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SubjectRe: Why side-effects on open(2) are evil. (was Re: [RFD w/info-PATCH]device arguments from lookup)
Daniel Phillips wrote:
> On Tuesday 22 May 2001 17:24, Oliver Xymoron wrote:
> > On Mon, 21 May 2001, Daniel Phillips wrote:
> > > On Monday 21 May 2001 19:16, Oliver Xymoron wrote:
> > > > What I'd like to see:
> > > >
> > > > - An interface for registering an array of related devices
> > > > (almost always two: raw and ctl) and their legacy device numbers
> > > > with a single userspace callout that does whatever /dev/ creation
> > > > needs to be done. Thus, naming and permissions live in user
> > > > space. No "device node is also a directory" weirdness...
> > >
> > > Could you be specific about what is weird about it?
> >
> > *boggle*
> >
> >[general sense of unease]

I fully agree with Oliver. It's an abomination.

> > I don't think it's likely to be even workable. Just consider the
> > directory entry for a moment - is it going to be marked d or [cb]?
> It's going to be marked 'd', it's a directory, not a file.

Aha. So you lose the S_ISCHR/BLK attribute.

> > If it doesn't have the directory bit set, Midnight commander won't
> > let me look at it, and I wouldn't blame cd or ls for complaining. If it
> > does have the 'd' bit set, I wouldn't blame cp, tar, find, or a
> > million other programs if they did the wrong thing. They've had 30
> > years to expect that files aren't directories. They're going to act
> > weird.
> No problem, it's a directory.

Directories are not allowed to be read from/written to. The VFS may
support it, but it's not (current) UNIX.

> > Linus has been kicking this idea around for a couple years now and
> > it's still a cute solution looking for a problem. It just doesn't
> > belong in UNIX.
> Hmm, ok, do we still have any *technical* reasons?

So with your definition, I have a fs-object that is marked as a directory
but opening it opens a device. Pretty nice. How I'm supposed to list
it's contents? open+readdir? But the open has nasty side effects.
So you have a directory that you are not allowed to list (because of the
possible side effects) but is allowed to be read from/written to maybe
even issue ioctls to?. And you call that sane???

IMO the whole idea of arguments following the device name is junk (incl
a "/ctrl").

Just think about the implications of the original "/dev/ttyS0/19200"
suggestion. It sounds nice and tempting. But which programs will
benefit. Which gets confused. What will be cleaned up. After some
thoughts you'll find out that it's useless ;-)

And with special "ctrl" devices (ie /dev/ttyS0 and /dev/ttyS0ctrl):
This _may_ work for some kind of devices. But serial ports are one
example where it simply will _not_. It requires that you know the
name of the device. For ttys this is often not the case. Even if
you manage to get some name for stdin for example - now I should
simply attach a "ctrl" to that name to get a control channel???
At least dangerous. If I'm lucky I only get an EPERM...

Ciao, ET.

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