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UNIX Filesystems: Evolution, Design, and Implementation by Steve D. Pate

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The File System Switch

Introduced with System V Release 3.0, the File System Switch (FSS) architecture introduced a framework under which multiple different filesystem types could coexist in parallel.

The FSS was poorly documented and the source code for SVR3-based derivatives is not publicly available. [PATE96] describes in detail how the FSS was implemented. Note that the version of SVR3 described in that book contained a significant number of kernel changes (made by SCO) and therefore differed substantially from the original SVR3 implementation. This section highlights the main features of the FSS architecture.

As with earlier UNIX versions, SVR3 kept the mapping between file descriptors in the user area to the file table to in-core inodes. One of the main goals of SVR3 was to provide a framework under which multiple different filesystem types could coexist at the same time. Thus each time a call is made to mount, the caller could specify the filesystem type. Because the FSS could support multiple different filesystem types, the traditional UNIX filesystem needed to be named so it could be identified when calling the mount command. Thus, it became known as the s5 (System V) filesystem. Throughout the USL-based development of System V through to the various SVR4 derivatives, little development would occur on s5. SCO completely restructured their s5-based filesystem over the years and added a number of new features.

The boundary between the filesystem-independent layer of the ...

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