Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Unintentionally Hidden Dot-files

Rob Pike (via Hoà V. DINH):

Long ago, as the design of the Unix file system was being worked out, the entries . and .. appeared, to make navigation easier. […] When one typed ls, however, these files appeared, so either Ken or Dennis added a simple test to the program. It was in assembler then, but the code in question was equivalent to something like this:

if (name[0] == '.') continue;


I’m pretty sure the concept of a hidden file was an unintended consequence. It was certainly a mistake.

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