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Based on kernel version 3.13. Page generated on 2014-01-20 22:03 EST.

1	SQUASHFS 4.0 FILESYSTEM
2	=======================
3	
4	Squashfs is a compressed read-only filesystem for Linux.
5	It uses zlib/lzo/xz compression to compress files, inodes and directories.
6	Inodes in the system are very small and all blocks are packed to minimise
7	data overhead. Block sizes greater than 4K are supported up to a maximum
8	of 1Mbytes (default block size 128K).
9	
10	Squashfs is intended for general read-only filesystem use, for archival
11	use (i.e. in cases where a .tar.gz file may be used), and in constrained
12	block device/memory systems (e.g. embedded systems) where low overhead is
13	needed.
14	
15	Mailing list: squashfs-devel@lists.sourceforge.net
16	Web site: www.squashfs.org
17	
18	1. FILESYSTEM FEATURES
19	----------------------
20	
21	Squashfs filesystem features versus Cramfs:
22	
23					Squashfs		Cramfs
24	
25	Max filesystem size:		2^64			256 MiB
26	Max file size:			~ 2 TiB			16 MiB
27	Max files:			unlimited		unlimited
28	Max directories:		unlimited		unlimited
29	Max entries per directory:	unlimited		unlimited
30	Max block size:			1 MiB			4 KiB
31	Metadata compression:		yes			no
32	Directory indexes:		yes			no
33	Sparse file support:		yes			no
34	Tail-end packing (fragments):	yes			no
35	Exportable (NFS etc.):		yes			no
36	Hard link support:		yes			no
37	"." and ".." in readdir:	yes			no
38	Real inode numbers:		yes			no
39	32-bit uids/gids:		yes			no
40	File creation time:		yes			no
41	Xattr support:			yes			no
42	ACL support:			no			no
43	
44	Squashfs compresses data, inodes and directories.  In addition, inode and
45	directory data are highly compacted, and packed on byte boundaries.  Each
46	compressed inode is on average 8 bytes in length (the exact length varies on
47	file type, i.e. regular file, directory, symbolic link, and block/char device
48	inodes have different sizes).
49	
50	2. USING SQUASHFS
51	-----------------
52	
53	As squashfs is a read-only filesystem, the mksquashfs program must be used to
54	create populated squashfs filesystems.  This and other squashfs utilities
55	can be obtained from http://www.squashfs.org.  Usage instructions can be
56	obtained from this site also.
57	
58	The squashfs-tools development tree is now located on kernel.org
59		git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/fs/squashfs/squashfs-tools.git
60	
61	3. SQUASHFS FILESYSTEM DESIGN
62	-----------------------------
63	
64	A squashfs filesystem consists of a maximum of nine parts, packed together on a
65	byte alignment:
66	
67		 ---------------
68		|  superblock 	|
69		|---------------|
70		|  compression  |
71		|    options    |
72		|---------------|
73		|  datablocks   |
74		|  & fragments  |
75		|---------------|
76		|  inode table	|
77		|---------------|
78		|   directory	|
79		|     table     |
80		|---------------|
81		|   fragment	|
82		|    table      |
83		|---------------|
84		|    export     |
85		|    table      |
86		|---------------|
87		|    uid/gid	|
88		|  lookup table	|
89		|---------------|
90		|     xattr     |
91		|     table	|
92		 ---------------
93	
94	Compressed data blocks are written to the filesystem as files are read from
95	the source directory, and checked for duplicates.  Once all file data has been
96	written the completed inode, directory, fragment, export, uid/gid lookup and
97	xattr tables are written.
98	
99	3.1 Compression options
100	-----------------------
101	
102	Compressors can optionally support compression specific options (e.g.
103	dictionary size).  If non-default compression options have been used, then
104	these are stored here.
105	
106	3.2 Inodes
107	----------
108	
109	Metadata (inodes and directories) are compressed in 8Kbyte blocks.  Each
110	compressed block is prefixed by a two byte length, the top bit is set if the
111	block is uncompressed.  A block will be uncompressed if the -noI option is set,
112	or if the compressed block was larger than the uncompressed block.
113	
114	Inodes are packed into the metadata blocks, and are not aligned to block
115	boundaries, therefore inodes overlap compressed blocks.  Inodes are identified
116	by a 48-bit number which encodes the location of the compressed metadata block
117	containing the inode, and the byte offset into that block where the inode is
118	placed (<block, offset>).
119	
120	To maximise compression there are different inodes for each file type
121	(regular file, directory, device, etc.), the inode contents and length
122	varying with the type.
123	
124	To further maximise compression, two types of regular file inode and
125	directory inode are defined: inodes optimised for frequently occurring
126	regular files and directories, and extended types where extra
127	information has to be stored.
128	
129	3.3 Directories
130	---------------
131	
132	Like inodes, directories are packed into compressed metadata blocks, stored
133	in a directory table.  Directories are accessed using the start address of
134	the metablock containing the directory and the offset into the
135	decompressed block (<block, offset>).
136	
137	Directories are organised in a slightly complex way, and are not simply
138	a list of file names.  The organisation takes advantage of the
139	fact that (in most cases) the inodes of the files will be in the same
140	compressed metadata block, and therefore, can share the start block.
141	Directories are therefore organised in a two level list, a directory
142	header containing the shared start block value, and a sequence of directory
143	entries, each of which share the shared start block.  A new directory header
144	is written once/if the inode start block changes.  The directory
145	header/directory entry list is repeated as many times as necessary.
146	
147	Directories are sorted, and can contain a directory index to speed up
148	file lookup.  Directory indexes store one entry per metablock, each entry
149	storing the index/filename mapping to the first directory header
150	in each metadata block.  Directories are sorted in alphabetical order,
151	and at lookup the index is scanned linearly looking for the first filename
152	alphabetically larger than the filename being looked up.  At this point the
153	location of the metadata block the filename is in has been found.
154	The general idea of the index is to ensure only one metadata block needs to be
155	decompressed to do a lookup irrespective of the length of the directory.
156	This scheme has the advantage that it doesn't require extra memory overhead
157	and doesn't require much extra storage on disk.
158	
159	3.4 File data
160	-------------
161	
162	Regular files consist of a sequence of contiguous compressed blocks, and/or a
163	compressed fragment block (tail-end packed block).   The compressed size
164	of each datablock is stored in a block list contained within the
165	file inode.
166	
167	To speed up access to datablocks when reading 'large' files (256 Mbytes or
168	larger), the code implements an index cache that caches the mapping from
169	block index to datablock location on disk.
170	
171	The index cache allows Squashfs to handle large files (up to 1.75 TiB) while
172	retaining a simple and space-efficient block list on disk.  The cache
173	is split into slots, caching up to eight 224 GiB files (128 KiB blocks).
174	Larger files use multiple slots, with 1.75 TiB files using all 8 slots.
175	The index cache is designed to be memory efficient, and by default uses
176	16 KiB.
177	
178	3.5 Fragment lookup table
179	-------------------------
180	
181	Regular files can contain a fragment index which is mapped to a fragment
182	location on disk and compressed size using a fragment lookup table.  This
183	fragment lookup table is itself stored compressed into metadata blocks.
184	A second index table is used to locate these.  This second index table for
185	speed of access (and because it is small) is read at mount time and cached
186	in memory.
187	
188	3.6 Uid/gid lookup table
189	------------------------
190	
191	For space efficiency regular files store uid and gid indexes, which are
192	converted to 32-bit uids/gids using an id look up table.  This table is
193	stored compressed into metadata blocks.  A second index table is used to
194	locate these.  This second index table for speed of access (and because it
195	is small) is read at mount time and cached in memory.
196	
197	3.7 Export table
198	----------------
199	
200	To enable Squashfs filesystems to be exportable (via NFS etc.) filesystems
201	can optionally (disabled with the -no-exports Mksquashfs option) contain
202	an inode number to inode disk location lookup table.  This is required to
203	enable Squashfs to map inode numbers passed in filehandles to the inode
204	location on disk, which is necessary when the export code reinstantiates
205	expired/flushed inodes.
206	
207	This table is stored compressed into metadata blocks.  A second index table is
208	used to locate these.  This second index table for speed of access (and because
209	it is small) is read at mount time and cached in memory.
210	
211	3.8 Xattr table
212	---------------
213	
214	The xattr table contains extended attributes for each inode.  The xattrs
215	for each inode are stored in a list, each list entry containing a type,
216	name and value field.  The type field encodes the xattr prefix
217	("user.", "trusted." etc) and it also encodes how the name/value fields
218	should be interpreted.  Currently the type indicates whether the value
219	is stored inline (in which case the value field contains the xattr value),
220	or if it is stored out of line (in which case the value field stores a
221	reference to where the actual value is stored).  This allows large values
222	to be stored out of line improving scanning and lookup performance and it
223	also allows values to be de-duplicated, the value being stored once, and
224	all other occurrences holding an out of line reference to that value.
225	
226	The xattr lists are packed into compressed 8K metadata blocks.
227	To reduce overhead in inodes, rather than storing the on-disk
228	location of the xattr list inside each inode, a 32-bit xattr id
229	is stored.  This xattr id is mapped into the location of the xattr
230	list using a second xattr id lookup table.
231	
232	4. TODOS AND OUTSTANDING ISSUES
233	-------------------------------
234	
235	4.1 Todo list
236	-------------
237	
238	Implement ACL support.
239	
240	4.2 Squashfs internal cache
241	---------------------------
242	
243	Blocks in Squashfs are compressed.  To avoid repeatedly decompressing
244	recently accessed data Squashfs uses two small metadata and fragment caches.
245	
246	The cache is not used for file datablocks, these are decompressed and cached in
247	the page-cache in the normal way.  The cache is used to temporarily cache
248	fragment and metadata blocks which have been read as a result of a metadata
249	(i.e. inode or directory) or fragment access.  Because metadata and fragments
250	are packed together into blocks (to gain greater compression) the read of a
251	particular piece of metadata or fragment will retrieve other metadata/fragments
252	which have been packed with it, these because of locality-of-reference may be
253	read in the near future. Temporarily caching them ensures they are available
254	for near future access without requiring an additional read and decompress.
255	
256	In the future this internal cache may be replaced with an implementation which
257	uses the kernel page cache.  Because the page cache operates on page sized
258	units this may introduce additional complexity in terms of locking and
259	associated race conditions.
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