Introduction to LanyFS

Back in July 2012, I had the privilege of talking with Dan Luedtke. He was busy working on a new project for his studies, developing a new filesystem called LanyFS (or LanyardFS). After Dan giving me a brief introduction as to the technical details and specifications of LanyFS, he was kind enough to provide me with an exclusive look at his Master Thesis for the development of LanyFS. It was provided exclusively to Unixmen, on the basis that it was our own research and stressed that I would not publish the paper. I honored Dan’s wish and did not publish it. Thankfully, Dan has publicly done so himself and it can be downloaded and read on the LanyFS web page here.

There are many filesystems readily available for use. Dan states that nothing he encountered was satisfactory to his requirements. Resulting in the concept of LanyFS being designed. The basis of LanyFS is to be very minimal on features to a point that developers could refer to as featureless. LanyFS is a great concept.

Many of the current mature and mainstream filesystems such as ReiserFS, Ext3/4 and BtrFS have many features which covers many different systems, devices and setups. But this is part of the problem when it comes to formatting removable media with these filesystems. It is feature bloat for seemingly such a simple task on such a little device.

Dan’s primary aim was to eliminate all of such bloat and primarily focus on only what is necessary to make the filesystem work-Read, copy and write to the media. In a traditional sense, it could be viewed as a step backwards. But when you read the development notes and thesis papers behind Dan’s work, you come to really understand what he is trying to achieve with LanyFS.

Dan has released a patch for the Linux kernel so that LanyFS can actually be used and tested using the lanyfs-utils package.

Dan admits, the filesystem is not perfect, not complete and requires a lot more attention before it is ready for real world production use. But the fundamental base package is there and Dan is open for other interested parties and developers to contribute. And he claims that there are also developers currently working on a port of the filesystem for FreeBSD.

I wish to thank Dan for the time he took to talk to me about LanyFS. He trusted me enough to give Unixmen a very early look in to the project. And I was impressed from the beginning.