(Another) POSIX Rant

By Henry Newman

I regularly rant about standard POSIX commands (open, read, write) and the C library equivalents of (fopen, fread, fwrite), all to no avail. The OpenGroup has no plans to change the work it did oh so many years ago. If you just graduated college this year, much of the work was done before you were born, and there have been no changes since then. Name anything else in computing that has lasted that long and not changed?

The fact that POSIX standards are limiting standardization of so many aspects of I/O, such as storage security, archival management, atomic and non-atomic operations, irks me. It reminds of that credit card company where the person asks to book a ticket, and David Spade says No, No, No.

The question I ask is, why no? Don't the people that run the group realize these issues are critical to the user community? Or maybe they do and the vendors do not want standardized solutions, as that way they can sell products and services. I know this is a pretty cynical way of looking at the world. I believe sooner or later the Linux community will address this area, and the OpenGroup will be playing catch-up. Someone with hundreds of thousands of pictures or video will develop a solution, providing an open source interface, and then the OpenGroup will be playing catch-up.

It continues to boggle my mind that there have been no changes to support the above area and information lifecycle management. A simple interface and addition to POSIX-extended attributes is all that is needed. All we have to do is get everyone to agree to what each attribute means and a common interface method, and then change tools like cp and ftp to access the attributes and move them from file system to file system.

This article was originally published on September 30, 2011