Moving open files

Bart Silverstrim bsilver at
Wed Jul 9 00:51:53 UTC 2008

Dotan Cohen wrote:
> 2008/7/8 Bart Silverstrim <bsilver at>:
>>> When a human moves a stapler from one drawer to another, he has no
>>> reason to suspect that any modification to the stapler (such as
>>> refilling it) would cause a duplicate stapler to appear in the old
>>> drawer. Likewise with the movement of open files. This seems to be a
>>> real 'gotcha' or trap that one could very easily fall into.
>> Staplers aren't abstractions that would easily allow for one person to
>> refill it while another person is stapling with it. For this case, it's
>> a bad analogy.
> Neither are the user's files, for all he understands. He knows that HE
> opened it, HE moved it, HE edited it, and HE saved it. Now, why aren't
> the changes in the file?

So he doesn't understand it. Doesn't mean it works by magic.

When magic can be bottled in a CPU we'll let the user know.

Unix-like systems were designed to be multiuser. It's been through 
decades of refinement and alteration and tuning, and still this problem 
exists...I suspect it's nowhere near as easy to solve as you'd like it, 
since you're looking at it with a very narrow view of the problem.

> You and me understand why without silly analogies, but the description
> above is how the user sees it. No analogy needed.

Yeah, and there are plenty of things in the world that piss me off but 
can't be altered for practical reasons for the good of society as a 
whole or because there are reasons outside my narrow understanding why 
they are as they are.

> I understand that Windows has it's quirks. 

It's note a quirk so much as a side effect of the permissions being fine 
grained and someone set them to that.

>But I've never seen the
> situation where one can create but not alter a file. I don't think
> that is a situation a user who only does word processing and internet
> browsing with his machine will get himself into.

One of those things that you probably wouldn't think of unless you 
weren't you in your situation.  I've run into this crap before. The fun 
of the sysadmin.

>>> Plus, it really is
>>>> badly behaved if it writes a "new" file - when it should know it's
>>>> modifying an old file - and doesn't bother to inform the user that the file
>>>> moved.  _That_ should be fairly simple to both fix and get attention for.
>> It's an Office application, not a file manager. File management falls
>> under duties for the Operating System...
> My thoughts exactly.

Okay. Then it's not the app you have a beef with.

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