IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems
Online ISSN : 1745-1361
Print ISSN : 0916-8532
Regular Section
File Systems are Hard to Test — Learning from Xfstests
Naohiro AOTAKenji KONO
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2019 Volume E102.D Issue 2 Pages 269-279


Modern file systems, such as ext4, btrfs, and XFS, are evolving and enable the introduction of new features to meet ever-changing demands and improve reliability. File system developers are struggling to eliminate all software bugs, but the operating system community points out that file systems are a hotbed of critical software bugs. This paper analyzes the code coverage of xfstests, a widely used suite of file system tests, on three major file systems (ext4, btrfs, and XFS). The coverage is 72.34%, and the uncovered code runs into 23,232 lines of code. To understand why the code coverage is low, the uncovered code is manually examined line by line. We identified three major causes, peculiar to file systems, that hinder higher coverage. First, covering all the features is difficult because each file system provides a wide variety of file-system specific features, and some features can be tested only on special storage devices. Second, covering all the execution paths is difficult because they depend on file system configurations and internal on-disk states. Finally, the code for maintaining backward-compatibility is executed only when a file system encounters old formats. Our findings will help file system developers improve the coverage of test suites and provide insights into fostering the development of new methodologies for testing file systems.

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© 2019 The Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers
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