[Oberon] filesystem with directories ?

John Drake jmdrake_98 at yahoo.com
Tue May 2 17:28:33 CEST 2006

--- Thomas Frey <thomas.frey at alumni.ethz.ch> wrote:

> Directories/Folders offer a namespace for files and
> a means to group
> them into categories of some kind. The namespace
> property of the
> directories means that it can contain files with
> names that are
> completely independant of all filenames in any other
> directory. For
> example a file named Readme.Text could be contained
> in several
> different folders without being the same file.
> The directory approach to bring order into the files
> is useful in many
> situations but not always good enough and sometimes
> confusing for some
> people.

But is that really an "advantage"?  Let's take 
the "Readme.Text" example.  Usually that's a file 
associated with some software package to give
users some idea of how to get started.  Let's
say there was a Unix program called "Leonardo".
So you might find the Leonardo "Readme.Text" in
the Leonardo directory.  In a flat file system
you can just as easily do:


Then when someone does 

System.Directory Leonardo.*

the correct "Readme" comes up.  Or that can be
shortened to Leonardo.Readme.  Again it should
be obvious to anyone that this is the Readme
file associated with the Leonardo package.  Or
you can simply follow the convention that the
Readme file for any package is that package's
name with the ".Text" extension leaving us 


Hey, that's the way it's already done.  Wow! ;)

> A person having two jobs and a private life might
> for example have
> folders for Job1, Job2 and a Private folder. In each
> of these folders
> there might be a folder for Letters and a folder for
> general
> information.
> This is a very simple organization scheme but
> already there is the
> possibility to turn the hierarchy the other way
> around : There could
> be two main folders, one for Letters and one for
> Info with each a sub
> folder for Job1, Job2 and Private. Which hierarchy
> is chosen is not so
> important as long as everybody who uses the
> filesystem has the same
> idea about which is the stronger grouping property.


System.Directory Job1.*.Text ~
System.Directory Job2.*.Text ~

The one thing I wasn't able to do was a wildcard
deletion (System.DeleteFiles Job2.*.Text for
instance) but that could be changed.

> Symbolic-Links and Hard-Links that are available in
> most modern
> hierarchical filesystems are further evidence that
> the hierarchical
> folders are not sufficient for all cases.
> A possibly better approach would be to tag files
> with Group-attributes
> or Labels that could act similar to traditional
> folders but would at
> the same time remove the need for Hard/Symbolic
> links. (Only the real
> everyday use could prove/disprove such a Label based
> file system)

Such systems are being used for web based filing
such as MyWeb and youtube.

> Personally I like folders and use them extensively.
> On my data
> partition I keep and backup more than 132000 data
> files (source code/
> icons/ texts/ letter/ photos/ slides/ result files
> of some
> experiments/ specifications/...)  I group them into
> about 6500
> hierarchic folders (9 on the first hierarchy level).
> Of course in
> theory, the files could also just be numbered or
> have a dotted name to
> realize grouping and namespaces but with this number
> of files i will
> stay on FAT until there is some thing better with
> equal tool support
> for Aos/Windows/Linux.

I use folders a lot, but basically "cause they're
there".  Windows support for wildcards at the
explore level is pretty weak (as in "non existent?").
When using Plugin Oberon (or WinAos) I have access
to folders because I'm running on top of FAT or
NTFS.  The neat thing though is that Plugin Oberon
uses a "Directories" path, I kind of get the 
"best of both worlds".  (Files in the current
directory are listed first, but then all of the
other relevant files are listed below.)

The only reason for folders I can think of that
can't be mimmicked with "dotted" files is when
you need subfolders for websites (or WebDAV
as Edgar mentioned).  It is convenient to be
able to define user access at the folder level
rather than the file level.  MyWeb does allow
something like that with it's tag based system,
but it's not fine grained.  (Basically it's 
"Myself", "My friends" and "Everyone"). 


John M. Drake

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