Friday, January 6, 2017

10 years with util-linux project!

I can't believe that it's already 10 years we have active community around basic Linux utils.

Yes, we had util-linux before (and many thanks to Adrian Bunk and Andries E. Brouwer), but I believe that with git and close collaboration between Linux distributions and Linux kernel community it better now :-)
  • ~11000 commits
  • ~460 unique contributors
  • ~630 regression tests
  • ~100 utils, 5 shared libs with public API
  • ~16 major releases (from v2.13 to v2.29)
  • ~26 translated languages
  • ~10000 e-mails on mailing list

  • ported to GNU Hurd, FreeBSD and XOS
  • used by all mainstream Linux distros (as well as by Systemd haters ;-)
  • modern autotools based build system

  • merges from another projects
    • libblkid, libuuid and fsck from e2fsprogs
    • sulogin, last, utmpdump  and mounpoint from sysvinit
    • su from coreutils

  • many new utils (lsblk, findmnt, wipefs, rtcwake, unshare, nsenter, prlimit, blkdiscard, flock, fstrim, ipcmk, ldattach, lscpu, lsipc, lslocks, lslogins, resizepart, setarch, setpriv, switch_root, swaplabel)

  • many rewrites (libblkid probing code, mount, fdisks, etc.)

  • new shared libraries
    • libmount
    • libfdisk
    • libsmartcols

...the first original announce:

... gource video with all the ten years :-)

Thanks to all contributors!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

util-linux v2.29 -- what's new?

The release v2.29 (now rc1) is without dramatical changes, the small exception is libsmartcols where we have many improvements. 

The old good cal(1) is more user-friendly now. It's possible to specify month by name (e.g. "cal January 2017") and use relative placeholders, for example:

        cal now
        cal '1 year ago'
        cal '+2 months'

fdisk(8) allows to wipe newly created partitions -- the feature is possible to control by new command line option --wipe-partitions[==auto|never|default]. 
 The default in the interactive mode is to ask user when a filesystem or RAID signature is detected. The goal is to be sure that new block devices are usable without any collisions and extra wipefs(8) step (because users are lazy and mkfs-like programs are often no smart enough to wipe the device). 

findmnt --verify is probably the most attractive new feature for admins. The command scans /etc/fstab and tries to verify the configuration. The traditional way is to use "mount -a" for this purpose, but it's overkill. The new --verify does not call mount(2), but it checks parsability, LABEL/UUID/etc. translation to paths, mountpoints order, support for specified FS types. The option --verify together with --verbose provides many details. 

For example my ext4 filesystems:

# findmnt --verify --verbose -t ext4
   [ ] target exists
   [ ] LABEL=ROOT translated to /dev/sda4
   [ ] source /dev/sda4 exists
   [ ] FS type is ext4
   [W] recommended root FS passno is 1 (current is 2)
   [ ] target exists 
   [ ] UUID=c5490147-2a6c-4c8a-aa1b-33492034f927 translated to /dev/sda2
   [ ] source /dev/sda2 exists
   [ ] FS type is ext4
   [ ] target exists
   [ ] UUID=196972ad-3b13-4bba-ac54-4cb3f7b409a4 translated to /dev/sda3
   [ ] source /dev/sda3 exists
   [ ] FS type is ext4
   [E] unreachable on boot required target: No such file or directory 
   [ ] UUID=e8ce5375-29d4-4e2f-a688-d3bae4b8d162 translated to /dev/sda5
   [ ] source /dev/sda5 exists
   [ ] FS type is ext4
0 parse errors, 1 error, 1 warning

When you create multiple loop block devices from one backing file then Linux kernel does not care about possible collisions and the same on-disk filesystem is maintained by multiple independent in-memory filesystem instances. The result is obvious -- data lost and filesystem damage.

Now mount(8) rejects requests to create another device and mount filesystem for the same backing file. The command losetup --nooverlap reuse loop device if already exists for the same backing file. All the functionality calculate with offset and sizelimit options of course, so it's fine to have multiple regions (partitions) in the same image file and mount all of them in the same time. The restriction is that the regions should not overlap. Thanks to Stanislav Brabec from Suse! 

Heiko Carstens from IBM (thanks!) has improved lscpu(1) for s390. Now it supports "drawer" topology level, static and dynamic MHz, machine type and a new option --physical. 

The most important libsmartcols change is probably better support for multi-line cells. Now the library supports custom cell wrap functions -- this allows to wrap your text in cells after words, line breaks, etc. See multi-line cells (WRAPNL column) output: 

aaaa            1      0 aaa
├─bbb           2      1 bbbbb
│ ├─ee          5      2 hello
│ │                      baby
│ └─ffff        6      2 aaa
│                        bbb
│                        ccc
│                        ddd
├─ccccc         3      1 cccc
│ │                      CCCC
│ └─gggggg      7      3 eee
│   ├─hhh       8      7 fffff
│   │ └─iiiiii  9      8 g
│   │                    hhhhh
│   └─jj       10      7 ppppppppp
└─dddddd        4      1 dddddddd

The another change is support for user defined padding chars; we use this feature for LIBSMARTCOLS_DEBUG_PADDING=on|off, for example: 


For me really important is that we have regression tests for all libsmartcols table and tree formatting code now :-) 

Igor Gnatenko from Red Hat (thanks!) continues to work on Python binding for libsmartcols, see and see example below.

The idea is to use libsmartcols as output formatter for Fedora/RHEL dnf (package manager for RPM-based Linux distributions, yum replacement). This is also reason why libsmartcols has been massively extended and improved in the last releases. 

That's all. Thanks also to Werner Fink, Sami Kerola, Ruediger Meier and many others contributors! 

import smartcols
tb = smartcols.Table()
name = tb.new_column("NAME")
name.tree = True
age = tb.new_column("AGE")
age.right = True
ggf = tb.new_line()
ggf[name] = "John"
ggf[age] = "70"
gfa = tb.new_line(ggf)
gfa[name] = "Donald"
gfa[age] = "50"
fa = tb.new_line(gfa)
fa[name] = "Benny"
fa[age] = "30"
ln = tb.new_line(fa)
ln[name] = "Arlen"
ln[age] = "5"
ln = tb.new_line(fa)
ln[name] = "Gerge"
ln[age] = "7"
fa = tb.new_line(gfa)
fa[name] = "Berry"
fa[age] = "32"
ln = tb.new_line(ggf)
ln[name] = "Alex"
ln[age] = "44"
NAME        AGE
John         70
├─Donald     50
│ ├─Benny    30
│ │ ├─Arlen   5
│ │ └─Gerge   7
│ └─Berry    32
└─Alex       44

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

util-linux v2.28 -- what's new?

The release v2.28 does not contain any dramatical changes and huge improvements. It's another release to keep users happy and absorb new features provided by kernel. We all love this kind of release, right? :-)

The fdisk programs (sfdisk, cfdisk and fdisk) have been improved to wipe old filesystem, RAID and partition tables from the device before libfdisk writes a new partition table.

The fdisk-like programs traditionally care about begin of the device, but it's insufficient. This new feature has been introduced to avoid collisions between new partition table and old unwanted signatures and it's possible to control it by --wipe[=auto|never|always]. For backward compatibility on non-terminals (non interactive fdisk execution) the feature is disabled by default.

We have a new command lsns, see and sfdisk provides new functionality, see:
Linux kernel 3.14 is really not a hot news, but standard Linux userspace still does not support DEADLINE scheduler. chrt since v2.28 supports the DEADLINE scheduling class and the new options --sched-runtime --sched-period and --sched-deadline.

The command logger supports RFC 5424 structured data through the new options --sd-id and --sd-param. For example:
   logger --rfc5424 --sd-id zoo@123     \  
          --sd-param tiger=\"hungry\"   \            
          --sd-param zebra=\"running\"  \            
          --sd-id manager@123           \            
          --sd-param onMeeting=\"yes\"  \            
          "this is message"
 <13>1 2015-10-01T14:07:59.168662+02:00 ws kzak - - [timeQuality tzKnown="1" isSynced="1" syncAccuracy="218616"][zoo@123 tiger="hungry" zebra="running"][manager@123 onMeeting="yes"] this is message

The library libsmartcols has been massively improved (thanks to Igor Gnatenko for testing and reviews). Now it's possible to specify title for table, table supports multi-line cells, it's possible to print subset of table and the library supports continuous printing.

Igor works on Python binding, it's available at

The portability of the util-linux package is not our primary goal, but in many cases port code to the another libc or another operation system (if possible) is a way how to detect code disadvantages, obsolete functions etc. v2.28 is possible to compile on OSX and improved has been also support for kFreeBSD and GNU Hurd (of course you cannot compile Linux specific stuff, but build-system is smart enough to automatically disable utils irrelevant for your OS).

This is in connection with our regression tests suite, where many things have been improved to make the tests more stable in all random environments. (thanks to Ruediger Meier).

The complete list of all changes (~480 patches) is at

and in details at:

Thanks to all (~40) contributors!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

lsns(8) new command to list Linux namespaces

The namespaces are commonly used way how to isolate global (ipc, mount, net, ...) resource instances. Unfortunately, we have no command line tool to list namespaces. The new command lsns(8) tries to fill this gap.


# lsns
4026531836 pid      276     1 root   /usr/lib/systemd/systemd --system --deserialize 15
4026531837 user     276     1 root   /usr/lib/systemd/systemd --system --deserialize 15
4026531838 uts      276     1 root   /usr/lib/systemd/systemd --system --deserialize 15
4026531839 ipc      276     1 root   /usr/lib/systemd/systemd --system --deserialize 15
4026531840 mnt      269     1 root   /usr/lib/systemd/systemd --system --deserialize 15
4026531857 mnt        1    63 root   kdevtmpfs
4026531963 net      275     1 root   /usr/lib/systemd/systemd --system --deserialize 15
4026532189 mnt        1   545 root   /usr/lib/systemd/systemd-udevd
4026532390 net        1   776 rtkit  /usr/libexec/rtkit-daemon
4026532478 mnt        1   776 rtkit  /usr/libexec/rtkit-daemon
4026532486 mnt        1   847 colord /usr/libexec/colord
4026532518 mnt        3  6500 root   -bash
and list namespace content:
# lsns 4026532518
 6500  6372 root -bash
19572  6500 root └─/usr/bin/mc -P /tmp/mc-root/mc.pwd.6500
19575 19572 root   └─bash -rcfile .bashrc
help output with columns description:
# lsns -h
 lsns [options] [namespace]
List system namespaces.
 -J, --json             use JSON output format
 -l, --list             use list format output
 -n, --noheadings       don't print headings
 -o, --output list      define which output columns to use
 -p, --task pid         print process namespaces
 -r, --raw              use the raw output format
 -u, --notruncate       don't truncate text in columns
 -t, --type name        namespace type (mnt, net, ipc, user, pid, uts)
 -h, --help     display this help and exit
 -V, --version  output version information and exit
Available columns (for --output):
          NS  namespace identifier (inode number)
        TYPE  kind of namespace
        PATH  path to the namespace
      NPROCS  number of processes in the namespace
         PID  lowers PID in the namespace
        PPID  PPID of the PID
     COMMAND  command line of the PID
         UID  UID of the PID
        USER  username of the PID
For more details see lsns(8).
The important detail is that you can see only namespaces accessible from currently mounted /proc filesystem. The lsns(8) is not able to list persistent namespaces without processes where the namespace instance is hold by bind mounts of the /proc/[pid]/ns/[type] files and the output may be affected by unshared PID namespace and unshared /proc (see unshare(8) for more details).

... it will be probably available in util-linux v2.28 (~ January 2016).

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

logger v2.28

logger is small util to send log messages from command line. It supports (relatively) a new systemd journal as well as classic syslog. The syslog is still de-facto standard for enterprise admins and the latest logger version add support for RFC5424. This RFC introduces "structured-data" and since v2.28 logger is going to support this feature too.

The structured data is parse-able part of the message in format:

 [SD-ID[@digits] SD-PARAM="value" SD-PARAM="value" ...]
for exmaple:
 <13>1 2015-10-01T14:07:59.168662+02:00 ws kzak - - [timeQuality tzKnown="1" isSynced="1" syncAccuracy="218616"] message
is complete message. The message structured data contains one element with ID "timeQuality". This is standardized element, the custom user defined elements have to use "@digits" suffix in the ID name. It's possible to have arbitrary number of the structured data elements.

And now this functionality is completely exported to logger command line to provide control over the elements, v2.28 is going to introduce two new options, --sd-id to specify structured data element ID and --sd-param to specify one SD-PARAM=value pair, for example:

 logger --rfc5424 --sd-id zoo@123                \
                  --sd-param tiger=\"hungry\"    \
                  --sd-param zebra=\"running\"   \
                  --sd-id manager@123            \
                  --sd-param onMeeting=\"yes\"   \
                  "this is message"   
  <13>1 2015-10-01T14:07:59.168662+02:00 ws kzak - - [timeQuality tzKnown="1" isSynced="1" syncAccuracy="218616"][zoo@123 tiger="hungry" zebra="running"][manager@123 onMeeting="yes"] this is message
message with three SD elements: timeQuality build-in element, zoo@123 and manager@123 user defined elements.

Now all you need is smart server side or log indexing tool that understand RFC5424 (e.g. rsyslog).

Thursday, September 17, 2015

what's cooking in sfdisk for v2.28

I have worked on new features for sfdisk during v2.27 stabilisation. The most user visible change is partitions resize/move improvements. Now (in git tree) sfdisk is able to move partition together with data on the partition. Let's imagine you have disk with three partitions:
Device       Start     End Sectors  Size Type
/dev/sdc1     2048  206847  204800  100M Linux filesystem
/dev/sdc2   206848 1230847 1024000  500M Linux filesystem
/dev/sdc3  1230848 2047966  817119  399M Linux filesystem
where the last partition is your ex-girlfriend /home and the first partition is almost full of pictures. Now you want to remove the last unnecessary partition and enlarge the first partition. And you don't want to lost data on the first and second partitions.

(You have backup of all data, because you understand that all operations related to the partition table are risky. Right? :-)

Let's delete the last partition:

  # sfdisk /dev/sdc --delete 3
Now move the second partition to the end of the device. The size of the deleted sdc3 was 817119 sectors. The sfdisk expects input in format
where "+num" means offset or size relative to the original partition setting. If any number is unspecified than default is to use the current setting -- it means that "+817119" is enough. (Note that -N 2 means second partition.)
# echo '+817119' | sfdisk /dev/sdc -N 2 --move-data
Old situation:
Device      Start     End Sectors  Size Type
/dev/sdc1    2048  206847  204800  100M Linux filesystem
/dev/sdc2  206848 1230847 1024000  500M Linux filesystem
New situation:                        

Device       Start     End Sectors  Size Type            
/dev/sdc1     2048  206847  204800  100M Linux filesystem
/dev/sdc2  1023967 2047966 1024000  500M Linux filesystem

Data move:                            
 typescript file: /root/sfdisk-sdc2.move
 old start: 206848, new start: 1023967 (move 1024000 sectors)
The important detail is --move-data option, it forces sfdisk after partition table modification copy data from old area to the new offsets. The source and target may overlap (sfdisk copy sectors in backward order if necessary). The file /root/sfdisk-sdc2.move is log with details about the change.

The last step is to enlarge the first partition to use all available free space (space originally used by the second partition). The string ",+" keeps start offset unchanged and the size is specified as "+" (all available space).

# echo ',+' | sfdisk /dev/sdc -N 1
Old situation:
Device       Start     End Sectors  Size Type
/dev/sdc1     2048  206847  204800  100M Linux filesystem
/dev/sdc2  1023967 2047966 1024000  500M Linux filesystem
New situation:
Device       Start     End Sectors  Size Type
/dev/sdc1     2048 1023966 1021919  499M Linux filesystem
/dev/sdc2  1023967 2047966 1024000  500M Linux filesystem
And now inform filesystem about a new space:
# resize2fs /dev/sdc1
and test all by mount:
# mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt/A
# mount /dev/sdc2 /mnt/B
# lsblk /dev/sdc
sdc      8:32   0 1000M  0 disk
├─sdc1   8:33   0  499M  0 part /mnt/A
└─sdc2   8:34   0  500M  0 part /mnt/B

Thursday, July 23, 2015

lsipc new command to list IPC facilities

Although it seems that System V IPC is obsolete thing, it's still used by many (enterprise) tools like databases, application servers etc.

The classic tool ipcs(1) provides basic overview, unfortunately the output is very fixed and it's impossible to mix the output columns (for example --pid and --creator cannot be used together etc.). It's also very difficult to extend the current implementation without break backward compatibility.

The solution is a new libsmartcols based tool: lsipc(1). It's like many another util-linux ls-like tools, columns are maintains independently, it's easy to extend, user has absolute control on the output and it provides more output formats (including JSON).

The important and unique is the default (--global) output:
# lsipc
RESOURCE DESCRIPTION                            LIMIT   USED  USE%
MSGMNI   Number of message queues               32000      0 0.00%
MSGMAX   Max size of message (bytes)             8192      0 0.00%
MSGMNB   Default max size of queue (bytes)      16384      0 0.00%
SHMMNI   Shared memory segments                  4096     21 0.51%
SHMALL   Shared memory pages                268435456 294049 0.11%
SEMMNS   Total number of semaphores        1024000000      0 0.00%
SEMMNI   Number of Semaphore IDs                32000      0 0.00%
the information about shared memory is provided with COMMAND column, that makes things more human friendly:
# lsipc --shmem
0x6c6c6536 0        rw-------  root   4K      0        Jul16   288  288
0x00000000 327681   rw-------  kzak   4M      2 dest   Jul16  1487  992 gjs /home/kzak/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions/
0x00000000 393219   rw-------  kzak 512K      2 dest   Jul16  1141 2853 /usr/bin/gnome-shell
0x00000000 2064389  rw-------  kzak 384K      2 dest   Jul17  9443  992 xchat
0x00000000 47611910 rw-------  kzak   8M      2 dest   10:07  2853  804 /usr/lib64/firefox/firefox
0x00000000 2228231  rw-------  kzak 384K      2 dest   Jul17  9443  992 xchat
0x00000000 2195464  rw-------  kzak   2M      2 dest   Jul17  9443  992 xchat
0x00000000 42303503 rw-------  kzak   8M      2 dest   Jul22  1340  992 /usr/bin/gnome-software --gapplication-service
0x00000000 42270736 rw-------  kzak   4M      2 dest   Jul22  1340  992 /usr/bin/gnome-software --gapplication-service
0x00000000 43188243 rw-------  kzak   4M      2 dest   Jul22  8873 1845 /usr/libexec/gnome-terminal-server
0x00000000 33882133 rw-------  kzak 384K      2 dest   Jul20 26049  992 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/hp-systray --force-startup
and you can define your own output:
# lsipc --shmem -o KEY,SIZE,PERMS
KEY        SIZE     PERMS
0x6c6c6536   4K rw-------
0x00000000   4M rw-------
0x00000000 512K rw-------
0x00000000 384K rw-------
0x00000000   8M rw-------
0x00000000 384K rw-------
0x00000000   2M rw-------
0x00000000   8M rw-------
0x00000000   4M rw-------
0x00000000   4M rw-------
0x00000000 384K rw-------
or ask for specific segment:
# lsipc --shmem --id 47611910
Key:                                0x00000000
ID:                                 47611910
Owner:                              kzak
Permissions:                        rw-------
Creator UID:                        1000
Creator user:                       kzak
Creator GID:                        1000
Creator group:                      kzak
UID:                                1000
User name:                          kzak
GID:                                1000
Group name:                         kzak
Last change:                        Thu Jul 23 10:07:46 2015
Segment size:                       8M
Attached processes:                 2
Status:                             dest
Attach time:                        Thu Jul 23 10:07:46 2015
Creator command:                    /usr/lib64/firefox/firefox
Creator PID:                        2853
Last user PID:                      804
and it should be easy to export complex info about IPC to the monitoring tool:
# lsipc --json -o resource,limit,used
   "ipclimits": [
      {"resource": "MSGMNI", "limit": "32000", "used": "0"},
      {"resource": "MSGMAX", "limit": "8192", "used": "0"},
      {"resource": "MSGMNB", "limit": "16384", "used": "0"},
      {"resource": "SHMMNI", "limit": "4096", "used": "11"},
      {"resource": "SHMALL", "limit": "268435456", "used": "8097"},
      {"resource": "SEMMNS", "limit": "1024000000", "used": "0"},
      {"resource": "SEMMNI", "limit": "32000", "used": "0"}
lsipc(1) will be available in util-linux v2.27 (probaly August 2015).