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Re: [PATCH v2 2/2] manual/llio.texi: update manual to document file-private locks

On Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:37:53 +0200
Michael Kerrisk <> wrote:

> Jeff, (and Carlos)
> > On Sat, 12 Apr 2014 12:52:33 -0400
> > "Carlos O'Donell" <> wrote:
> [...]
> >> OT: Why is it F_*LKP? What does the "P" part of "LKP" mean?
> That does not strike me as OT at all. The existing byte-range locking
> system has persisted (despite egregious faults) for well over two
> decades. One supposes that Jeff's new improved version might be around
> at least as long. With that in mind, and before setting in stone (and
> pushing into POSIX) a model of thinking that thousands of programmers
> will live with for a long time, it's worth thinking about names.
> > Sorry, forgot to answer this:
> >
> > "P" is for "Private". What can I say...I suck at naming things, and no
> > one else proposed anything better. It's not too late to change that if
> > you can come up with a better moniker, but we'd need to move fast
> > before v3.15 ships.
> I agree on the "suck" bit ;-). Carlos nailed it when he referred to
> traditional byte-range locks as being "process-associated". That is
> the distinction between these two two locking APIs: one associates
> locks with the process, the other associates them with a file handle.
> The terminology should reflect that difference.
> From that perspective, the word "private" here makes no sense at all.
> What does "private" mean in this context? (By their very definition,
> file locks are not private--they're something that is visible between
> processes.) Some thought should be given to fixing that name, now, so
> that we have better terminology for the coming decades ;-).
> I would at the least suggest renaming these locks to something like:
>     file-associated locks

That might be ok.

> or
>    file-handle locks

I'd avoid this. "File handle" has certain connotations in context of
NFS, and other (completely different) connotations in other situations.

> or (using POSIX terminology)
>     file-description locks
> but that last might be a bit confusing.

Again, somewhat confusing since they aren't tied to the file-descriptor
per-se. Consider interactions with dup(), for instance.

> With some thought, you might also come up with an even better name.
> But, I think *all* of the above alternatives are better than
> "file-private locks".

Another possibility is file-owned locks. That's really
closer to how the model works inside the kernel anyway. We have an
opaque "owner" of the file (an unsigned long basically). Process
associated locks use a pointer to the file descriptor table there.
File-private locks (or whatever we want to call them) use a pointer to
the "struct file".

> Please consider moving to one of those pieces of terminology, or a
> better one of your own creation. Note that also implies that the names
> of the constants should probably change. (Already, I found the
> spelling of F_SETLKPW a little strange, since I expected F_SETLKWP.)
> For example, if you went with the "file handle" terminology, then
> something like:
> That also has the advantage of making the new constants more visually
> distinctive in code. (I could easily see someone accidentally omitting
> the "P" in F_SETLKP, and it would not be immediately obvious at a
> casual scan.)

Where were these comments over the last several months? :)

It would have been better to do this before the v3.15 merge window. As
it stands now, I think we can reasonably get the public facing
interface changed as long as we do it in time for v3.15. I'd need to do
some cleanup of the internal naming for v3.16 to make it all
consistent, but that's doable.

Given my track record on naming things, I don't really trust myself to
do this well, so you tell me...what's the ideal name and set of
constants here?

Jeff Layton <>

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