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SubjectRe: PROPOSAL: dot-proc interface [was: /proc stuff]
Alexander Viro writes:

> Folks, could we please deep-six the "ASCII is tough" mentality?

Sure. How about:
It's a PITA to break out the dragon book, bloat sucks,
and I'd just rather not have to write the code.

I also like:
Trusting every little status app to not have exploitable
buffer overruns is worrisome.

The more serious problem:
ASCII formats change in unpredictable ways. (see below)

> Idea of
> native-endian data is so broken that it's not even funny. Exercise:
> try to export such thing over the network.

Ooh! You're making /proc NFS exportable?

> Another one: try to use
> that in a shell script. One more: try to do it portably in Perl script.

FOO=`ps -o foo= -p $$` # Get our FOO value out of binary /proc

> It had been tried. Many times. It had backfired 100 times out 100.
> We have the same idiocy to thank for fun trying to move a disk with UFS
> volume from Solaris sparc to Solaris x86.

Disks are slow, so native endian UFS was indeed a poor choice.

> We have the same idiocy to
> thank for a lot of ugliness in X.

This was a necessary performance hack. Hopefully nobody wrote
an X server or client that would do conditional byte swaps
all over the code.

> At the very least, use canonical bytesex and field sizes. Anything less
> is just begging for trouble. And in case of procfs or its equivalents,
> _use_ the_ _damn_ _ASCII_ _representations_. scanf(3) is there for
> purpose.

SigCgt in /proc/self/status wasn't always spelled that way.
It wasn't always in the same location either. ASCII bites
because people can't resist screwing with it.

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