One nice property about this solution is that reads being writes are now explicit and if disk runs out read isn't going to fail but the failure mode can be implemented in the watching daemon.
Potentially you could take the dconf like design where a convenient atime API is provided such that atime can be read synchronously by mapping the atime "database" into the process that is reading it read-only whereas the atimed process would be the only process with write access to this file.
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