The Glob Wars

From Tue Jan 22 01:54:05 1991
From: (Dick Dunn)
Newsgroups: comp.arch,comp.unix.wizards
Subject: future globs (was "UNIX mindset...")
Date: 22 Jan 91 00:33:50 GMT
Followup-To: comp.unix.wizards
Organization: Interactive Systems Corporation, Boulder, CO (Roy Smith) writes, in response to the glob wars:

> 	Given the move towards kernel bloat, I fear that one alternative we
> might see some day is moving file name globbing into the kernel.  "Let's
> let namei do it; namei does everything!"  Blech.

Plus, namei is undoubtedly the single most hacked-over piece of code in the
entire kernel!  It was already battered ten years ago.

Nowadays, it's more complicated than that.  First, we'll need a System V
kernel globbing interface and a BSD globbing interface.  There will be new
system calls for this--setglbent() and getglbent() for Sys V, setfilename-
globbing() and getfilenameglobbing() for BSD.  Of course, they'll have
different arguments, and BSD will modify namei-globbing only for the
current process, while SysV will modify it for an entire glob-group (a
new conceptual grouping of processes).

Then, V.4 will have to provide for both mechanisms.  The selection of
globbing will be based on the file system types, a kernel examination of
the process's PATH variable, and the endian-ness of the processor in use.
Next, we'll need POSIX globbing, which will be almost like both but not
entirely compatible with either, with switches to enable more-nearly-BSD-
like and more-nearly-SysV-like behavior.

AIX will provide its own extended globbing mechanism, promising support for
BSD and POSIX globbing in a future release, anticipating OSF/3 globbing,
and also providing for eventual user-specified globbing via callback from
namei() to user code.  The first release will fail to glob a single '*'
correctly, although it will be 26% faster than any other globbing as
measured on DhryGlob 0.0.3.

A little-known patent on file name wild card expansion will be discovered
to have been granted to a now-bankrupt Oregon software company, in an
obscure paragraph of a patent originally intended for selecting add-ons to
hamburgers in a fast-food point-of-sale terminal.  The patent will have
been sold to a California paper company which consists only of lawyers,
and which will immediately start filing look-and-feel lawsuits to any
vendor which won't pay a royalty of $0.005 per globbed name.

In response, FSF will issue a dire warning about the consequences of
proprietary globbing.  Buttons saying "Keep Your Lawyers off My Globs"
will appear at the June 1991 USENIX.  An extended globbing mechanism will
be built into the next release of emacs.

OSF will announce that it has studied existing globbing mechanisms and
found them to be inadequate.  Thus, it will issue an RFT for distributed,
open, architecture-neutral globbing mechanisms which also protect vendors'
proprietary investments in unexpanded file names.  The globbing technology
will be selected by an entirely open and fair evaluation process from all
submissions received, provided only that the submitter is a large multi-
national OSF corporate member with annual revenues exceeding $10^9.
Dick Dunn -or- ico!rcd       Boulder, CO   (303)449-2870
   ...Mr. Natural says, "Use the right tool for the job."

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