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    SubjectRe: silent semantic changes in reiser4 (brief attempt to document the idea ofwhat reiser4 wants to do with metafiles and why
    On Thu, 09 Sep 2004 12:15:02 -0700, Hans Reiser <> wrote:
    > Putting \ into filenames makes windows compatibility less trivial.
    > Putting | into filenames seems like asking for trouble with shells.
    > Asking users to keep track of multiple levels of escapes imposed by
    > shells and such is hard on them.

    > If you think \| is user friendly, oh god, people like you are the reason
    > why Unix is hated by many.

    > Having to explain filename/metas/owner or filename/.../owner or
    > filename/..metas/owner (I don't deeply care what string is used in place
    > of "metas") is hard enough.

    [Sorry if the tone of this e-mail is particularly heated. I used to
    use reiserfs and I am really looking towards the insertion of the
    final version of reiser4 in the linux kernel, but I wish to publish my
    2 cents as user (not as kernel developer). TIA for your attention and
    patience in advance...]

    The idea of using "metas" (instead of ".metas" and "..metas") however
    is ATROCIOUS, as it would mean to have a fine "metas" entry popping up
    in every dir, be undeletable, and having some random user pissed at
    his random ${OS} because "it puts stuff that does not belong in the

    The main idea about metadata is that you should be able to use
    metadata only if you care. And if you use something, THEN you need to
    be bugged by its presence but in a way that does not bug everyone's
    else... 99% of people out there only care to use metadatas only via
    those kind of applications that _really_ support it, like Mp3 players,
    Torrentlike apps and CVS-like programs (if they do and really care to
    have their metadatas consistent with the reality, that is [1]).

    It has no sense for a human being to go and manage thousands of
    metadata directories by hand, hence having "metas" right there in the
    filesystem is not calling for user-friendlyness... it is only
    desperately calling for some n00b# to dd inside it "just for fun" or
    "just to make it go away". Putting in the spotlight a potentially
    unreliable OR fragile source of informations is only asking for
    trouble and is also harrassing for the end-user that couldn't care
    less about that "metas" stuff. (what is this metas stuff that is
    between my mariah999.jpg and morena001.jpg in my pr0n/ folder? [2])

    In the end, using a UNIX-flavoured system matters because things are
    shaped to help sysadmin's jobs, and sysadmins are asked for their task
    to Read The Finely-written (?) Manuals before inserting the root
    password at the login prompts.

    The end-users are to be protected from themselves until they are
    really ready to read the documentation.

    In conclusion: I don't know WAFL, but I won't make Clearcase example a
    too forward example... Clearcase naming is useful only inside a
    Clearcase-enabled environment and using Clearcase-enabled tools... I
    don't think that people at IBM are going to flame me or handle me a
    DMCA takedown notice if I put on my filesystem filenames that could
    possibly conflict with their system. Instead Reiserfs4 is going to ask
    me to sacrifice a viable word for my filenames (no, I don't call my
    filenames .something), and to create a workaround for my scripts [3]
    while an alternative like .metas or a ..metas would make even more
    sense and be more streamlined with Linux/UNIX customs.

    Just my 2 cents as random n00b.

    Ciao :)
    Davide Inglima

    [2] whoops...
    [3] ls -1 | wc -l
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