Re: [PATCH] vfs: relax linkat() AT_EMPTY_PATH - aka flink() - requirements

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Side note: I'd really like to relax another unrelated AT_EMPTY_PATH
issue: we should just allow a NULL path for that case.

The requirement that you pass an actual empty string is insane. It's
wrong. And it adds a noticeable amount of expense to this path,
because just getting the single byte and looking it up is fairly

This was more noticeable because glibc at one point (still?) did

        newfstatat(6, "", buf, AT_EMPTY_PATH)

when it should have just done a simple "fstat()".

So there were (are?) a *LOT* of AT_EMPTY_PATH users, and they all do a
pointless "let's copy a string from user space".

And yes, I know exactly why AT_EMPTY_PATH exists: because POSIX
traditionally says that a path of "" has to return -ENOENT, not the
current working directory. So AT_EMPTY_PATH basically says "allow the
empty path for lookup".

But while it *allows* the empty path, it does't *force* it, so it
doesn't mean "avoid the lookup", and we really end up doing a lot of
extra work just for this case. Just the user string copy is a big deal
because of the whole overhead of accessing user space, but it's also
the whole "allocate memory for the path etc".

If we either said "a NULL path with AT_EMPTY_PATH means empty", or
even just added a new AT_NULL_PATH thing that means "path has to be
NULL, and it means the same as AT_EMPTY_PATH with an empty path", we'd
be able to avoid quite a bit of pointless work.


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