soft updates / background fsck directory link count bug

Tor Egge Tor.Egge at
Fri Sep 23 21:34:25 PDT 2005

> It appears that there is some sort of interaction between soft updates
> and background fsck that results in the link count of the parent of one
> of these directories being double decremented, resulting in the file
> system being put into an invalid state.

If the snapshot for background fsck is taken on a file system which has pending
softupdate dependencies then this can happen.  For this particular case, the
system had a pending dirrem dependency.

> The following transcript demonstrates what happens if a background fsck
> is run after the leaf directory is removed.  What is interesting is that
> after the directory the leaf directory has been removed, the effective
> link count of the parent directory (displayed by ls) has been
> decremented from 3 to 2, whereas the on-disk link count shown by fsdb is
> still 3.  The background fsck appears to detect the link count as 3, and
> executes the sysctl call to decrement the link count, causing both the
> effective and actual link counts to be decremented to 1.

> My suspicion is that the physical update of the parent directory's link
> count after the rmdir of the leaf directory has been deferred until the
> leaf directory's inode is zeroed, which turns out to be an indefinite
> wait because the inode doesn't get zeroed until fsck is run.

ufs_rmdir() calls ufs_dirremove() after having lowered i_effnlink in memory for
both leaf and parent directory.

ufs_dirremmove() calls softdep_setup_remove() which sets up the softupdates
dependencies for reducing di_nlink on disk for leaf and parent directory when
it's safe to do so (i.e. after the directory entry referencing the leaf
directory has been cleared on disk).  See code in reassignbuf() for various
delays before the syncer process pushes the dirty buffers to disk.

The background fsck found the the di_nlink value being 3 on the parent
directory and issued an FFS_ADJ_REFCNT sysctl to reduce it by one, having no
knowledge about the pending dirrem dependency.  See sysctl_ffs_fsck() for the
handling of that sysctl.

After background fsck has run and the dirrem dependency has been
processed, the link counts for the parent directory are both 1.

The latest panic shown on
<>, "panic:
handle_written_inodeblock: live inodedep" was probably caused by this issue.
If the snapshot was taken while a directory or file was being removed then it
might contain an unreferenced inode with a nonzero link count. The background
fsck would reduce the link count for the inode, triggering freeing of the inode
(c.f. ufs_inactive(), UFS_VFREE(), ffs_vfree() and softdep_freefile()).  After
writing the zeroed inode to disk the system would panic due to the still
pending dirrem dependency.

- Tor Egge

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