[TUHS] A question about ls(1)

Michael Kjörling michael at kjorling.se
Tue Apr 30 04:05:12 AEST 2019

On 28 Apr 2019 13:00 -0700, from bakul at bitblocks.com (Bakul Shah):
> IMHO separate files are fine but it would've been nice to
> a) have a place other than $HOME to store these files and

XDG already does that. At least Norman already mentioned ~/.config in
this thread.


Not sure how common that is on non-Linux systems, but it seems pretty
common on modern Linux distributions.

My workstation Debian system has a staggering 3467 files in that
directory, spread around 444 directories (75 directories directly
under ~/.config). Plus another 142 dot-directories and 66 dotfiles in
~/. Now, ~/.config typically uses multiple files per application, and
at a glance there's some stuff there that could definitely go, but I
still shudder to think of having all of those directly under ~/, so
it's clearly doing _some_ good in that regard.

And that's to not even begin to talk about all the stuff you'll find
in /etc on a modern Linux system.

> b) a standardized plain text format

I'm not sure about that; different applications have very different
needs, and trying to shoehorn one into another would be ugly; quite
possibly even more ugly than just having different formats. Imagine
trying to write mail sorting recipies (think procmail) in a file with
the same format as that of one holding word processor settings or an
image metadata store. I guess that's half-way tolerable on Windows
because next to nobody edits the settings directly anyway, but on a
system where many such files are sometimes, or often, edited directly
by the user, it might well hinder more than it helps. I guess you
_could_ go with something like XML or JSON, but that's a bit like
saying "all cars should have an engine and a refillable fuel store",
in that it doesn't actually standardize anything _meaningful_ (in both
of those cases, the magic is in the schema, not the format). Lists of
examples not intended to be exhaustive.

Michael Kjörling • https://michael.kjorling.semichael at kjorling.se
  “The most dangerous thought that you can have as a creative person
              is to think you know what you’re doing.” (Bret Victor)

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