"File types"

Don THX1138 at dakotacom.net
Tue Aug 29 10:26:07 CDT 2006

der Mouse wrote:
>> Yes, I *know* this has been done other ways in the past.  What I am
>> trying to figure out is the rationale behind why it has (apparently)
>> migrated into the file *name*.


> I don't know why this was.  I conjecture that it was done so that the
> type, or at least a decent approxmation to the type, would be available
> to a human looking at a directory listing.  One could say that this
> could have been done by printing type information in directory

Exactly.  E.g., in the MS world, this is redundant information
(the equivalent of:   "foo.txt     TXT file" -- even if "TXT file"
is "Notepad document"... it still redundantly expresses the
information already conveyed in the file name!).

[I never learned how to get "creator" information displayed in
MacOS directory listings...  other than using ResEdit]

> listings, but that misses the point that conceptual file types were not
> 1:1 with filesystem file types - as a simple example, the filesystem
> type information for a plain text doc file and a FORTRAN source file
> might well be exactly the same.

This implies that the OS did NOT track file types to the same
granularity that the presentation layer imposed.  (as is the
case with UNIX... a file is a file is a file... the "desktop"
can add finer distinctions if it wants)

>> I.e. if you were starting from scratch *today*, why would you chose
>> to encode file types in file names?  vs. some other alternative??
> I'm not sure I would choose to.  If I did, though, a large part of why
> would be that humans are used to it. :-)


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