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bug#9823: request for more correct error reporting of mv

From: Eric Blake
Subject: bug#9823: request for more correct error reporting of mv
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2011 10:15:34 -0600
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[re-adding the list]

On 10/24/2011 02:06 AM, address@hidden wrote:
Hello Eric,

This is a sequence which reproduces my situation.

rm -rf ?
mkdir -p a b/a
touch b/a/file1 a/file2
mv a b
mv: cannot move `a' to `b/a': Directory not empty

Thanks for your formula. In fact, you don't even have to touch a/file2; simply touching b/a/file1 is enough to reproduce the setup (and even makes it more confusing, as then ./a is empty). The problem is that the recursion ends up trying to move the directory ./a (empty or otherwise) from the source, and rename(2) it onto the existing directory ./b/a/ on the destination; but rename(2) can only succeed if the destination directory is empty.

Ok, in this example it's very clear.
However in my situation it was power play with an account of 120GiB.
When mv says "Directory not empty" you interpret the error message
as that of rmdir, and you go looking at dir a, which of course isn't
empty. It's not immediatly apparent that you have to go looking
after the dir b/a.

This is the problem I want to address. Would it not be possible
to add to the error image the following message: "Dir b/a already
exists" or something similar making the real problem clear right
from the start?

Like I said earlier, POSIX allows either ENOTEMPTY or EEXIST, and Linux happened to choose ENOTEMPTY. Maybe special-casing that error and converting to EEXIST would produce better output. But someone would have to submit a patch.

Eric Blake   address@hidden    +1-801-349-2682
Libvirt virtualization library http://libvirt.org

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