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SubjectRe: NTFS-like streams?

# So what we want are directories, and not file streams?
# Oh wait, we already have those...
# /me runs

/me slaps *grin*

The difference here is that from a user perspective, the "main
stream" *is* the file, for pretty much all intents and purposes. The
secondary streams are an implementation detail that end-users don't need
to worry about usually (yes, end-users, not hackers :>) - if you give a
user a directory, they treat it as a directory. Give them a file, and they
treat it as a file. Give them a file with extra bits (i.e., secondary
streams), they treat it as such.

Yes, one implementation would be as a directory, but that directory should
be hidden in normal use (i.e., when not using the stream-handling API) -
things like readdir() should skip over it. Otherwise, a user doing ls -a
would see all sorts of "weird directories"... and based on experience,
users do one of three things when they see something "weird":

1) Delete the weirdness. If it's deleted, there's no weirdness. No
weirdness, no problem...right?

2) Panic.

3) Ignore it. (Yeah, right)

(1) and (2) being the most common.

Before people jump the gun and I have to hop into an asbestos suit, I'm
not talking about doing a Microsoft-style "you're not clever enough to see
this, so we don't provide any means for you to do it", just a "you don't
normally want to see this, but you can use <this> and <this> if you want
to hack around with it" (i.e., a 'stream' utility with a bunch of
subcommands - cp, mv, ls, etc, which let you do rudimentary manipulation
of streams based around a nice well-defined API).

Well..that's how I'd do it, anyway :)
[To cries of 'thank goodness you're not the one implementing it' ;)]

Mo McKinlay Chief Software Architect inter/open Labs
GnuPG Key: pub 1024D/76A275F9 2000-07-22 Mo McKinlay <>

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