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SubjectRe: Why side-effects on open(2) are evil. (was Re: [RFD w/info-PATCH]device arguments from lookup)
On Thursday 24 May 2001 22:59, Edgar Toernig wrote:
> Daniel Phillips wrote:
> > > > Readdir fills in a directory type, so ls sees it as a directory
> > > > and does the right thing. On the other hand, we know we're on
> > > > a device filesystem so we will next open the name as a regular
> > > > file, and find ISCHR or ISBLK: good.
> > >
> > > ??? The kernel may know it, but the app? Or do you really want
> > > to give different stat data on stat(2) and fstat(2)? These flags
> > > are currently used by archive/backup prgs. It's a hint that
> > > these files are not regular files and shouldn't be opened for
> > > reading. Having a 'd' would mean that they would really try to
> > > enter the directory and save it's contents. Don't know what
> > > happens in this case to your "special" files ;-)
> >
> > I guess that's much like the question 'what happens in proc?'.
> And that's already bad enough. Most of the "files" in proc should
> be fifos! And using proc as an excuse to introduce another set of
> magic dirs? No, thanks.

Wait a second, I thought proc was here to stay. Wait another
second, device nodes are already magic. Magic is magic, just
choose your color ;-)

This set of magic dirs is supposed to clean things up, not mess things
up. We already saw how the side-effects-on-open problem in ls -l goes
away. There's a much bigger problem I'd love to deal with: the 'no
heirarchy can please everybody' problem. In database terms, aheirarchy
is an insufficiently general model for real-world problems, in other
words, they never worked. Tables work. That's where I'm trying to go
with this, so please bear with me. This is not just a solution in
search of a problem.

> > Correct me if I'm wrong, but what we learn from the proc example
> > is that tarring your whole source tree starting at / is not
> > something you want to do.
> IMHO it would be better to fix proc instead of adding more magic. At
> the moment you have to exclude /proc. You want to add /dev.

Well, actually no, ls -R, tar, zip, etc, work pretty well with the
scheme I've described.

> And
> next? Exclude all $HOME/dev (in case process name spaces get added)?
> Or make fifos magic too and add all of them to the exclude list? But
> there's no central place for fifos. So lets add more magic :-(

No, no, no, agreed and sometimes magic is good. It's not deep magic.
The only new thing here is the interpretation of the O_DIRECTORY flag,
or rather, the lack of it.

> > What *won't* happen is, you won't get side effects from opening
> > your serial ports (you'd have to open them without O_DIRECTORY
> > to get that) so that seems like a little step forward.
> As already said: depending on O_DIRECTORY breaks POSIX compliance
> and that alone should kill this idea...

Thanks, two good points:
- libc5 will get confused when doing ls in /magicdev
- POSIX specifically forbids this

I'll put this away until I've specifically dug into both of them. OK,
over and out, thanks for your commentary.

/me peruses man pages

Oops, oh wait, there's already another open point: your breakage
examples both rely on opening ".". You're right, "." should always be
a directory and I believe that's enforced by the VFS. So we don't have
an example of breakage yet.


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