystem kernel 
> module:
> Lufs (http://lufs.sourceforge.net/lufs/) and 
> Fuse (http://sourceforge.net/projects/avf).
> Wouldn't this be an idea (at least for Linux, don't know if other os's have 
> something similar).
> Instead of using smb:// thumbnails:// ftp://host you would simply map it to: 
> $HOME/vfs/smb and $HOME/vfs/thumbnails $HOME/vfs/ftp/host etc. Or $HOME/
> Desktop. The biggest advantage is that all programs work would work out of 
> the box, instead of requiring yet another library.

There are all sorts of problems with this. Permission issues (need root
to mount), kernel stability issues, no standard async i/o API, not
portable to all unixes, no good way to handle authentication, etc. 

Personally i think kernel handling for this is just a bad idea. Fuse is
not a kernel thing. Its a LD_PRELOAD thing. I'm even more strongly
agains that, since it makes all apps slower (talk to uli about
LD_PRELOAD sometime) and breaks the semantics of real system calls.

 Alexander Larsson                                            Red Hat, Inc 
                   alexl at redhat.com    alla at lysator.liu.se 
He's a time-tossed one-eyed stage actor looking for 'the Big One.' She's an 
orphaned mute bounty hunter with the power to see death. They fight crime! 

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