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Re: File permissions

From: Greg A. Woods
Subject: Re: File permissions
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001 15:47:09 -0400 (EDT)

[ On Tuesday, September 25, 2001 at 19:34:29 (-0400), Eric Siegerman wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: File permissions
> On Tue, Sep 25, 2001 at 03:47:57PM -0400, Greg A. Woods wrote:
> > 
> > There's no way to handle _any_ file attribute change tracking without
> > extending the RCS file format.  Period.
> And the RCS file format is explicitly extensible.  Read
> rcsfile(5); look for "newphrase".

Eric, read what I said above again....  I didn't say RCS wasn't
extensible -- I just said that you can't track attribute changes without
extending the file format.

> But this:
> > Take it up with the RCS maintainers if you want to do something
> > productive about it.
> is horsefeathers.

"extensibility" != doing things in a way that will be of any benefit

Someone interested in extending or changing the structure of RCS-format
files (be it for RCS directly, or something else that uses the same
format, eg. CVS), really does need to learn a *lot* for the experience
of the RCS maintainers (and probably a lot from people who understand
filesystems and such too!).

This goes double for versioning file attributes such as permissions,
ownerships, links, etc.

This whole concept of "tracking attribute changes" is very very very
complex to get right.  There is a fundament, basic, inescapable,
conflict between the needs of the repository for access control and
other such file-attribute controlled mechanisms and the related needs of
the system that the target files are components of.  It CANNOT be
resolved by simply putting attribute tracking in the versioning tool.

The only really successful way to attack this problem is to separate the
versioning process from the process of creating the target files.
I.e. to use a build system that transforms the "source" files into
"target" files (which may be as simple as setting some attributes, or it
may involve detailed and complex steps such as translation of their

                                                        Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098      VE3TCP      <address@hidden>     <address@hidden>
Planix, Inc. <address@hidden>;   Secrets of the Weird <address@hidden>

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