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Re: Patch to build filesystems as modules ...

From: Timshel Knoll
Subject: Re: Patch to build filesystems as modules ...
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 02:39:27 +1100
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.27i

On Wed, Mar 13, 2002 at 11:36:48AM +1100, Andrew Clausen wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 11, 2002 at 01:07:37AM +1100, Timshel Knoll wrote:
> > I've done some hacking to make filesystems build as modules.
> RMS convinced me this is a bad idea, since it isn't clear
> if the GPL is enforcable in this situation.

Why not? Is this to do with the specific text (or lack thereof) of the
GPL? If so, you could explicitly say that non-free module linking is not
allowed, then people will legally have to follow that. Also, surely RMS
has the power to add this point in the GPL, and release GPLv2.1 ... is
there a reason why he shouldn't do this?

> In practice, I think the plugin idea is really a band-aid
> to the real problem: that parted contains file system code at all.
> (It should be in libe2fsprogs & friends)
> I think it's better to attack the latter problem.  Yura Umanets
> has been doing some good stuff here, by experimenting with
> reiserfsprogs :)

I agree that FS libraries are the way to go, but realistically, how soon
is this going to happen? The ext2/3 code in parted 1.4 compiles to
just over 64k, the fat code to ~ 75k. Parted 1.6 versions are slightly
smaller (61k and 73k). With only these two "major" supported
filesystems, having stuff all together is fine, but if people start
implementing new fs code (reiser is already done, isn't it?), then we
could have a large amount of unnecessary bloat on our hands. libdl on
linux is 9k, so it is much more efficient to have libparted link with
libdl and install the needed filesystem modules than have all the
filesystems compiled into libparted itself.

Also, with the issue of getting code into the filesystem libraries, is
directly dynamically linking with these libraries a good idea? I'm just
imagining a parted dynamically linked with libreiserfs, libext2, libxfs,
libntfs, libufs, liblinux-swap and libfat. Now that would be a _huge_
amount of cruft that would have to be installed just to get libparted
working. At some stage you're going to need a dynamic run-time loading
interface to these libraries. Modules will not be required in this
situation, because the library stubs will be in libparted itself, and
will be tiny. Will this have the same issues as the GPL currently has
with modules? 

I'll leave you with that :-)



   Timshel Knoll <address@hidden>  for Debian email: <address@hidden>
      Debian GNU/Linux developer, see http://people.debian.org/~timshel/
                For GnuPG public key: finger address@hidden

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