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SubjectRe: silent semantic changes with reiser4
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Rik van Riel <riel@redhat.com> said:
> On Thu, 26 Aug 2004, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> > So "/tmp/bash" is _not_ two different things. It is _one_ entity, that
> > contains both a standard data stream (the "file" part) _and_ pointers to
> > other named streams (the "directory" part).

> Thinking about it some more, how would file managers and
> file chosers handle this situation ?
>
> Currently the user browses the directory tree and when
> the user clicks on something, one of the following
> happens:
>
> 1) if it is a directory, the file manager/choser changes
> into that directory
>
> 2) if it is a file, the file is opened

And now you have a mess. Is it "really" a file, or a directory? Why not
just keep both well apart, and stay happy? I just fail to see what could be
gained by having directories that really aren't, and files that aren't
either. Use a directory if you want one, use a file elsewhere.

> Now how do we present things to users ?
>
> How will users know when an object can only be chdired
> into, or only be opened ?

Easy: It is a directory, or it isn't.

> For objects that do both, how does the user choose ?

Don't give silly choices.

> Do we really want to have a file paradigm that's different
> from the other OSes out there ?

I vote "no". There are/have been OSes with weird "files", none of them
survived to get anywhere as popular as Unix and "file == stream of
bytes". Even with much simpler variants like files as sequences of
records. For a good reason: The Unix way is simple, and extremely flexible,
as my proggie can define at its own whim how to handle what's inside. If a
single stream isn't enough, we have directories. No need to innovate there.

> What happens when users want to transfer data from Linux
> to another system ?

Or between Linux systems with different kernels that happen to implement
different views/metadata on files.
Please do remember devfs: It sounded like a cool idea, got into the kernel
just to be thrown out later because nobody used it. Much heat was
generated, nothing of permanent value. This looks the same: A very vocal
tiny minority is clamoring for something completely non-Unix for totally
bogus reasons. What happened to "code talks, bullshit walks"? There is _no_
code (== real-world, user programs that can't be done efficiently enough
without this), so this nonsense should just be thrown out, and everybody go
back to real hacking.
--
Dr. Horst H. von Brand User #22616 counter.li.org
Departamento de Informatica Fono: +56 32 654431
Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria +56 32 654239
Casilla 110-V, Valparaiso, Chile Fax: +56 32 797513
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