I was just thinking about translucent filesystems and userspace filesystems (the subject of another article in today's lwn kernel section). How about using a translucent filesystem to give unprivileged users "root" access? What I mean is, mount "/" as a read-only base filesystem for these users, but allow them to overlay changes (that would only be visible by them) through a mechanism like mini_fo. This would be one way to (safely?) let unprivileged users install new software, without requiring any changes in the way the software is packaged.
The first problem that occurs to me is that the root filesystem isn't really static. Can mini_fo deal with changes in the underlying filesystem?
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