Recent development related to puffs, ReFUSE, rump, and more (Updated)
NetBSD's kernel is under very active development these days, and
while many changes are related to improve SMP, it's not the only area.
An area where very interesting and unique work is being done is the
filesystem interfaces that Antti Kantee is working. Things started
out as a past year's Google "userfs" SoC project to implement an interface
for running filesystem code in userland. The project was imported
into NetBSD some time ago. On top of that, a library that mimics the
Linux interface for filesystems in userland. Following the Linux
name FUSE, the re-implementation is called ReFUSE (pun intended :).
webpage about puffs, refuse, FUSE
on the NetBSD website for more information.
Another project that was started by Antti after his work to
run filesystem code in userland is "rump". The project allows to use
"ordinary" filesystems that usually run inside the kernel, and
mimic an environment similar to what's available inside the kernel,
and move the whole filesystem into userland - verbatime, with
no code changes! This allows to develop filesystem code in userland,
and later on move it inside the kernel with no further changes - a
bit step forward for filesystem development!
This all sounds rather easy, but as filesystems need to move data between
storage and memory, a big issue in filesystems is interfacing with the
virtual memory subsystem, and adding interfaces like puffs and ReFUSE
also needs to consider VM for efficient transfers and caching.
Work in this area is still ongoing, and I've asked Antti about his
recent achievements in this area. While the only user-visible
change is caching and performance improvements in the Secure
Shell filesystem's handler "mount_psshfs", most of the changes
are on the inside. Antti wrote me:
``The interesting ones from a programmer's perspective are probably:
Finally, while not really useful for anything except puffs development,
I think the following is cool from the perspective of completeness:
rump, there are two very interesting and active projects
doing research in filesystems on NetBSD, which may lead to changes in
the way filesystems are understood in the Unix world. While there,
a third project that may be worth watching in this regards is
this year's Google
Summer of Code project by Marek Dopiera, which aims at
implementing Hurd translators for NetBSD,
Antti dropped me a note that another project related to
filesystems is this year's "fs-utils"
SoC project. The goal is to create a userland tool to manipulate filesystem
images, and the idea is to reuse kernel code with the
ukfs library. That way, no redundancy between kernel sources
and userland sources are created, and both areas benefit from mutual
testing and code maturity.
[Tags: filesystem, fuse, google-soc, kernel, puffs, refuse]