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From "Charles Baker" <cba...@sdl.com>
Subject RE: relative symbolic links in HDFS
Date Mon, 31 Oct 2011 21:19:42 GMT
I did a hasty test initially of getLinkTarget() but forgot to also use the
same for the input path to FileContext#createSymlink() so yeah, turns out it
does indeed work. Sorry about that. Looks like I won't need to modify
FileContext after all which is good :)

The rationale of keeping things consistent so as not to break compatibility
makes sense, it just isn't that intuitive coming at it from a 'fresh'
perspective. Was the original idea to return the symlink information in
getFileStatus() instead of having to access it via  getFileLinkStatus()?
Maybe it's naive but it seems like you could just rename getFileLinkStatus()
to getFileStatus() and none would be the wiser...

Regardless, I do think it makes sense to have a convenience method to get the
raw path that was supplied at symlink creation. The first thing I tried was
Path#toString() so that I guess is pretty intuitive but I can't comment on
whether that would break compatibility.



-----Original Message-----
From: Eli Collins [mailto:eli@cloudera.com] 
Sent: Monday, October 31, 2011 11:45 AM
To: hdfs-dev@hadoop.apache.org
Subject: Re: relative symbolic links in HDFS

On Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 9:27 AM, Charles Baker <cbaker@sdl.com> wrote:
> Hey guys. Thanks for the replies. Fully qualified symbolic links are
> problematic in that when we wish to restore a directory structure
> symlinks from HDFS to local filesystem, the relativity is lost. For
> /user/cbaker/foo/
>                link1 -> ../../cbaker
> The current behavior of getFileLinkStatus() results in a path for link 1
> being:
> /user/cbaker
> Not:
> ../../cbaker
> Also, some symlinks may point to non-existent locations within HDFS which
> only have relevance to the local filesystem. This appears as though it
> (though I haven't tested yet) result in an exception when the attempt is
> to qualify it. If I get a chance, I'll try it out later today.
> FileContext.getLinkTarget() doesn't work for this case since it returns
> the final component of the target, not the complete relative path.

Really?  FC#getLinkTarget should return the target verbatim, as
specified by the user when creating the link:

Eg see test testCreateLinkToDotDotPrefix:
 fc.createSymlink(new Path("../file"), link, false);
 assertEquals(new Path("../file"), fc.getLinkTarget(link));

> But even
> if it did return the relative path, it seems counter-intuitive to me. I
> with Daryn and expect the behavior of getFileLinkStatus() to return the
> symlink as is and not presume that I wanted it qualified. If I wanted a
> qualified path for a symlink, I would expect to call Path.makeQualified()
> do so.

It does this because getFileStatus always returns fully qualified
paths in HDFS, and we don't make to make callers check the type and
care about the method that was used to obtain the FileStatus, eg to
know whether it contains a fully qualified path or not.

I think the original rationale for while FileStatus objects always
have fully qualified paths is so they can be passed around w/o callers
having to do future work to access them ie didn't want to disassociate
the path from the file system it exists on. Note that in Hadoop
"Paths" are actually URIs, vs file system paths (a subset of URIs).

Regardless of the rationale, changing getFileStatus to return objects
w/o fully qualified paths would break compatibility with a lot of
existing programs. It would also hinder people porting to FileContext
which tries to be consistent with FileSystem.

Would a new method on FileStatus or Path that returns the unqualified
version of the path (ie w/o the scheme and authority, and w/o
resolving relative paths relative to the FileContext) work?  Ie the
FileStatus could return the contents of the HdfsFileStatus w/o making
it fully qualified.

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