Everything's Better With Cats

Posted: Thu, 3 January 2013 | permalink | 2 Comments

The ancient Egyptians were a pretty cool bunch, but their worship of cats really added something to their civilisation (double bonus: their word for “cat” was “mau”). The Internet itself, while undeniably a fantastic resource, reached new heights with the introduction of LOLCats. If you are cat-poor, you can swap your shabby tat for a tabby cat, while if you’ve gone a bit overboard you can sell your excess cats to cat converters.

However, cats have found minimal employment in systems administration. Until now. As the day job have been early adopters of btrfs, everyone at work has been very interested in the reported hash DoS of btrfs. It has been a topic of considerable discussion around the office. However, it can be a tough topic to explain to people less well versed in the arcana of computer science.

Not to be deterred, Barney, our tech writer, took the standard explanation, added some cats, and came up with an explanation of the btrfs hash DoS that your parents can understand. The density of cat-related puns is impressive.

(Incidentally, if you don’t need cats to understand btrfs hash DoS attacks, and live in the Sydney area, you might be interested in working for Anchor as a sysadmin).


From: Roberto
2013-01-03 20:12

The part about cats is very interesting, but what got my eye is that you use btrfs at your job. Do you use it with Debian or Ubuntu? How do you deal with the dpkg/fsync problem? (http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=635993) Personally, I used a patched dpkg that didn’t that many fsyncs, but I don’t like to use it in production servers.

Thanks in advance!

(please, send me a heads up by mail if you reply, I follow your blog through Debian’s planet and might not notice quickly; thanks again :-))

From: Matt Palmer
2013-01-04 07:10


We’re not quite game enough to use as root filesystems; for that scenario, ext4 does the trick quite nicely. We’re using btrfs in places where subvolume snapshots come in handy. Package build servers, for instance, use schroot with btrfs to create and teardown chroots quickly and easily. The main production usage, though, is on our backup servers, where we run a patched dirvish to keep multiple snapshots of systems without needing to incur so much disk space usage.

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