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sandboxfs is a FUSE-based file system that exposes an arbitrary view of the host’s file system under the mount point, and offers access controls that differ from those of the host. You can think of sandboxfs as an advanced version of bindfs (or mount --bind or mount_null(8) depending on your system) in which you can combine and nest directories under an arbitrary layout. The primary use case for this project is to provide a better file system sandboxing technique for the Bazel build system.
Last week, I spent some time looking at the feasibility of using SSHFS on OS X to access Google’s centralized source tree for the purpose of issuing local builds. My goals were two-fold: first, to avoid having to “clone” the large source code of the apps I wanted to build; and, second, to avoid having to port the source file system (a FUSE module) to the Mac. What I found highlights that SSHFS is not the right choice for locally building a remote source tree. That said, the overall study process was interesting, fun, and I am now tempted to make SSHFS viable for this use case. Read on for the details.