Subject: Re: Text form of wtmp
To: Greywolf <>
From: Matthias Buelow <>
List: tech-userlevel
Date: 02/16/2005 02:59:23
Greywolf wrote:

> wtmp is a binary file with fixed length records because it makes for much
> faster processing.  It's easier, computing-wise to parse a file of records

You're right.  Couldn't take the _severe_ performance hit when the user 
types "last"...

> of fixed size and display them in text format than it would be to parse
> a file of records of varying size and deal with them.
> We would not gain anything by converting wtmp from fixed-size-record
> format to text format.  Humans are not the only things who gain from
> reading the information inside wtmp.

Arguments like these must be the crawling horror in the ears of software 
maintainers who wade through the byproducts of the software crisis, 
keeping 70'ies and 80'ies software (and earlier) alive.  ["Hey Joe, why 
not just use two BCD digits for the year.. after all, it will be enough 
til 1999!" -- but at least _they_ had a good excuse.]