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Re: feature request: zero-terminated lines for comm

From: Bob Proulx
Subject: Re: feature request: zero-terminated lines for comm
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2007 18:08:24 -0600
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.9i

Steve Ward wrote:
> (This is slightly off topic, and a late reply)
> I'm curious who's responsible for deciding the standards of filenames.  Is
> it kernel people, fs people, a standards group, or other?

At this point it is defined by legacy behavior.  Legacy behavior has
caused this to be codified into the present system standards.  After
thirty years it is hard to make compatibility breaking changes.

But in the early 1970's the present filesystem semantics were created
by if I recall correctly Ken Thompson at AT&T Bell Labs when Unix was
written.  At that time it was decided to allow any character except
for the zero byte null character which would terminate the string and
the '/' which would separate directory components.  All other
characters were allowed.  This has continued through all of the many
filesystem rewrites by others to the present day.

> And are there benefits of allowing control characters in filenames?

The rules are very simple.  Control characters and others are not
specifically differentiated.  There are benefits to having a very
simple naming.

Personally I would have disallowed whitespace.  It would have made so
many things since then quite a bit simpler.  :-)


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