Overview of FUSE Filesystems

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  • DevynCJohnson
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    • @devyncjohnson

    Many filesystems are available for FUSE (Filesystem in Userspace). It may be interesting or helpful to know some FUSE filesystems and what they have to offer to you or your system.

    ChunkFS - This virtual filesystem (http://chunkfs.florz.de/) is perfect for backups. This is because it manages block sizes very efficiently. Not every block on the filesystem is the same size like they are on "real" filesystems.

    Copy-FUSE - This virtual filesystem (VFS) is written in Python (https://github.com/copy-app/copy-fuse/). Users can mount this filesystem and access their cloud storage on Copy.com. This FUSE filesystem makes the cloud storage on copy.com appear to be local storage.

    dereferencefs - The Dereference FileSystem is a filesystem that updates symlinks when files are moved.

    GmailFS - The Google Mail FileSystem allows users to store files on their Gmail account as mail. Technically, Google's "terms of use" would make GmailFS's use a violation of the rules. If Google knows you are using GmailFS, then your account may be terminated. So, do not use GmailFS.

    hierfs - Imagine you have multiple CDs/DVDs in multiple disc-readers. You may want all of the optical media to act as one storage unit. With the Hierarchical storage FileSystem (http://hierfs.sourceforge.net/), the multiple optical discs appear to be a single hard-drive.

    mp3fs - The MP3 Filesystem (http://khenriks.github.io/mp3fs/) is a virtual filesystem that converts FLAC files to MP3 files instantly. Mount a filesystem containing FLAC files to a specific directory and mount it using "mp3fs" as seen below.

    mp3fs -b 192 /media/music/ ~/fuse/mp3/ -o allow_other,ro

    The "-b 192" sets the MP3 bitrate to 192. The first mentioned path is the location of the FLAC files. The second path is where the mp3fs should be mounted. The rest of the parameters control permissions. When a user looks in /media/music/, they will see the FLAC files. When the users views the contents of ~/fuse/mp3/, they will see all of the FLAC files, but in the form of MP3 files. If a FLAC file is added to /media/music/, then the user will see a new MP3 file in the MP3 Filesystem. Users can copy the virtual MP3 files and paste them onto a memory-card or hard-drive for use somewhere else. Users can use mp3fs to convert their FLAC files or if the user needs both FLAC and MP3 files, but does not want to permanently use up extra space by having both formats for "real". As soon as mp3fs is unmounted, the MP3 files are gone.

    NOTE: Users may use other paths. The paths mentioned above are used for demonstration. You may mount mp3fs where ever you need.

    mtpfs - This filesystem (http://www.adebenham.com/mtpfs/) is used to mount MTP devices. MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) is used by specialized media devices.

    NHFS - The NHFS filesystem (Non-Hierarchical FileSystem) is a filesystem that allows users to place a file or directory into as many directories as users wish. To clarify, this means I can hardlink a file into /dir_1/ and /dir_2/. This allows users to categorize there files while permitting files to belong to more than one category. For illustration, a user might have a file that contains a cooking recipe (cake.txt). The user decides to put cake.txt in /fav/recipes/ and /recipes/junk_food/. If cake.txt is changed in /fav/recipes/, then the change will also take place in /recipes/junk_food/ because both files are actually one and the same. (http://rffr.de/nhfs)

    TagFS - The Tag FileSystem (https://github.com/marook/tagfs/wiki) allows users to organize and classify files based on tags. Users first make some directories and place related files inside. Make a ".tag" file (this is a hidden file) and type some words that are relevant to the files in the same directory as ".tag". Place each "tag" on its own line in the ".tag" file. The filesystem will then make a hierarchy that places files into directories based on a particular tag line they share. This means that all files that have a tag line "Asia" will be placed in a folder titled "Asia".

    • Mount: tagfs.py -i /path/to/my/items/directory /path/to/my/mount/point
    • Unmount: fusermount -u /path/to/my/mount/point

    WikipediaFS - The Wikipedia FileSystem makes the Wikipedia articles appear as files on the local system (http://wikipediafs.sourceforge.net/). This allows users to edit articles by opening a file with their preferred text editor as if these were real files on the user's hard-drive. Yes, this is legal and accepted, just remember to respect Wikipedia's standards when editing articles.

    Yacufs - Yacufs is a lot like mp3fs, but it also converts ogg files (in addition to FLAC files) to MP3 files.

    Many other FUSE filesystems exist publicly and privately. Developers continue to make more and better FUSE filesystems. For more FUSE filesystems, check out http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/fuse/index.php?title=FileSystems

    Further Reading

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