GNOME VFS and FUSE.
- From: Darren Kenny <Darren Kenny Sun COM>
- To: gnome-vfs-list gnome org
- Subject: GNOME VFS and FUSE.
- Date: Fri, 07 Jul 2006 11:47:19 +0100
I would like to get some discussion going on this topic as it really is a
point of concern for non-Linux users of GNOME...
According to Robert Love the prospect of FUSE replacing GNOME VFS was well
received at GUADEC. I was present, and took part from a Solaris standpoint, in
the discussion about this at Alex's talk about the future of GNOME VFS.
I certainly didn't think that it was well received - more a controversial
change I would think. It seemed to me that there was a split in the room.
OK, some people accepted that it is a possible solution to "legacy"
applications that are not opensource, but also unlikely to ever even consider
the possibility of using GNOME VFS - and I do tend to agree, from this
perspective but not in the way that is being suggested, i.e. to replace GNOME
VFS with FUSE.
I don't see why we should push out a perfectly good GNOME VFS implementation,
with a rich API, to be replaced with a POSIX based file API that would result
in some weird uses of ioctl()s and the like to access meta-information. Not to
mention the kernel context switching that would result from such calls.
I makes more sense to me to fix/address the "concerns" that people have with
the GNOME VFS API - and these mainly seem to be down to complexity - or a
thinking that it's too difficult to use - where does this come from? If it's
really like this, then it seems we need to provide a simple version of the
API for people that need it.
An other issue that was raised was the reliability of GNOME VFS, in that there
was a risk of data-loss - this is surely a bug and should be verifiable
through a thorough test-suite - if it still exists. I would think the most
likely way that there could be a risk of data loss is in the realms of network
based communication - and I can't see how FUSE would be any different here.
Personally, I would prefer to see us move with FUSE layered on top of GNOME
VFS as the solution for the legacy applications - why should GNOME apps have
to suffer a base API like POSIX - which you have to admit is quite likely to
be wrapped in a more "user-friendly" API again, since it'd be so complex to
get simple meta-data or even decent error return codes, and we've back to
where we started with another GNOME VFS later.
I mentioned at GUADEC that there wasn't a FUSE implementation for Solaris - I
was wrong, there is an Open Solaris project that is working on porting it
but given that it's GPL licensed it's highly unlikely that it will be included
as a base Solaris component - and I would think this could be an issue for any
commercial distribution where there are some proprietary elements in it
(specifically anything that is licensed from a 3rd party under non-disclosure
 - http://rlove.org/log/2006070601
 - http://www.opensolaris.org/os/project/fuse/
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