Cygwin: Open or Closed System? (was: two problems with cygwin's zip)

Christopher Faylor
Tue Jun 26 23:16:00 GMT 2001

On Tue, Jun 26, 2001 at 07:08:48PM -0400, Fred T. Hamster wrote:
>  i was just doing some research to make sure i wasn't overstating this 
>case for win32 pathnames, because i'm always willing to concede i might 
>be off on the wrong track.  certainly i am confused about things 
>sometimes.  but i don't think this is one of those times.
>  within the cygwin user guide documentation, i find the following text 
>in the section "expectations for windows programmers" ( 
> ) :
>        All tools may be used from the Microsoft command line prompt, 
>with full support for normal Windows pathnames.

You are not going to win this one.

You're communicating with the head of the project.  I know what is supposed
to work and what is not supposed to work.

I will grant you that the documentation is not clear.  Hopefully we'll fix
that soon so that further people will not be confused.

I can certainly work on clarifying the documentation.  That's pretty easy.

Until then, I've told you in several email messages how cygwin is
supposed to operate.

I have mentioned that it is not feasible to port every single package to
work with MS-DOS pathnames.

I really don't know why you don't understand this.

Or, rather, I don't know what you expect to happen.  Are you expecting
that the volunteers who contribute to the project will drop everything and
work on zip?

I am not going to work on improving MS-DOS path handling in every single

This is a fact.  You are not going to convince me of anything different.

If you want to start a one man campaign for improving all of the tools
so that they work with MS-DOS paths, then I will applaud your efforts.

Just don't expect me to do any of the work, other than reviewing patches
to packages that I maintain.  As I have mentioned, this is nearly zero
importance to me.

>that text would seem to indicate fairly strongly that cygwin is actually 
>intended to support "normal windows pathnames" after all.  a big issue 
>for me at least is that cygwin does not in fact support "normal windows 
>pathnames" currently.  is that statement of support above just marketing 
>lingo, or is it a real commitment?  i sincerely hope that it's real.
>  here are some examples of the path treatment i'm seeing...  note that 
>the first path is a normal windows pathname, but it doesn't work.  the 
>second is a mixture of path conventions, but it does work.  these 
>commands were entered in an ms command prompt.
>] ls l:\source\lib_src\library\basis\a*
>ls.exe: l:\source\lib_src\library\basis\a*: No such file or directory
>] ls l:\source\lib_src\library\basis/a*
>....etc files starting with 'A'....

You may notice that both zip and ls are able to read files which used
an MS-DOS path name using the cygwin DLL.  If you type:

ls c:\foo\bar

It will work.

If I was into sophistry, I could claim that this was what the
documentation was intending.

However, I can see that the documentation could be misconstrued.
Cygwin's documentation is not perfect.  I don't know of any project
which has perfect documentation.  I would dearly love to have someone
actively working on it.

The behavior with cygwin's glob has been mentioned in the mailing list
before.  I don't know if it is documented (see above).  However, IMO,
it's not an argument for anything.

>i'm assuming that 'ls' uses glob(), which would seem to make this issue
>relevant to the cygwin dll.

Why don't you stop assuming and start looking at code and start sending
email based on facts?

Or, if you are going to wait until later in the summer before you
actually look into anything, then that's fine.  Let's just stop arguing
about semantics.  I will trump you every time.  I can do that.  I'm
a closed system.


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