Database Filesystem? (Was Tracker in Edgy?)

Martin Otten martin.otten at
Sun Jul 2 10:21:05 BST 2006

In my opinion folders are a bad way to organise files. We copied it from
the real world, but i think they hardly help users to find documents.

So companies started to create document-management-systems to organise
their documents. So that it is possible to enrich them with metadata,
which allow to find documents related to each other. For example by
persons, divisions and projects.

Therefore in my opinion the solution to the problem are search engines
like Beagle. The only thing missing is a standard to store Document
related metadata. This would allow people to share them it between each
other and their operating systems.



On Sun, 2006-07-02 at 00:29 +0200, Ulrik Mikaelsson wrote: 
> Perhaps not really on topic of Ubuntu Development, but a question I've
> been pondering for a while on this subject.
> One of the things that _really_ suprises me about files and databases
> is why we are still using a traditional hierarchial filesystem for
> most of our chores? Yes, I understand it's a paradigm that in theory
> are often simple for the user to understand, but is it REALLY the way
> the _system_ should deal with files?
> A bunch of years ago, the creators of BeOS did some brilliant things,
> one of them were their filesystems. This information is second-hand, I
> have not investigated the BeOS filesystem much myself, but from what
> I've heard, their filesystem were split in half, where as one half
> were treated as a regular file-tree, and the other as an indexed,
> unsorted database of object-like entities. I think this concept is
> extremely interesting and I wonder why noone have tried following it
> up? As I see, this could be achieved in two ways.
> A) (Reiser4) split the filesystem up in layers, and let the
> space-allocation happen in a layer different from actual content or
> meta-data. Provide a module (or plugin) that hooks up on the provided
> allocator and build a database on the raw allocated blocks from the
> allocator. In this way, the regular files and the database can be
> efficiently shared from the same block device without hard
> partitioning in between them.
> B) Partition the block device, and use a partition as a pure block
> file for the database, be it MySQL, BDB, PostgreSQL, or some
> completely new database engine, better suited for the job of keeping a
> database directly on disk without a "intelligent" (in terms of caching
> etc.) filesystem in between.
> I certainly think it would be a useful addition to the modern desktop,
> since the only place I see most users preferring hierarchy are
> possibly within mail-program or similar. I see many users having
> problems with grasping the concept of the filesystem, and how it maps
> into their applications objects. For instance, only few popular Media
> Applications today considers the music-collection a hierarchy. Almost
> all of them (Rythmbox, Amarok, ITunes, WMP...) see them purely as a
> database, heavily using the index-and-search methodology of a
> database. Unifying the back-end of this seems like a good thing(TM) to
> me.
> My question: could we use Tracker as a database-frontend for
> supporting applications to interface with the database-store, and
> configure it's MySQL-backend to store on a separate partition, to
> avoid the issues John R. Moser are pointing out?
> Would this be feasible?
> Could MySQL cope with this?
> Is it possible to implement relatively quick? Maybe in the timeframe
> for Edgy, or Edgy + 1?
> Regards
> / Ulrik
> On 6/30/06, Jamie McCracken <jamiemcc at> wrote:
> > John Richard Moser wrote:
> > > Data journaling does not magically solve anything, it just slows things
> > > down.  As for meta-data journaling, different implementations have
> > > different problems; some methods can truncate if you're shrinking a
> > > file, some methods can zero-fill a file for whatever reason, and some
> > > will just remove the file.
> >
> >
> > With FS that support atomic file operations , it gives you protection
> > against half written records ( and I presume resizes too else it
> > wouldn;t be atomic then!). Updates to a file either happen completely or
> > not at all.
> >
> > To quote Reiser4 : Reiser4 is an atomic filesystem, which means that
> > your filesystem operations either entirely occur, or they entirely
> > don't, and they don't corrupt due to half occuring. We do this without
> > significant performance losses, because we invented algorithms to do it
> > without copying the data twice.
> >
> > This is what Im referring to wrt to making mysql super robust (I presume
> > *data* journaling gives you atomic updates). You shouldn't have to worry
> > about DBs corrupting with an atomic journalised FS (providing its not
> > buggy of course!).
> >
> >
> > --
> > Mr Jamie McCracken
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > ubuntu-devel mailing list
> > ubuntu-devel at
> >
> >

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