Subject: Re: stat(1)
To: Andrew Brown <>
From: Steven M. Bellovin <>
List: current-users
Date: 12/29/2001 08:57:42
In message <>, Andrew Brown writes:
>>  | Mine only puts out the times -- inode and size are easy enough to get 
>>  | from ls, as are owner and group.  To me, the important thing is a 
>>  | format that's easily parseable by scripts.
>>Exactly.  No-one really needs an even more verbose "ls" output.  Though
>>parsing ls output is never really what one ought to be doing, it is too
>>likely to undergo random changes to make it "look better".
>what if...what if someone were to use up another option letter for ls
>and allow the user to specify a "format" (sort in the same way that
>date and ps allow user specified formatting)?  hmm...-O looks unused.  :)

I think that that leads us down a very dangerous path.  Well, actually, 
it leads us further down a path that we're already on.

Right now, we have (at least) date and ps that (in effect) apply 
user-defined formatting instructions to a structure dump.  You propose 
to add another.  Maybe what we really need is raw structure dumps, plus 
a generalized (controlled by /etc/struct?) translator into the 
individual fields, plus a prettyprinter.

		--Steve Bellovin,
		Full text of "Firewalls" book now at