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Read-write tarfs

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Read-write tarfs
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 11:14:00 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i


An "alpha version" of a read-write tar filesystem is available at [1].  It
can be used to "mount" almost any tar file, even compressed tar files.  If
you think typing "tar czvf file.tar.gz all my files" is too old-fashioned,
you can even use it to create new tar files:

  $ settrans -ca new /hurd/tarfs -cz newfile.tar.gz
  $ cp -r all my files  new/
  $ syncfs new

Well, doing so is not really more efficient, but it's different at least. ;)
In theory, it could also be used to compile a program without having to
actually unpack it:

  $ settrans -ca chbouib /hurd/tarfs -j --volatile chbouib-0.1.tar.bz2
  $ cd chbouib
  $ ./configure && make && cd .. && settrans -g tmp

However, since gcc uses mmap () and since tarfs does not implement
netfs_S_io_map, that doesn't work.

It uses a gzip and a bzip2 stores, ie. libstore modules that can be used
to transparently read and write gzip/bzip2 files, which were implemented
using zlib and libbz2.

A very basic test suite (shell script) is included in the tarball.
However, tarfs *really* needs more testing.  I would also be glad to get
some feedback about the code itself (caching, for instance, could probably
be implemented in a better way).

I think it would be nice to make tarfs part of the GNU tar package which is
probably the best place for it.  On non-Hurd based systems, the 'configure'
script could simply disable its compilation.



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