3.4. Using Freelance (Dynamic Root) Mode to Improve Mobility

Historically, when the OpenAFS Client Service starts it must mount the "root.afs" volume of the default cell. The "root.afs" volume contains the set of mount points to the "root.cell" volumes of various cells the administrator of the default cell believes should be accessible. If the "root.afs" volume is inaccessible when the client service starts, the service will terminate unexpectedly. Since many users now use laptops or otherwise operate in disconnected environments in which a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection may be required to access the cell's servers, it is often the case that the "root.afs" volume is unreachable and the OpenAFS Client Service can not successfully start.

Freelance mode dynamically constructs a fake "root.afs" volume from mount points and symlinks stored in the local registry. This permits the OpenAFS Client Service to operate in these environments.

The content of the fake "root.afs" volume is dynamically generated as cells are accessed. When the fake "root.afs" volume is initially constructed it will only contain two mount points: a regular path and read-write path mount point used to access the "root.cell" volume of the default AFS cell. Any attempt to access a valid cell name will result in a new mount point being created in the fake "root.afs" volume. If the cellname begins with a "." the mount point will be a read-write path; otherwise the mount point will be a regular path. These mount points are preserved in the registry at key:


Additional mount points may be manually created using the "fs mkmount" command. Mount points may be removed using the "fs rmmount" command.

>fs mkmount \\AFS\athena.mit.edu root.cell athena.mit.edu

>fs mkmount \\AFS\.athena.mit.edu root.cell athena.mit.edu -rw

>fs rmmount \\AFS\athena.mit.edu

>fs rmmount \\AFS\.athena.mit.edu

Symlinks may also be created within the Freelance "root.afs" volume.

>symlink make \\afs\link \\afs\athena.mit.edu\user\j\a\jaltman

>symlink list \\afs\link

'\\afs\link' is a symlink to 'athena.mit.edu\user\j\a\jaltman'

>symlink rm \\afs\link

The symlinks are stored in the registry at:


NET VIEW \\AFS can be used to browse all of the entries from the command line.