[linux-elitists] Update--distribution for your mother?

Geoff Lane zzassgl@buffy.sighup.org.uk
Mon Aug 18 12:36:51 PDT 2003

On Mon, Aug 18, 2003 at 11:46:35AM -0700, Greg KH wrote:
> On Sun, Aug 17, 2003 at 08:21:52PM +0100, Geoff Lane wrote:
> > 
> > The Linux kernel is an excellent foundation, but from the filesystem up to
> > the GUI everything must change.  For example, this portable I'm typing on
> > has a 60Gb hard disk.  I don't work on AV projects so that 60Gb will last me
> > 80 years at the rate I generate new data before I would be forced to erase
> > any old data.  Yet no filesystem provided with popular Linux distros can
> > make use of this to provide rollback of files or entire filesystems
> > following user mistakes.  "delete it and it's gone forever" is a lousy
> > design principle for a device to be used by the casual user. A trash can is
> > not a solution because it asks the casual user to understand how all the
> > cogs, belts and chains are related.
> Many people are eagerly awaiting the patches to the existing filesystem
> code from you to implement these "much needed" new features.

Sadly, I very much doubt that any existing filesystem designed for linux
could be patched to provide any kind of efficient roll back facility.  In
fact, I doubt that any such filesystem could be properly posix complient. 
I'll be able to say for sure once I've finished Linux File Systems by Moshe
Bar. Certainly forcing rollback into the current VFS may be tricky. 
However, as we can see in Solaris UFS, it's remarkable what can be done. In
recent years UFS has gained logging and snapshots without breaking

Those of us who have used versioning filesystems (popular 25 odd years ago)
know how useful they can be; equally we know the problems they present when
used with uncooperative applications (such as those that do not, or cannot,
use modify in place policies when updating files.)

Geoff Lane
7 Aug 03 - The day SCO died; just waiting for the body to hit the ground.

More information about the linux-elitists mailing list