Google Is Still Striving To Upstream Incremental FS In Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Storage on 29 August 2020 at 10:40 AM EDT. 21 Comments
After originally publishing the Incremental FS patches back in May of 2019, Google's Android kernel team is still working to upstream this virtual file-system into the mainline Linux kernel and at this week's Linux Plumbers Conference was working to drum up support for it.

The Incremental File-System back when it was first proposed was advertised as a special-purpose virtual file-system to allow the execution of a program while its binary and resource files are still being lazily downloaded from the Internet or other medium.

Incremental FS requires a regular file-system underneath but was engineered by Google as their means of allowing larger Android applications/games to start-up while binaries/resources are still being downloaded/transferred to the device. If a read is requested of a resource not yet loaded, it will wait until the data is available.

There seemingly hasn't been much public activity on Incremental FS in recent months but at the LPC 2020 conference there was Google's Paul Lawrence talking about the functionality with hopes still of mainlining this virtual file-system to the Linux kernel.

Should this incremental FS concept be of interest to you, there is the PDF slide deck and video embedded above. Besides getting the work upstreamed, future Incremental FS improvements planned include FS-VERITY support, mapped files, and user-space control of pending read timeouts.
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