[TUHS] fstat(2) on pipes?

Random832 random832 at fastmail.com
Tue Aug 16 01:14:45 AEST 2016

On Mon, Aug 15, 2016, at 10:04, Noel Chiappa wrote:
> But back to the original topic, it sounds like there's a huge amount
> of variance in the semantics of doing fstat() on a pipe. V6 doesn't
> special-case it in any way, but it sounds as if other systems do.

I expect that the single important thing, the only thing that most
applications will rely on, is it returning successfully and indicating
that the file type is fifo. If your version of xv6 supports file
permissions and if pipes are one-way it may be worthwhile to indicate
which end of the pipe it is.

In the standard: the use of the size field is explicitly unspecified for
pipes - for any file type other than regular files, symbolic links, and
shared/typed memory objects. Other than that, it's clear from the
standard that it's intended to succeed and report a sensible file type
for non-filesystem objects like pipes, shared memory objects, and
sockets. However, there's no discussion of what, if anything, belongs in
the dev/inode*, permissions, nlink, and timestamps.

On Linux: st_dev is a device number specific to pipes and st_ino is a
unique inode number. I haven't tested the timestamps thoroughly (my test
only covered instantaneously opening and statting a pipe), but they are
valid timestamps rather than being 0 or -1 or some garbage value.
st_uid/gid are [probably, haven't tested complicated cases] the user
that created it, st_nlink is 1, and the permissions are set to
[user-only] the read or write mode the pipe is opened in.

*Though, the standard's light on the meaning of device identifiers in
the first place, and what it does say could easily be read as demanding
a unique device/inode pair regardless of the nonexistence of a physical
device, which naturally leads to the solution that I observed on Linux
and that someone else mentioned on OSX.

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