Item: Store and restore extended attributes, especially on ext3
Date: 28 July 2008
Origin: Jacky Hui <huichunkit at gmail>
What: The ability to store and restore extended attributes on filesystems
that support them, such as ext3.
Why: Many applications make use of extended attributes to store information
which is vital to the application. For example, samba uses extended
attributes to store important CIFS attributes in order to provide windows
compatibility to CIFS clients. Besides, Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux)
enabled systems make extensive use of
extended attributes as well. In addition to the standard user, group, and
each file has an associated SELinux context stored as an extended attribute.
One may use getfattr before a backup job to backup the extended attributes
but this is not feasible as a recursive getfattr call takes a long time on a
moderately sized user data partition.