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2.8 Filestores

The operations defined for local filesystems are divided into two parts. Common to all local filesystems are hierarchical naming, locking, quotas, attribute management, and protection. These features are independent of how the data will be stored. 4.4BSD has a single implementation to provide these semantics.

The other part of the local filesystem is the organization and management of the data on the storage media. Laying out the contents of files on the storage media is the responsibility of the filestore. 4.4BSD supports three different filestore layouts:

Although the organizations of these filestores are completely different, these differences are indistinguishable to the processes using the filestores.

The Fast Filesystem organizes data into cylinder groups. Files that are likely to be accessed together, based on their locations in the filesystem hierarchy, are stored in the same cylinder group. Files that are not expected to accessed together are moved into different cylinder groups. Thus, files written at the same time may be placed far apart on the disk.

The log-structured filesystem organizes data as a log. All data being written at any point in time are gathered together, and are written at the same disk location. Data are never overwritten; instead, a new copy of the file is written that replaces the old one. The old files are reclaimed by a garbage-collection process that runs when the filesystem becomes full and additional free space is needed.

The memory-based filesystem is designed to store data in virtual memory. It is used for filesystems that need to support fast but temporary data, such as /tmp. The goal of the memory-based filesystem is to keep the storage packed as compactly as possible to minimize the usage of virtual-memory resources.

This, and other documents, can be downloaded from

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For questions about this documentation, e-mail <>.

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