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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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