Subject: Re: atime mtime ctime
To: Aaron J. Grier <>
From: Steven M. Bellovin <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 11/22/2000 14:47:53
In message <>, "Aaron J. Grier" wri
>On Wed, Nov 22, 2000 at 03:25:48PM +0700, Robert Elz wrote:
>> Aside from "it has always been that way", ask yourself just what
>> "creation time" really means, can you actually define it in any
>> sensible way?
>any time a new (as in, not previously existing) file name (including
>pathname to the root of the mount point) is introduced on a file system,
>attach to that filename a time.
>> All the systems that I have ever seen that had the concept of
>> "creation time" defined it in some meaningless and arbitrary way that
>> really meant that the thing is useless.
>one could argue that the other time stamps are just as arbitrary and
>meaningless.  all you have to do is strictly define the behaviour, and
>it ceases to be arbitrary.  whether or not it is useless depends on
>whether or not you find utility with it.
>having a creation time as defined above answers the question "how long
>has that filename existed in the filesystem?"  a question that currently
>cannot be answered with ffs.  (perhaps lfs can answer it?)

Right -- note that you said "file name".  But as I pointed out, file 
names are in directories, and the timestamps are in i-nodes, which 
leaves the question of link() (and, later on, rename(), though that's a 
relatively recent addition) problematic.

		--Steve Bellovin