FUSE: Filesystem In Userspace


There has been a lot of buzz this week about Flickrfs the virtual filesystem for Flickr. Using Flickrfs you can interact with Flickr tags and photos just like your regular filesystem. A similar service is GmailFS which lets you mount a Gmail account as a large virtual filesystem. Both of these services are built on top of FUSE. FUSE makes it easy to build fully functional filesystems inside of a userspace program. Users can script and manipulate files just like their regular files. FUSE is now part of the main Linux kernel with release 2.6.14. Check out the list of other interesting filesystems built using FUSE. Of particular interest: WikipediaFS, SMB for FUSE is similar to Network Neighborhood, SSHFS, btslave to mount torrent files, and djmount is a UPnP AV client.

21 thoughts on “FUSE: Filesystem In Userspace

  1. Likewise, I am terrible with hacking hardware. I did the hack awhile ago about extending the antenna of my FM Transmitter, well, long story short it’s still in pieces and I can’t get the power cords soldered back on ;(.

    Also, anyone know about using gmail for file storage, because I tried one program and it didn’t work. Any ideas? Windows/Linux programs please.

    Anyway, have to go finish installing Mac OSx86, ciao.

  2. This is where I downloaded the Gmail FS program. Just installed it last week so it’s still working for me. The only suggestion that I have is to make sure that you don’t want to use that account for e-mail, cause this will fill up your inbox pretty quick. Also, you’re limited to files 10 megs or less which is just an inherent gmail limit. I mainly use it to back up photos and documents or any mp3’s that I’d like to access from elsewhere.


  3. now what would be awsome would be an gmailfs that can run from a pen drive. that way i could have the equivelent of a 3 gig pen drive if i have net acses, if not i can still have my importent files on the 512.

  4. “if not i can still have my importent files on the 512.”

    Don’t take this personally cokebottel tuque, I’m just using your statement as an example.

    This is a dangerous line of thought. It has to be placed in a context and you have to think about what you’re storing and why you think it ought to be kept safe.

    From a file loss/destruction standpoint, using gmailfs is a reasonable safeguard. Google isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. However, it is important to remember that it is a corporation that is giving you something for free that it can take away whenever it wants. This means that gmail could not exist tomorrow, and tough nuts for you, your stuff is gone.

    From a security view, its also about the same. I can steal your thumbdrive, but you’d notice pretty soon that it was gone. What happens if your gmail account gets broken? When would you find out?

    I’m pretty sure that I am preaching to the chior around here. I feel obligated to bring this up every now and again when the discussion of safe, secure, reliable, etc storage comes up.

    Getting back to the topic, any idea when this new badboy filesystem is coming to my windows box??

  5. yeah ez, 10mb limit in gmail fs :-) Note post #4 :-)

    Also, not to use this space for a shameless plug, but if anyone out there is into modding or any kind of project or just anything cool, even if not a true “hack”, e-mail me at seanporter@NOSPAM.gmail.com I’m trying to get a website going featuring PC mods and other things that aren’t always as hardcore as they are around these parts.

  6. I am more of a developer than a hw/sw hacker, so I was thinking about making a FUSE fs port for windows. I googled this subject sometime ago and there are some docs from microsoft and comercial dev kits to mount a “software fs”. Open source for sure, probably on sf.net. Just say what do you think about this idea..

  7. Jihad: by important I ment stuff that I need to have with me at school, such as my homework. not financial documents or anything that would be a security risk, and yes I do know just how easy it would be to steal my flash drive. we used to play steal the other guys keys with out him noticing in high school, it was dam easy. but still it would be nice to have more than 200 mb of mp3s with me. also what do I care if gmail kills the account? I back up just like any reasonable person should. Just make a new one and UL the files.

  8. “so I was thinking about making a FUSE fs port for windows”

    I would love to see that happen, it’s sad that only Linux users get to enjoy these nifty FS tools right now.

  9. A couple of us on the fuse mailing list have independantly tried using a virtualised linux running on winxp as a proxy for fuse-based systems (re-exporting to windows using smbfs) – it’s not too hard to set up and it works quite well. My only complaint about my prototype is that I based it on a full desktop linux distro, so it’s a memory pig – when I redo it with a more lightweight linux distro I’ll put it online for download. Probably as a vmware player image. I’m using this hack right now to mirror the contents of my WinXP “My Documents” folder to a remote directory in near real-time.

  10. hi all,

    I read mention of a windows port. Just wanted everyone to know that I finally am dumping windows (but not cold turkey). I bought a new mac mini running Leopard and installed NTfuse so I could read ntfs drives. I am testing the gmailfs, gdocsfs and flickrfs libraries.

    One other app that I bought (omg) for $80 is VMWare Fusion by VMware. Using this program and a free VmConverter application on the pc side I was able to make a copy of my vista machine and integrate the vista applications directly into my Mac menu using a feature called Unity.

    The moral of this story is that there is really no need for the windows port and some would argue that Windows is dead; they just don’t know it yet. In any case using Unity I can keep my licenses for Windows apps that I already own (MSOffice, Visual Studio, etc.). I run these apps directly through Mac menus and it seems like I get better performance through the VM.

    The performance might be because I slimmed down the VM by removing all of the garbage that comes on your basic Vista box. A VM has no need for any vendor specific software. Anyhow I hope someone finds this useful and thanks for the post.

  11. Tommie!? Windows isn’t dead you are still using your windows licensing. Windows is dead when no one is using it. The reason I think that’s so funny is virtualization slims down hardware purchases but makes redundant software inevitable. One way to shave this down immediate cost is if one chooses not pay for their host/dom0 OS and hypervisor.

    I used to use VMware Server for testing now I use xVM VirtualBox, it’s pay optional and available for many x86 OSes. There are also many other well developed Xen based products on the x86 platform. If you want to be on the bleeding edge and save your pennys go with Linux/FreeBSD/OpenSolaris and KVM/Xen.

    To pay or not to pay is another question. I would go as far as to say virtualization on the desktop is a commonly available tool. You can easily get away with freebies on the desktop. However if someone thinks this is a wise idea for enterprise you are dead wrong. In a mid to large environment one will either pay now or later. There are a lot of things that can be done to decrease resource consumption in complex environments that simply doesn’t apply to desktops.

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