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RFC-0156: Stream Append Mode

RFC-0156: Stream Append Mode
StatusAccepted
Areas
  • Kernel
Description

Add an append mode to streams.

Issues
Gerrit change
Authors
Reviewers
Date submitted (year-month-day)2022-04-06
Date reviewed (year-month-day)2022-04-20

Summary

This RFC proposes modifying the stream API by adding an append mode to streams and removing the append option from zx_stream_writev.

Motivation

The stream append option, ZX_STREAM_APPEND, is currently only used in the C++ VFS for implementing fuchsia.io/File.Write for memfs. All of the memfs streams live on the server side of the FIDL connection where the append mode of the connection is known. Accessing the append mode to optionally pass ZX_STREAM_APPEND to each zx_stream_writev call works for this specific situation.

With the implementation of writeback for userspace pagers, streams can be sent to the client side of the FIDL connection to significantly increase IO performance. Moving streams to the client side, with the current stream API, will require fdio to keep track of the append mode of the connection.

Design

Overview

The goal of this design is to avoid keeping track of the append mode in fdio and bring the stream API more inline with POSIX.

The stream API is very similar to reading, writing, and seeking a file in POSIX, with the exception of how appends are handled. In POSIX a file can be opened in append mode by passing O_APPEND to open. All POSIX write calls to a file in append mode behave similarly to zx_stream_writev with the ZX_STREAM_APPEND option.

Adding an append mode to streams will avoid fdio storing the append mode and be more inline with POSIX. With this addition, the ZX_STREAM_APPEND option for zx_stream_writev is no longer necessary.

API Changes

This RFC consists of 3 API changes:

  1. A new option for zx_stream_create named, ZX_STREAM_MODE_APPEND, will be added. A stream created with ZX_STREAM_MODE_APPEND will be placed in append mode. All zx_stream_writev calls to a stream in append mode will behave as if ZX_STREAM_APPEND was passed to the zx_stream_writev call.

  2. A new property named ZX_PROP_STREAM_MODE_APPEND will be added. This property is necessary for fdio to implement fcntl with F_SETFL and O_APPEND.

    • ZX_PROP_STREAM_MODE_APPEND will have a value type of uint8_t.
    • Calling zx_object_set_property with ZX_PROP_STREAM_MODE_APPEND and a value of 0 will take a stream out of append mode.
    • Calling zx_object_set_property with ZX_PROP_STREAM_MODE_APPEND and any value other than 0 will put a stream into append mode.
    • For zx_object_get_property calls with ZX_PROP_STREAM_MODE_APPEND the property will have a value of 1 if the stream is in append and a value of 0 if the stream is not in append mode.
  3. The ZX_STREAM_APPEND option for zx_stream_writev will be removed.

Implementation

This RFC will be implemented in 3 Gerrit changes:

  1. Add ZX_STREAM_MODE_APPEND and ZX_PROP_STREAM_MODE_APPEND to the stream API.

  2. Migrate the C++ VFS from ZX_STREAM_APPEND to ZX_STREAM_MODE_APPEND and ZX_PROP_STREAM_MODE_APPEND

  3. Remove the ZX_STREAM_APPEND option from the stream API.

Performance

This proposal should have no performance impact.

Ergonomics

Storing the append mode inside of the stream brings the stream API inline with fuchsia.io/Directory.Open and open which developers will already be familiar with.

Security considerations

None.

Privacy considerations

None.

Testing

Core tests will be written to exercise the new API including tests with multiple threads.

The existing fs_test suite used by memfs already includes append related tests which should catch any potential regressions during the migration.

Documentation

The Zircon stream documentation will be updated with the changes to the API.

Drawbacks, alternatives, and unknowns

Alternative: Store the append mode in fdio

Store the append mode of the connection directly in fdio and use the stream API as is.

Storing the append mode in the stream is preferred because it matches how appends work in POSIX.

Alternative: Keep ZX_STREAM_APPEND for zx_stream_writev

Filesystems that support streams will typically implement fuchsia.io/File.Read, Write, and Seek by dispatching the requests to a stream internally. Each connection already keeps track of its append mode for responding to GetFlags requests which makes using ZX_STREAM_APPEND with zx_stream_writev convenient.

Removing ZX_STREAM_APPEND forces the filesystem to keep the append mode of the connection and the append mode of the stream in sync, which is not difficult. Reducing the API surface area and matching POSIX is preferred over keeping ZX_STREAM_APPEND.

Prior art and references

zx_stream_create with ZX_STREAM_MODE_APPEND is similar to open with O_APPEND from POSIX.

zx_object_set_property with ZX_PROP_STREAM_MODE_APPEND is similar to fcntl with F_SETFL and O_APPEND from POSIX.