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Data Storage Graphics Operating Systems Software Linux

A Visual Expedition Inside the Linux File Systems 85

Posted by kdawson
from the data-porn dept.
RazvanM writes "This is an attempt to visualize the relationships among the Linux File Systems through the lens of the external symbols their kernel modules use. We took an initial look a few months back but this time the scope is much broader. This analysis was done on 1377 kernel modules from 2.6.0 to 2.6.29, but there is also a small dip into the BSD world. The most thorough analysis was done on Daniel Phillips's tree, which contains the latest two disk-based file systems for Linux: tux3 and btrfs. The main techniques used to establish relationships among file systems are hierarchical clustering and phylogenetic trees. Also presented are a set of rankings based on various properties related to the evolution of the external symbols from one release to another, and complete timelines of the kernel releases for Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD. In all there are 78 figures and 10 animations."
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A Visual Expedition Inside the Linux File Systems

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  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday June 15, 2009 @04:21AM (#28333137)
    What does it all mean?
    Is having a large number of external symbols good because it has more integration points or bad because of bloat? I don't think I have ever RTFA and come away with so little understanding before.
  • by RuBLed (995686) on Monday June 15, 2009 @04:30AM (#28333167)
    As the child in me would say.. Just look at the pictures.
  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Monday June 15, 2009 @04:38AM (#28333191)

    Nothing. The whole point was do create said visualizations. From the "expedition" homepage here [jhu.edu]:

    This is an exercise in visualization and kernel exploration. I'm not an expert in either of them but I like file systems and I also find great pleasure in creating visual representations of the things around me. --RazvanME

    He likes file systems and he likes to create visual representation of things. There's your explanation. I suspect the guy is a student with too much free time and a desire to be featured on Slashdot.

  • by koolfy (1213316) <koolfy.gmail@com> on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:13AM (#28333285) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only one not understanding a word nor the point of those graphics, but still going to print them as posters and put them everywhere in my bedroom ?

    'cuz dude, it's so beautiful !
  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gbjbaanb (229885) on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:15AM (#28333293)

    Which is fair enough (unless you happen to have had a quick look at the summary, an even quicker look at the diagrams and thought "d'uh WTF?" to yourself). I think if he'd created a colourful fractal image, or moving dots swirling around then everyone would be saying how great it was. As it is, it looks like dull statistics.

    I found the interesting bits to be how closely tux3 kept coming up next to fat or ntfs, whilst btrfs was close to xfs, and ext4 with ext3 and ext2. Maybe there's something in the analysis after all!

  • by OneSmartFellow (716217) on Monday June 15, 2009 @06:01AM (#28333459)
    ...slowly loosing the will to live as my eyes became tired and I confused by the lack of any conclusions which could possibly be drawn from such an overwhelming variety of apparently useless graphical analysis of kernel ABI calls made by mostly arcane file systems, I couldn't help wondering .....
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    . Who gives a shit ?
  • Re:Hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by arth1 (260657) on Monday June 15, 2009 @06:55AM (#28333699) Homepage Journal

    No kidding. Sometimes I like to (gasp!) RTFA, but in this case I couldn't find out which of the F links went to the F article.

  • by AlpineR (32307) <wagnerr@umich.edu> on Monday June 15, 2009 @08:05AM (#28334103) Homepage

    My only interests in filesystems are how much free space I have and whether mine will recover from a power outage. Thus 95% of these graphs are a total bore to me.

    But I do like the Timelines [jhu.edu] of kernel releases. Some kernels see an exponential slowdown of release rate as they approach finalization and others are released like clockwork throughout their lifetime.

    I'd love to see these methods applied to other topics I care more about, like games and science

    When I develop maps for Starcraft, I usually go with a "release when it's ready" approach. That leads to a first public release long after my internal rough draft. Then there are a few quick releases as major bugs are found. And later the releases slow to a trickle as the focus move from bug fixes to balance tweaks. The magnitude of the changes also decreases over time, but each one's effect on game play can be disproportionately large.

    But recently I went with a public balancing approach. I released the rough draft to get a feel for how it played. Then released new drafts as often as twice a day as suggestions were made and problems became apparent. I love to see that contrast visually or see other patterns I hadn't considered.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot@pitabre ... org minus distro> on Monday June 15, 2009 @12:31PM (#28337421) Homepage
    You can't be from AOL... you used correct capitalization and the proper homonym of "too". I call shenanigans.

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