fstab in FreeBSD jails


This was a silly mistake I made. In sharing it, maybe you’ll avoid being as silly. Read up on my introduction to FreeBSD jails featuring Gawr Gura if you need context.

I had defined an fstab for my jail called ina, with some nullfs mounts. This lets you pass in a mounted device or volume into the jail. In this case I’m using ro to use as read-only; you can just as easily do this with rw for rewriteable:

# cat /etc/fstab.ina   
==> # Device  Mountpoint        FStype  Options  Dump  Pass#
==> /zpoolx   /jail/ina/zpoolx  nullfs  ro       0     0

So imagine my surprise when I booted ina and there was nothing there:

# service jail start ina
# jexec ina /bin/sh
# ls /zpoolx
# ==> *crickets*

Turns out that I hadn’t added the appropriate fstab option to the jail-specific config in my jail.conf file.

ina {

Ruby on Rails was the first place where I read convention over configuration, and I’ve held it near and dear since. As much of my jail.conf is consistent with the name of the jail for things like its path and hostname:


But while I use a convention of /etc/fstab.${name} for each jail, I define it manually within each jail’s config. Not all jails have extra mountpoints.

Maybe I could define a generic mountpoint line as I did for path and host, and use empty fstab files in those cases. Those are still valid, even if it does feel a bit like a hack.

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