Cygwin filesystem

Larry Hall (Cygwin)
Mon Sep 18 14:28:00 GMT 2006

Francis Rossi wrote:
> Hello,
> I wonder whether there are plans about creating a special filesystem for
> Cygwin. I think it would be a very useful thing, for practical reasons. The
> problem with the folder Cygwin is installed to is that when you're looking
> for some files on your hard disk, that directory takes a lot of time in the
> search because of dozens of thousands files, especially in /usr. Another
> issue is deleting the Cygwin installation, it can take hours, for the same
> reason. I think it could be resloved by creating a separate partition for
> /usr and placing it into a separate file with virtual filesystem like on
> VMWare or Bochs. When Cygwin is started this partition would be mounted
> like Windows disks and deleting it would last as long as one click.

No one on this list has vocalized such a plan AFAIK.  If disk access times
for large directories are your targeted goal, your solution would require
the use of some non-native file-system type to support this.  You would
need a Windows file-system driver to be able to manipulate the new
file-system efficiently.  It's my opinion that implementing this as a
separate partition would be too complex or time-consuming for the typical
Cygwin user, thus negating any potential benefits.  The alternative may be
to use a file on the current file-system to bridge this gap.  But regardless,
creating a file-system driver that plays well with all Windows constructs is
not a small task.  Just look at the littered landscape of ext2 file-system
drivers for the various versions of Windows that are out there, for example.
However, if you're interested in pursuing this, I would suggest that you
start with the file-system driver.  If you can create a good driver for an
existing file-system that resolves the problem you state without introducing
other difficulties, it would be a great addition to the open-source community,
regardless of whether it's an integrated part of Cygwin or not.

Larry Hall                    
RFK Partners, Inc.                      (508) 893-9779 - RFK Office
216 Dalton Rd.                          (508) 893-9889 - FAX
Holliston, MA 01746

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