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A mount that follows a symlink at /etc/mtab

One of the remaining obstacles to running cleanly with root fs
mounted read-only has been the mount program, which can only
write the mtab file to /etc/.  Currently, if /etc/mtab is a
symbolic link then mount will not write to it.  People have
wished (# 94076, #154438) that mount would follow a symlink at
/etc/mtab so that it could point somewhere like /run/mtab .

I have written a new patch to make mount do this.  The patched
program will write mtab through a symlink that leads anywhere
but into /proc/ .  Lock and temporary mtab files are generated
in the same directory as the mtab file.  The patched program
works properly on my machine.  However, because this program is
so important it should receive wider testing before I submit it
upstream.  N.B.: if there turn out to be bugs in the program
then you might face the inconvenience of having to boot from a
CD-ROM in order to restore the old version of mount.

My patch is available via the link at the top of this page:

The new version of the mount program (2.12pre) to which it applies
is available here:
(I built the new [u]mount programs by copying Debian's MCONFIG file
out of the Debian util-linux-2.11z source dir and running
"./configure" and "make".)

Please let me know whether or not you have any problems.
Thomas Hood

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