[Haskell-cafe] inotify-alike for mac os x?
rmm-haskell at z.odi.ac
Fri Dec 4 17:46:16 EST 2009
On Dec 4, 2009, at 5:30 PM, Bryan O'Sullivan wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 8:39 AM, Svein Ove Aas <svein.ove at aas.no>
> That said.. you say you have to handle the events "fast". What happens
> if you don't?
> If you don't handle events quickly, they're typically thrown away by
> the kernel without you ever getting to read them. That is, for
> instance, what happens on Linux with inotify. Throwing away events
> means that your app's internal mirror of the filesystem state
> becomes wrong, which is Very Bad for most applications that care.
> (i.e. Ross's assertion than nothing bad will happen is generally not
Ah hah yeah, I meant in the context of it won't block the kernel or
cause your computer to melt. It varies between applications whether
dropping events is bad or not so I wasn't commenting there.
> However, with inotify you also can't afford to perform a single read
> system call per event, because that will cause your "watch the
> filesystem" event to soak up most of the system's CPU time. So what
> you have to do is select to listen for "there's an event ready to be
> read", then sleep a little while, then read in the hope that many
> (but not too many!) events will have been queued that you can all
> read at once.
> And at that point, you'll be getting a stale notification about a
> file or directory that may no longer even exist, or may have changed
> type. Consider: I create a file f, write data into it, rename it to
> g, then create a directory named f. You wake up 10 milliseconds
> later, and the first event you hear about is that a file named f was
> This is all by way of saying that working with filesystem change
> notification interfaces is extremely subtle and tricky, enormously
> more so than you'd think on casual inspection. It's very easy to
> write a program that uses these interfaces in ways that will make it
> either generate garbage or consume huge amounts of CPU, and in fact
> the common case is to write a program that does both.
Amen. I've written an application that does this kind of work using
inotify and it was a nightmare. I think this is why fseventsd was
invented for OS X, and I'm not sure if there's any linux equivalent.
However, if someone were to write a library that uses kqueue /
inotify / win32-call-I-forget-the-name-of-from-earlier-post in a way
that is both efficient and correct, that would be totally awesome.
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