• Stefan Hajnoczi's avatar
    block: delete cow block driver · 550830f9
    Stefan Hajnoczi authored
    This patch removes support for the cow file format.
    
    Normally we do not break backwards compatibility but in this case there
    is no impact and it is the most logical option.  Extraordinary claims
    require extraordinary evidence so I will show why removing the cow block
    driver is the right thing to do.
    
    The cow file format is the disk image format for Usermode Linux, a way
    of running a Linux system in userspace.  The performance of UML was
    never great and it was hacky, but it enjoyed some popularity before
    hardware virtualization support became mainstream.
    
    QEMU's block/cow.c is supposed to read this image file format.
    Unfortunately the file format was underspecified:
    
    1. Earlier Linux versions used the MAXPATHLEN constant for the backing
       filename field.  The value of MAXPATHLEN can change, so Linux
       switched to a 4096 literal but QEMU has a 1024 literal.
    
    2. Padding was not used on the header struct (both in the Linux kernel
       and in QEMU) so the struct layout varied across architectures.  In
       particular, i386 and x86_64 were different due to int64_t alignment
       differences.  Linux now uses __attribute__((packed)), QEMU does not.
    
    Therefore:
    
    1. QEMU cow images do not conform to the Linux cow image file format.
    
    2. cow images cannot be shared between different host architectures.
    
    This means QEMU cow images are useless and QEMU has not had bug reports
    from users actually hitting these issues.
    
    Let's get rid of this thing, it serves no purpose and no one will be
    affected.
    Signed-off-by: default avatarStefan Hajnoczi <stefanha@redhat.com>
    Reviewed-by: default avatarMarkus Armbruster <armbru@redhat.com>
    Message-id: 1410877464-20481-1-git-send-email-stefanha@redhat.com
    Signed-off-by: default avatarStefan Hajnoczi <stefanha@redhat.com>
    550830f9
qemu-doc.texi 92.5 KB