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SubjectRe: devfs again, (was RE: USB device allocation)
On Thu, 7 Oct 1999, Horst von Brand wrote:

> This is _horrible_. Suddenly there are files whose attributes aren't fixed
> by chmod(1)/chown(1), but by a magic file.
>
> Again. The way Unix is designed, permanent information about files resides
> in the filesystem. Another basic Unix design premise is that devices are
> files. So their attributes reside in the filesystem. Anything else breaks
> much ("tar cf dev.tar /dev", ..., "tar xf dev.tar /dev" doesn't work
> anymore (but it looks like it does!); can't dump/restore /dev; ...). It
> might also have _very_ serious security implications (what if the magic
> devfs.conf file goes missing, or is clobbered?)

Agreed, this can be a problem, hence my thoughts on a set of /dev
files that reside on the filesystem pointing to /devices, which can be
thought of as basically the same thing as major,minor pairs, w/ the
exception that they are names (And as such much more scalable, and often
easier to understand). Unfortunately, I don't know enough about how
devices work to know if something like this is even possible.
I suppose you could take away /devices and change whatever you have
to to make major,minor pairs names instead... Then have a userspace daemon
that can do what it wants to the files, or they can be modified by hand.
Of course, this looses us the (debated) advantage of having /dev being in
memory instead of on disk.
Then I ask you, how can a script find out specific information
about what hardware exists on the system? Run through everything in /dev?
If /dev is fully populated, this could take a while... /proc gives us
some data currently, though it's not in a very standard fashion, and
currently would be hard for a script or program to parse out.
Curious, what are your feelings on /proc, anyhow?

Stephen


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