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am-utils and recent kernels

Hi people,

I'm here to ask for your thoughts about what I should do with the am- utils automounter in Lenny.

Recent kernels are more picky about some aspects of NFS, which has exposed a bug in am-utils. See:


The problem exists severely with 2.6.25 and later, with am-utils pretty much failing to work at all. But the problem is actually more insidious than that, and may need fixing in etch-and-a-half; am-utils with kernels 2.6.19-2.6.24 does not fail completely, but locking isn't working correctly.

There has been much comment about this on the am-utils mailing list, but so far no-one from the upstream developers has commented. I have a nasty feeling the project may now be dead - there hasn't been a release for some years.

Fortunately there is a workaround: change the default method am-utils uses for creating its intercepts from userland NFS to using the kernel's autofs implementation. This works well, and has some other advantages; it's much faster and doesn't suffer from amd's traditional pwd problem. But that last improvement is also a potential issue; because it does break backward compatibility to a certain extent. Any software the user has which has been relying on the value of pwd to store configuration information, for example, will break.

An example is GNOME at sites where home directories are automounted from an NFS server. GNOME hard codes your home directory into its config files, and unfortunately it uses pwd for that, rather than the returned result from getpwent(), or similar.

So I'm in a bit of a quandary, here. For new installations, clearly making autofs the default mount_type is sensible. But what can I do for existing installations? Ideally, I'd like to fix the upstream bug, but it's a bit beyond my capabilities, especially without assistance from the upstream team.

Anyone got any thoughts?


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