The Filesystem Failed. Part I: introduction

The Filesystem (I’ll consider the Linux VFS as an example) has failed:

  • Database storage is implemented on top of the Filesystem, because the Filesystem is incapable of serving the needs of relational storage.
  • Metadata is stored inside files in many different formats which can only be guessed by clumsy ‘magic’ in the headers. This forces many media player and desktop search application to duplicate tag information in their own databases. Each of them has only limited support for each of the many different formats.
  • More and more device and service abstractions are moving from the Filesystem to seperate namespaces, because the Filesystem’s API is inadequate. Take for instance oss which used /dev/dsp, whereas alsa uses its own. Many new abstractions don’t even go near the filesystem anymore, for instance kevents, futexes, networking, dbus and hal.
  • Small files are stored in (compressed) packs and archives because the Filesystem can’t handle them. This happens with for instance your mailbox.

The problem comes down to fragmentation of data and metadata in too many namespaces because the Filesystem doesn’t seem to be an adequate one.

In a series of posts I’ll look at the possibilities to create one unified filesystem.

Watermarking media

It seems the new trend of the music industry against piracy is watermarking movies/audio/etc.

Content is water-marked by adding very small (unnoticeable) changes that could store something like a rsa based certificate to identify a given audiotrack.

Originally I thought they’d use it to track down the source of an illegal download. It sounds illogical to me because it’s hard to keep watermarks when format is changed (mp3, ogg and others really do mess up slight unnoticeable differences because otherwise they wouldn’t compress as good). And when someone has got two versions of the same audiotrack one can compare them and find out how something is watermarked.

Maybe the scheme of the industry isn’t that stupid, but the other way around (and a lot more evil). Maybe just sue everyone who hasn’t got a watermark on their movies or mp3.

Luckily a Fair Use bill was passed which they say (haven’t checked) allows fair-use conversion of format of media.