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From: Andrey Semashev (andrey.semashev_at_[hidden])
Date: 2021-06-04 15:38:13

On 6/4/21 6:17 PM, Niall Douglas via Boost wrote:
> On 04/06/2021 15:54, Peter Dimov via Boost wrote:
>> Niall Douglas wrote:
>>> On 04/06/2021 13:04, Andrey Semashev via Boost wrote:
>>>> I could add a runtime
>>>> check, but I definitely don't want that check to happen on every call.
>>>> This means the result must be stored globally in a thread-safe manner.
>>> At work we've got llfio::stat_t::fill() being called in some places millions of
>>> times per second.
>>> It is implemented by attempting statx first, and if it is not supported, then stat
>>> or other syscalls to emulate the same.
>>> You cannot cache statx support/non-support because only some filing systems
>>> support statx, and others do not. So depending on the path used, it may work,
>>> but at other times, not.
>>> Right now at work we're on kernels which don't support statx, so we are
>>> always getting back ENOSYS and then falling back to emulation. We have not
>>> found any performance issues.
>> A kernel call is infinitely more expensive than checking a number against
>> ENOSYS. It's absolutely impossible for the test to ever be a performance issue.
> Well, that depends.
> If you're on a kernel that has no statx syscall, then the userspace
> syscall dispatcher will spot the unknown syscall number, and you'll get
> back ENOSYS very quickly, as you point out.
> But if you're on a kernel with statx syscall, and instead it is the
> filing system which doesn't support statx, then that's a full fat
> syscall just to get back ENOSYS.

Kernel should not return ENOSYS for a syscall that is implemented. This
error code is reserved for this specific purpose. What you should get is
probably ENOTSUP or EINVAL. Are you sure you're getting specifically ENOSYS?

> I don't personally think anyone who cares about metadata retrieval
> performance would ever use Filesystem or std::filesystem because both
> tend to do dynamic memory allocations, which easily swamp a statx call.
> So, in that sense, even many syscalls can be done and it'll be
> unmeasurable compared to say a filesystem path construction.
> If this were Windows, because Filesystem calls many Win32 functions to
> build a stat, that is a very different situation. But not on POSIX.

Boost.Filesystem doesn't implement stat, it uses it as a means to
implement other, more fine grained operations. On Windows, these
operations tend to be implemented with a single WinAPI call, in some
cases with a pair open/close file handle calls.

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