Deprecating ntea

Igor Peshansky
Tue Feb 27 15:45:00 GMT 2007

On Tue, 27 Feb 2007, Corinna Vinschen wrote:

> As the subject says, I'm all for deprecating the ntea setting.
> The reason is that it's just an ugly fake.  It's not at all necessary
> and I even consider it as dangerous, because it pretends a security
> (permission bits) which doesn't exist.
> Does anybody have a good argument to keep this cruft against all reason?

The ntea permission bit support isn't there to fool (most) users, it's
there to fool (arguably broken) applications that assume they are on a
secure system and check the permissions.  IIRC, Linux does not support
permission setting on FAT filesystems, so no sensitive data can reside on
them.  The answer for Unix is WDDTT.  The answer for Windows is more
complex, as many people may not have a choice.  That's where ntea comes

I'm not arguing for keeping ntea, but I am arguing for having *some*
mechanism to help users run Unix applications on filesystems without
security support (how many people still use rsh?).  As I see it, ntea as
it stands now is broken anyway (it doesn't work on FAT32).  However, does
it really slow down the common path (i.e., NTFS)?  If all ntea support
kicks in after the FS is determined to be FAT, then it may be more a
matter of refactoring the code to make it simpler, rather than
performance.  However, simpler code is good, so that in itself may be a
good reason to remove ntea.

Right now Cygwin doesn't have a concept of "filesystem drivers" (well,
there's the fhandler* interface, but it doesn't discriminate between NTFS,
FAT, FAT32, SAMBA, etc).  One idea may be to allow pluggable drivers for
various filesystems (with a default fallback for unrecognized ones), and
move all the ntea code into the FAT "driver".  Then people who are
interested in running on FAT can provide patches to support ntea if they
so choose (perhaps even outside of the main "cygwin" package, as a
separate auto-loaded DLL).  Yes, I know, SHTDI.

In short, if the main list does not complain loudly, ntea is a goner.  But
if they do, perhaps soliciting help in getting the above refactoring done
is the way to go.
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