[RFC,0/4] vfs: map unique ino/dev pairs for user space
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Message ID 20180731211045.5671-1-mfasheh@suse.de
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  • vfs: map unique ino/dev pairs for user space
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Mark Fasheh July 31, 2018, 9:10 p.m. UTC
Hi,

These patches are follow-up to this conversation on fsdevel which provides a
good break-down of the core problem:

https://www.spinics.net/lists/linux-fsdevel/msg128003.html

That e-mail was in turn a follow-up to the following patch series:

https://lwn.net/Articles/753917/

which tried to solve the dev portion of this problem with a bit of structure
re-routing but was never accepted.


We have an inconsistency in how the kernel is exporting inode number /
device pairs for user space.  I'm not talking about stat(2) or statx(2) here
but everywhere else where an ino/dev is exported into a buffer for user
space.

We typically do this by simply dumping the potentially 32 bit inode->i_ino
and single device from super->s_dev.  Sometimes these values differ from
what is returned via stat(2) or statx(2).  Some filesystems might even show
duplicate (but internally different!) pairs when the raw i_ino/s_dev is
used.

Aside from breaking software which expects these pairs to be unique, this
can put the user in a situation where they might not be able to find an
inode referenced from some kernel log (be it /proc/, printk buffer, etc). 
What's even worse - depending on how ino is exported, they might even find
an existing but /wrong/ file.

The following patches fix these inconsistencies by introducing a VFS helper
function which calls the underlying filesystem ->getattr to get our real
inode number / device pair.  The returned values can then be used at those
places in the kernel where we are incorrectly reporting our ino/dev pair. 
We then update fs/proc/ and fs/locks.c to use this helper when writing to
/proc/PID/maps and /proc/locks respectively.


For anyone who is watching the evolution of these patches, this would be one
implementation of the 'callback' method which I discussed in my last e-mail. 
This approach is very straight forward and easy to understand but has some
drawbacks:

- Not all of the call sites can tolerate errors.  Instead, we fallback to
  inode->i_ino and super->s_dev in case of getattr error.  That behavior is
  no worse than what we have today but what we have today is pretty bad so I
  don't particularly feel good about that. It's better than nothing though.

- There are places in the kernel where we could never call into ->getattr. 
  There are tons of tracepoints for example that are printing the the wrong
  ino/dev pair.

- The helper function has to fake a path struct because getting a vfsmount
  from inside these call sites is impossible.  This isn't actually a big
  deal as nobody except NFS cares and the NFS patch is very trivial.  It's
  ugly though, so if we had consensus on this approach I would happily
  rework our ->getattr function signature, perhaps pulling the vfsmount and
  dentry arguments back out.

- The dentry argument to ->getattr is potentially problematic as we have
  some places which _only_ have an inode. Even if we had a dentry I'm not
  sure what would keep it from going negative while in the middle of our
  ->getattr call.


Comments and review would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
	--Mark
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Comments

J. R. Okajima Aug. 2, 2018, 12:24 a.m. UTC | #1
Mark Fasheh:
> The following patches fix these inconsistencies by introducing a VFS helper
> function which calls the underlying filesystem ->getattr to get our real
> inode number / device pair.  The returned values can then be used at those
> places in the kernel where we are incorrectly reporting our ino/dev pair. 
> We then update fs/proc/ and fs/locks.c to use this helper when writing to
> /proc/PID/maps and /proc/locks respectively.

I definitly agree that ino/dev pair should be a unique identity on the
system.  But I don't know why you are tryng to solve the problem in
generic VFS layer instead of the problematic FS.  Isn't it an
unnecessary overhead for many FS?
How about creating a new f_op member ->get_ino_dev(), ->show_identity()
or something, and implement the new f_op in the problematic FS only?
I hope it will be a lighter way to get the pair than generic getattr
way.


J. R. Okajima
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