|| ||Andreas Gruenbacher <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|| ||[patch 0/3] [RFC] NFSv4 ACLs on ext3|
|| ||Wed, 06 Sep 2006 17:14:38 +0200|
I would like to propose the following patches, which implement NFSv4 Access
Control Lists on Ext3 filesystems:
[patch 1/3] Pass MAY_APPEND through to permission inode operations
that understand it
[patch 2/3] Add match_string() for mount option parsing
[patch 3/3] NFSv4 ACLs on ext3
The kernel patches and the nfs4acl user-space utility are hosted here,
together with an extensive design document, and small bits of user
Linux currently supports POSIX (draft) ACLs . The NFSv4 protocol defines
its own Access Control List model, which is more powerful but incompatible
with POSIX ACLs, and close to the CIFS (Windows) ACL model.
This leads to problems both for Samba/CIFS and NFSv4, which need to map
between NFSv4 ACLs and POSIX ACLs. A perfect mapping between the two models
is not possible, and information will always be lost along the way. One of
the results is that users are confronted with awkward behavior.
POSIX ACLs are not the only ACL model which can be implemented in a POSIX 
compliant way: NFSv4 ACLs can also be extended to offer perfect POSIX
The implementation allows to choose which ACL model to use on a per-filesystem
basis. This allows administrators to enable NFSv4 ACLs on a part or all of
the filesystem hierarchy. As long as NFSv4 ACLs are not used, the filesystem
will have the traditional POSIX file permission behavior.
My high-level goal for this project is to make Linux a much better file server
in UNIX, Windows, and mixed environments. This will take away the excuses why
Linux cannot be used as the server platform of choice even with lots of
Windows clients. It will allow POSIX applications to be used for automating
things in the traditional UNIX way, even for Windows clients, which is one of
the areas where UNIX truly excels.
* POSIX applications will experience perfect POSIX semantics on an NFSv4
enabled file system when interacting with other POSIX applications.
* NFSv4 applications (NFSv4, CIFS, Samba) will experience perfect NFSv4 ACL
semantics when interacting with other NFSv4 applications.
* The losses in interactions between POSIX and NFSv4 applications are kept to
a minimum, without exposing "weird" file permission bits or NFSv4 ACLs to
* In a POSIX + CIFS / NFSv4 environment, a lot less complicated mapping
between two different ACL models will be necessary, which will lead to
fewer losses and less awkward behavior.
* With native NFSv4 ACLs, Linux will become much better suited as a file
server in multi-protocol environments. POSIX and NFSv4 ACLs are fully
integrated, so even alternating accesses to data from multiple platforms
will become much less painful.
* User-space that is aware of ACLs will be confronted with two different ACL
models and may want to map between the two in some cases, so mapping
between NFSv4 ACLs and POSIX ACLs will not go away completely. Note that we
already have this problem with the NFSv4 client, which already exposes
NFSv4 ACLs to user-space.
* The NFSv4 daemon will likely also continue to map NFSv4 ACLs to POSIX ACLs
as best as it can for compatibility with POSIX ACL filesystems. Ideally,
this mapping would go away at least from the kernel, but as long as
compatibility with POSIX ACL filesystems is a goal, it can't.
* The kernel patches currently only support NFSv4 ACLs on Ext3.
* As of the time of this writing, Samba does not include native NFSv4 ACL
support. From what I have heard, the Samba team is supporting the native
NFSv4 ACL effort though, so this is expected to change soon.
* NFSv4 protocol support for native NFSv4 ACLs has not been implemented,
yet. The POSIX ACL <=> NFSv4 ACL mapping code in version 4 of nfsd is
based on different data structures for storing ACLs. Hooking NFSv4 ACLs
up to the NFSv4 client and server shouldn't be much work, but fully
integrating the two will be a little more difficult.
* While NFSv4 ACLs support permissions such as WRITE_ACL and WRITE_OWNER, the
VFS does not ask filesystems whether a process is allowed such accesses.
Instead, it asks filesystems in terms of MAY_READ, MAY_WRITE, MAY_APPEND,
and MAY_EXEC. Therefore, filesystems cannot allow processes such
permissions at the moment. This could be fixed, but even without extending
the VFS, native NFSv4 ACLs already offer much better interoperability with
NFSv4 and CIFS than POSIX ACLs do.
 IEEE 1003.1e Draft 17: Draft Standard for Information Technology -
Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) - System Application Program
Interface, October 1997. http://wt.xpilot.org/publications/posix.1e/
 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, "Information
Technology - Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX)", IEEE Standard
1003.1, December 2004. http://www.unix.org/version3/
Andreas Gruenbacher <email@example.com>
SUSE Labs, SUSE LINUX Products GmbH / Novell Inc.