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Re: [ANNOUNCE, DISCUSS] xfsprogs: libxfs-4.1-update branch created

To: Dave Chinner <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [ANNOUNCE, DISCUSS] xfsprogs: libxfs-4.1-update branch created
From: Brian Foster <bfoster@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 11 May 2015 08:39:18 -0400
Cc: xfs@xxxxxxxxxxx
Delivered-to: xfs@xxxxxxxxxxx
In-reply-to: <20150511000508.GD16689@dastard>
References: <20150511000508.GD16689@dastard>
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.23 (2014-03-12)
On Mon, May 11, 2015 at 10:05:08AM +1000, Dave Chinner wrote:
> Hi folks,
> I' ve just added a branch to the xfsprogs repository on kernel.org
> that is up to date with the current 4.1-rc2 kernel code. It's smoke
> tested, so I don't think there's any major problems with it. Can
> everyone with development patches (i.e. things that change on disk
> formats) for xfsprogs please rebase their work against this branch,
> retest and repost? This branch will end up being the 3.3 release
> tree...
> FWIW, now that I've done this update, I'm considered how we keep
> this up to date in future. Keeping the userspace code up to date and
> working with all the internal kernel API changes takes quite a bit
> of effort and that currently is all being done by the Maintainer.
> i.e. me. This is the reason that userspace is not updated
> frequently.
> With this update, libxfs in the kernel and userspace are mostly
> identical, so I'm thinking that a new rule for XFS developers needs
> to be put in place: if you modify a libxfs kernel API, then you need
> to make the same change to userspace. This means all the changes
> needed for xfs_repair, xfs_db, etc, need to be done as well, because
> sometimes these things are non-trivial.
> A good example of this is Christoph's xfs_trans_commit() patchset.
> There's 42 xfs_trans_commit() calls in userspace and it has a
> completely different implementation in userspace. To put that in
> context, there are 61 xfs_trans_commit() in the kernel code. If I
> merge that changeset into the kernel code, then Christoph walks away
> and it has become the Maintainer's problem to make userspace work
> with the API change.
> This *sucks* from a maintainer's POV - - it simply does not scale.
> This is one of the reasons why my productivity as an XFS developer
> has cratered over the last year. This userspace update work needs to
> be distributed over the developers making the API and functionality
> changes, so I'm throwing this out there to see what people think
> about solving this problem.
> I'm thinking that we need a userspace dev branch similar to the
> for-next branch for the kernel code, where we aggregate topic
> branches that contain each set of userspace patches that add/change
> functionality that is shared with the kernel. If the developer
> hasn't done the work to update userspace and test the changes there,
> then the change is incomplete.
> Note that I'm only suggesting this for the main XFS developers
> making internal API or on-disk format changes to XFS - the typical
> drive-by patches and bug fixes from random people we commit to the
> kernel code will still need the maintainer to push them across to
> userspace.
> This will make my life easier from both an update and maintenance
> point of view, and will make it easier for us as developers to get
> the latest dev code faster. It will also make porting kernel changes
> over to userspace faster, as the patches will mostly apply cleanly
> to the userspace libxfs code base. And if it gets merged quicker,
> tehn we'll get better test coverage of the dev tree because we'll be
> testing it sooner. And as developers, we won't have to be working
> out what changed and needs forward porting from the kernel to
> userspace to make stuff work....
> So, what do the people I'm asking to do more work so I don't have
> to spend so much time on time consuming maintenance tasks think?

This seems reasonable to me. As it is, I'd expect to do this anyways for
anything that changes on-disk format. Such a change isn't really
complete if mkfs/xfs_repair/xfs_db can't handle it appropriately.
Provided we keep the development branch up to date, I don't see much
harm in extending that to libxfs API level changes as well.

What's the proposition with regard to submission/review process? I don't
think we necessarily need the userspace bits until there is some review
feedback on the kernel bits because that just increases development and
review overhead (though nothing precludes posting both, of course). Also
(and I think we discussed this briefly at LSF), I assume it is
reasonable to condense a kernel patch series to a single userspace "sync
XYZ feature to xfsprogs" patch for the bits that port directly over,
since we have the kernel git log for finer grained history..? Case in
point: I could squash the sparse inode kernel patches into a single
xfsprogs patch. The functional xfsprogs bits on top of that (e.g., mkfs,
repair, etc.) would of course remain as independent patches that require
indepenent review.

Something to note here is that I think this might warrant a bit more
positive feedback with regard to when things are considered reviewed on
the kernel side (i.e., merge is imminent). Perhaps we could create the
kernel topic branch but not merge it until the userspace bits are
available..? Just a thought, whatever works best for you is probably
fine provided the developer is made clear where things stand.


> Cheers,
> Dave.
> -- 
> Dave Chinner
> david@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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