[Gluster-devel] regressions due to 64-bit ext4 directory cookies

J. Bruce Fields bfields at fieldses.org
Wed Feb 13 22:41:41 UTC 2013

On Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 05:20:52PM -0500, Theodore Ts'o wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 01:21:06PM -0800, Anand Avati wrote:
> > 
> > NFS uses the term cookies, while man pages of readdir/seekdir/telldir calls
> > them "offsets". 
> Unfortunately, telldir and seekdir are part of the "unspeakable Unix
> design horrors" which has been with us for 25+ years.  To quote from
> the rationale section from the Single Unix Specification v3 (there is
> similar language in the Posix spec).
>     The original standard developers perceived that there were
>     restrictions on the use of the seekdir() and telldir() functions
>     related to implementation details, and for that reason these
>     functions need not be supported on all POSIX-conforming
>     systems. They are required on implementations supporting the XSI
>     extension.
>     One of the perceived problems of implementation is that returning
>     to a given point in a directory is quite difficult to describe
>     formally, in spite of its intuitive appeal, when systems that use
>     B-trees, hashing functions, or other similar mechanisms to order
>     their directories are considered. The definition of seekdir() and
>     telldir() does not specify whether, when using these interfaces, a
>     given directory entry will be seen at all, or more than once.
>     On systems not supporting these functions, their capability can
>     sometimes be accomplished by saving a filename found by readdir()
>     and later using rewinddir() and a loop on readdir() to relocate
>     the position from which the filename was saved.
> Telldir() and seekdir() are basically implementation horrors for any
> file system that is using anything other than a simple array of
> directory entries ala the V7 Unix file system or the BSD FFS.  For any
> file system which is using a more advanced data structure, like
> b-trees hash trees, etc, there **can't** possibly be a "offset" into a
> readdir stream.  This is why ext3/ext4 uses a telldir cookie, and it's
> why the NFS specifications refer to it as a cookie.  If you are using
> a modern file system, it can't possibly be an offset.
> > You can always say "this is your fault" for interpreting the man pages
> > differently and punish us by leaving things as they are (and unfortunately
> > a big chunk of users who want both ext4 and gluster jeapordized). Or you
> > can be kind, generous and be considerate to the legacy apps and users (of
> > which gluster is only a subset) and only provide a mount option to control
> > the large d_off behavior.
> The problem is that we made this change to fix real problems that take
> place when you have hash collisions.  And if you are using a 31-bit
> cookie, the birthday paradox means that by the time you have a
> directory with 2**16 entries, the chances of hash collisions are very
> real.  This could result in NFS readdir getting stuck in loops where
> it constantly gets the file "foo.c", and then when it passes the
> 31-bit cookie for "bar.c", since there is a hash collision, it gets
> "foo.c" again, and the readdir never terminates.
> So the problem is that you are effectively asking me to penalize
> well-behaved programs that don't try to steel bits from the top of the
> telldir cookie, just for the benefit of gluster.
> What if we have an ioctl or a process personality flag where a broken
> application can tell the file system "I'm broken, please give me a
> degraded telldir/seekdir cookie"?  That way we don't penalize programs
> that are doing the right thing, while providing some accomodation for
> programs who are abusing the telldir cookie.

Yeah, if there's a simple way to do that, maybe it would be worth it.


More information about the Gluster-devel mailing list