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SubjectRe: PROPOSAL: dot-proc interface [was: /proc stuff]
On Sun, Nov 04, 2001 at 05:59:45PM +0000, John Levon wrote:
> On Sun, Nov 04, 2001 at 06:41:59PM +0100, Jakob Østergaard wrote:
> > The "fuzzy parsing" userland has to do today to get useful information
> > out of many proc files today is not nice at all. It eats CPU, it's
> > error-prone, and all in all it's just "wrong".
> This is because the files are human-readable, nothing to do with binary vs. plain
> text. proc should be made (entirely ?) of value-per-file trees, and a back-compat
> compatprocfs union mounted for the files people and programs are expecting.

So you want generaiton and parsing of text strings whenever we pass an int from
the kernel ?

> > However - having a human-readable /proc that you can use directly with
> > cat, echo, your scripts, simple programs using read(), etc. is absolutely
> > a *very* cool feature that I don't want to let go. It is just too damn
> > practical.
> I don't see that it's at all useful: it just makes life harder. You yourself
> state above that read(2) parsing of human readable files is "not nice at all",
> and now you're saying it is "just too damn practical".

cat /proc/mdstat - that's practical !
cat /proc/cpuinfo - equally so

Anyway - I won't involve myself in the argument whether we should keep
the old /proc or not - I wanted to present my idea how we could overcome
some fundamental problems in the existing framework, non-intrusively.

> Just drop the human-readable stuff from the new /proc, please.

I don't care enough about it to discuss it now, but I'm sure others do ;)

> In what way is parsing /proc/meminfo in a script more practical than
> cat /proc/meminfo/total ?

I see your point.

There's some system overhead when converting text/integer values, but
if you're polling so often I guess you have other problems anyway...

> This just seems needless duplication, and fragile. Representing things as directory
> hierarchies and single-value files in text seems to me to be much nicer, just as
> convenient, and much nicer for fs/proc/ source...

I like the idea of single-value files.

But then how do we get the nice summary information we have today ?

Hmm... How about:

/proc/meminfo - as it was
/proc/.meminfo/ - as you suggested

That way we keep /proc looking like it was, while offering the very nice
single-value file interface to apps that needs it.

I could even live with text encoding of the values - I just hate not being able
to tell if it's supposed to be i32/u32/i64/u64/float/double/... from looking
at the variable. Type-less interfaces with implicitly typed values are

I'd love to have type information passed along with the value. Of course
you could add a "f"_t file for each "f", and handle eventual discrepancies
at run-time in your application.

: : And I see the elder races, :
:.........................: putrid forms of man :
: Jakob Østergaard : See him rise and claim the earth, :
: OZ9ABN : his downfall is at hand. :
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