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Re: booting btrfs

From: Andrey Borzenkov
Subject: Re: booting btrfs
Date: Sat, 21 Dec 2013 11:18:33 +0400

В Fri, 20 Dec 2013 21:38:47 -0700
Chris Murphy <address@hidden> пишет:

> On Dec 20, 2013, at 7:54 AM, Michael Chang <address@hidden> wrote:
> >> Every volume has a name, even if you don't know it. Use grub-mkrelpath
> >> to find out.
> > 
> > That means we need to modify the grub,cfg in snapshot to make files
> > used by config refer to new path output by grub-mkrelpath (relative to
> > real root), right ? That could be difficult to manage especially if
> > you have a lot of snapshots and the update takes time to finish.
> This isn't just a problem for core.img looking for the wrong grub.cfg for a 
> /boot on Btrfs subvolume snapshot. It's a problem for that grub.cfg pointing 
> to the wrong root snapshot. And it's a problem for the /etc/fstab on that 
> root snapshot, which is likewise incorrect and will be asking for the wrong 
> subvolumes to be mounted.
> I really don't think snapshot management is GRUB's job. I think all of this 
> snapshot management is a userspace tool, and it's going to have to figure out 
> a way to deal with this.

Yes I completely agree here. Expecting to be able to boot from pure
btrfs snapshot is naïve. Michael, here is what openSUSE does by default
when you tell it to use btrfs:

linux-dwhw:~ # btrfs subvolume list /
ID 256 gen 47 top level 5 path boot/grub2/i386-pc
ID 258 gen 18 top level 5 path home
ID 259 gen 18 top level 5 path opt
ID 260 gen 18 top level 5 path srv
ID 261 gen 65 top level 5 path tmp
ID 262 gen 52 top level 5 path usr/local
ID 263 gen 18 top level 5 path var/crash
ID 264 gen 67 top level 5 path var/log
ID 265 gen 18 top level 5 path var/opt
ID 266 gen 62 top level 5 path var/spool
ID 267 gen 57 top level 5 path var/tmp
ID 269 gen 59 top level 5 path .snapshots
ID 270 gen 58 top level 5 path .snapshots/1/snapshot
ID 271 gen 78 top level 5 path test
linux-dwhw:~ # grep btrfs /proc/self/mountinfo
21 1 0:17 / / rw,relatime shared:1 - btrfs /dev/sda2 rw,space_cache

"test" is snapshot of / which I set as default and am currently booted
with it.

linux-dwhw:~ # btrfs subvolume get-default /
ID 271 gen 78 top level 5 path test

And if I now try to access any other subvolumes ...

linux-dwhw:~ # ls -l /boot/grub2/i386-pc/
total 0
linux-dwhw:~ # touch /boot/grub2/i386-pc/x
touch: cannot touch ‘/boot/grub2/i386-pc/x’: Permission denied
linux-dwhw:~ # ls -l /var/spool
total 0
linux-dwhw:~ # touch /var/spool/x
touch: cannot touch ‘/var/spool/x’: Permission denied
linux-dwhw:~ # ls -l /var/log
total 0
linux-dwhw:~ # touch /var/log/x
touch: cannot touch ‘/var/log/x’: Permission denied

So booting from this snapshot is rather useless.

The point here is - creating of fully functional alternate boot
environment involves a bit more than single "btrfs subvolume snapshot"
invocation. Adding "grub-mkconfig" (or even grub-mkimage to record
correct prefix) is really just the minor part of it.

> And probably the simplest solution in the short term is for this user
> space tool to rename the subvolumes. So e.g. subvolumes:
> boot
> root
> home
> And their read only snapshots:
> boot_ro.1
> boot_ro.2
> root_ro.1
> root_ro.2
> home_ro.1
> home_ro.2
> The user uses a tool to indicate they now want to boot "the most recent 
> snapshot", and the tool does:
> mv boot boot_ro.0
> mv root root_ro.0
> mv home home_ro.0
> btrfs subvol snapshot boot_ro.1 boot
> btrfs subvol snapshot root_ro.1 root
> btrfs subvol snapshot home_ro.1 root

Do you need to reinvent the wheel?


The only thing you need to do to switch is equivalent of "btrfs
set-default /Boot-Environments/Boot_Envirnment_2 ... except it is
not that straightforward in current btrfs because path names are
resolved relative to current root :)

> The lack of -r makes the snapshots rw, the file system metadata contains 
> relationship information: each snapshot has a uuid, and a parent uuid. And 
> the parent contains information about each snapshot made of it. But all of 
> this is domain of the snapshot tool. That's a lot easier than having to go 
> find fstab, grub.cfg, and figure out how to get core.img to know what boot 
> subvolume was intended, etc.
> > Compare to use path relative to snapshot's fs root, we can leave the
> > grub.cfg in snapshot unmodified and by setting snapshot id or name in
> > a master config to switch the snapshot we want to boot. That will make
> > things a lot easier.

Michael, snapshot of *what*? Whatever means you will use (set-default,
environment variable, mount options) can set only one single property
- root of filesystem. You *STILL* need to describe relationships
between different (snapshots of) multiple subvolumes. I.e. *which*
snapshot of /boot/grub2/i386-pc are you going to access?

Having grub to always use full pathnames makes it unambiguous. Otherwise
it is unmanageable on grub level (*any* directory you access may
potentially have multiple versions). This must really be solved on OS
level by either

- mandating single subvolume for your snapshottable OS, or
- adding support to grafting individual subvolumes inside of btrfs.
  Normal mount will not solve this on bootloader level

> That sounds something like the Bootloaderspec, which I like in principle in 
> that it recognizes how hostile the distributions are at breaking the boot 
> behavior of the prior OS, in multiboot contexts. But there's some other 
> things that just don't seem workable, and it's also not even adopted upstream 
> yet by GRUB and I don't know what the status of this whole idea is.
> I think the idea of snapshots in the domain of a boot manager/boot loader is 
> really overly complicated. For another thing, it's not really appropriate to 
> do a rollback and then immediately start modifying it by booting from it. 
> What you'd want to do is snapshot the rollback, and then use that "cloned" 
> copy of the rollback, leaving the original rollback in place. Otherwise the 
> provenance of that <inserttime> snapshot is obliterated.
> And with all of these snapshots being created, something to clean up all 
> these bouquets is necessary. Do we really want GRUB doing that also? I just 
> this this is out of scope for GRUB.
> An FHS for Btrfs installation locations and shapshot behaviors is possibly 
> needed, so the distributions aren't stepping all over each other in an even 
> worse way that booting already is.
> Chris Murphy
> _______________________________________________
> Grub-devel mailing list
> address@hidden

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