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bug#17330: files.el cd-absolute overcome false negative from file-execut

From: Philip Hodges
Subject: bug#17330: files.el cd-absolute overcome false negative from file-executable-p
Date: Thu, 08 May 2014 07:55:34 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/24.5.0

I prefer to solve the problem rather than ask users work around it.

So when can we reasonably expect a guarantee of no more false negatives for users of 24.3 without having to inspect the fileio.c and files.el and reinvent an undocumented workaround?

It will be great if you really can *solve* the problem, even just for this one particular scenario. I already suggested a pathological counterexample. Other sources mentioned do indicate that it is impossible to solve it reliably in general. But perhaps it will be enough in practice.

Only the positive outcome of file-executable-p is documented as "this means you can access files in that directory". The negative outcome is not explicitly documented as meaning you cannot, yet that is how callers are interpreting it. So there is clearly scope for rewriting the documentation and changing the callers' logic to match.

Asking the user whether the directory is supposed to be searchable after all is not just a workaround. It may well be the only right thing to do. In this case he was the person whose umask set the file modes on the host system, and he can also inspect them on that system.

fgetacl showed no acl. I will try icacls but it may well be the same.

[I did take a look at fileio.c in trunk with a view to trying to build it native and in cygwin for windows. Instead of simply downloading a snapshot I ended up reading rather too much of a very long thread about whether bzr should be replaced with git, and wondering whether they aren't already coexisting as mirrors anyway. So right now I don't have much progress to report on trying out candidate preferred solutions.]

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