jfoust at threedee.com
Fri Mar 16 09:17:20 CDT 2007
At 10:54 PM 3/15/2007, der Mouse wrote:
>> Although the UNIX purist might argue that all is bytes, in reality
>> for many folks, they routinely deal with known file types created by
>> a relatively few applications.
>Certainly. But that's a long way from expecting cat(1) to recognize
>the headers on mpeg files and convert two header+data mpegs into
>header+data+data instead of header+data+header+data.
I certainly didn't expect 'cat' to do that. Anyone who did
just doesn't understand Unix and there's no sense arguing about that.
>If you want to make basic tools like cat(1) smart about file types, you
>really need out-of-band file types, which Unix simply doesn't have.
>(Such a thing could be layered atop Unix, but the result wouldn't be
>very much like Unix any longer.)
No, it would be *exactly* like Unix in practice - where admins and
developer-esque users extend the OS to suit their own needs,
including making a variation of 'cat' that concatenates in some
other way (like stripping headers on the N>1 movie files) or in
deciding that 'cat' isn't the most useful way to view a text file,
(Even GNU 'cat' has several options that don't make sense on non-text
files, such as '-b' number non-blank lines, '-E' show line ends as $,
'-n' number all lines, '-s' squeeze blank lines, '-T' show tabs as ^I.
Blame Stallman, I don't care. :-)
Metadata is very, very useful. It is certainly apropos given the
recent discussions about not being able to find things in 'ftp' archives,
a fine example of an overdependence on overloading metadata into filenames.
It's at the heart of almost every one of our discussions about archiving
floppy images, tapes, etc.
It may be rudimentary on classic systems but it is omnipresent and
growing on contemporary systems. (OS developers keep threatening to
do away with the file system and replace it with a database, but
I bet they'll still have a filename-based compatibility layer.)
It has many benefits for classic computer collectors who probably
use newer computers to assist with their preservation of their
Maybe Mr. Hex Star can weigh in with a discussion of his
organizational metadata methods for his 10 gig of classic software.
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