Re: Delete, Move, and Copy for References (Yaron's Issue #9)

   From: Yaron Goland <>

   What really scares me is a scenario where I have a directory filled with
   references but I'm using an RFC 2518 client. If I copy the directory I will
   go from a directory that took up a few kilobytes (just to record the
   references) to one of any random and potentially huge size. The source
   directory ate 30Kb and the destination eats up 6 Gig. I would call that

What really scares me is when I create a copy, and it turns out that it's
not really a copy, so every change I make to the copy trashes my original.
Apparently we're scared by different things.

   I would also invoke precedent here. In every system I have ever heard of
   that supports references (read: links) a COPY always copies the link not the
   destination. I would be very hesitant to go against three decades of
   accumulated experience without a good reason.

So you've never even *heard* of Unix?  If you're looking for decades of
experience with links, you might want to consider it.

Every Unix system I've ever used (and I've used *a lot*), copy by default
the target of both hard and soft links, not the link itself.  This is
try for both "cp" and "tar".

So I agree with your appeal to precedent, but I suggest you drew the
wrong conclusion.  Among the various reasons why the link target is
copied by default, is that any relative links outside of the
collection you are copying will break if you just copy the link
itself.  Converting the link to an absolute link to work around this
would be even worse.

   Hence I believe that the default action should be no-passthrough on COPY.

I could live with either one, but I'd be careful about going against
three decades of precedent that says otherwise (:-).


Received on Saturday, 27 February 1999 09:20:52 UTC