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    SubjectRe: I discussed reading directories as files with jra, Stallman, and loic
    Pavel Machek writes:
    > Hi!
    >
    > > It was two separate conversations, but they both go together. I ask
    > > that they correct me if I unfairly summarize their words.
    > >
    > > Jeremy wants in the FS what he can get with Microsoft streams and
    > > Macintosh forks. That is, he wants to be able to name an object, and
    > > read it, and get something, and he wants to be able to add something
    > > that goes into that object, and stays with it when the object gets moved.
    > > He wants this because he is a Samba author, and it will make his life a
    > > lot easier to have it when Windows 2000 comes out.
    >
    > Oops. Should not he do it himself? This will make samba non-portable
    > and what is worse samba will not run on ext2.

    Well, actually, he first wanted XFS style resource forks, and I talked
    him into this.

    We have to innovate in FS design. For too long FS semantics design has
    stagnated.

    >
    > > Next files need to be able to inherit stat data, so that a file can
    > > share its modification time with its parent directory, so that modifying
    > > the file changes the mod time on the directory.
    >
    > Is sharing modtime this critical? I can see samba asking for both
    > times and then just exporting the newer one :-).

    Yuck. That is an ugly hack. Inheritance is worth doing for reasons other
    than this.

    >
    > > Now let's skip ahead to my conversation with rms and loic@ceic.com which
    > > came after talking with Jeremy..
    > >
    > > This time we discussed how you might read and edit the contents of a
    > > directory as an aggregation within one buffer. The examples were
    > > editing /etc/passwd and /etc/services within emacs, with passwd and
    > > services converted into directories. Imagine that passwd is converted
    > > into a directory, with each line being a separate file, and each file
    > > (line) having a separate modification time. Clearly something useful.
    > > Reading it is easy, you have a read on the directory return the
    > > concatenation of the files.
    >
    > This should be done in userspace. Editing /etc/passwd is certainly not
    > performance critical so podfuk is just the right
    > answer. (http://atrey.karlin.mff.cuni.cz/~pavel/podfuk/podfuk.html).
    >
    > Pavel

    I am not going to avoid innovating in the kernel just so that there is
    more functionality for your FS to implement in user space.

    Just because /etc/passwd is not performance critical does not mean that
    other applications aren't performance bound.

    As for the general tone of your email, let me just say that I differ
    from other FS designers in that I actually think that the features
    application developers ask for are normally motivated by real needs, and
    that while I may distill their needs a little for them, I do believe in
    listening to them.

    Besides, the feature is going to be neat....:-)

    Hans

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