Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 23rd Aug 2008 15:37 UTC
Editorial Earlier this week, we ran a story on GoboLinux, and the distribution's effort to replace the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard with a more pleasant, human-readable, and logical design. A lot of people liked the idea of modernising/replacing the FHS, but just as many people were against doing so. Valid arguments were presented both ways, but in this article, I would like to focus on a common sentiment that came forward in that discussion: normal users shouldn't see the FHS, and advanced users are smart enough to figure out how the FHS works.
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RE: Relation and Abstraction
by Adam S on Sun 24th Aug 2008 16:28 UTC in reply to "Relation and Abstraction"
Adam S
Member since:
2005-04-01

I'm sure this isn't my idea, but perhaps it's time to dump the directory tree altogether and replace it with a relational database.


I've yet to see a truly persistent relational database that doesn't live in a file itself. You still need a file system underneath your database if you want it to store data anywhere besides RAM. The actually database application needs a binary somewhere too, and the contents of the file has to be dumped to disk if you want it to persist.

And, by the way, Microsoft has been trying to do this since Windows 95 with "Cairo," through 2003 with "WinFS," and they've yet to get it working. No one has been able to actually move to a RDBMS for file storage at all, let alone for an entire filesystem (which, to be frank with you, doesn't make a lot of sense anyway). WinFS ended up being much like Google Desktop, Spotlight's database, or Beagle - they're just indexes on top of an optimized filesystem.

Reply Parent Score: 1

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

WinFS isn't done yet, what we got with vista was Windows Desktop Search. Aparently they are still working on Winfs, although as you already mentioned, they have been working on that on and off since 95.

Seth Nickell started a project a few years ago to do a similar thing on linux, but to my knowledge it never really got anywhere http://www.gnome.org/~seth/storage/

Reply Parent Score: 2

Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

WinFS beta 2 has been out for some time. It is NOT a RDBMS. It is a layer that runs on top of NTFS. And, as far as I know, it never made it past beta 1 "refresh."

http://blogs.msdn.com/winfs/archive/2005/12/01/499042.aspx

Reply Parent Score: 1

axilmar Member since:
2006-03-20

In order to turn a raw file system to a RDBMS, the raw file system must be informed about the types of entities and their relations.

That's something that clearly belongs to the application domain, not the operating system domain. No two applications can agree on the binary schema of things in a file system.

And that's the reason WinFS has never materialized: even Microsoft applications could not agree between themselves on what schema each file should have.

For example, Word may require doc files to have schema X, whereas Excel may require doc files to have schema Y, for interoperating with Word.

Edited 2008-08-25 17:25 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

What if the same way an app "registers" its extension with Windows, it registers some sort of schema definition in a master table and gets its own "table" with its own schema?

The problem is moved to poorly designed apps/schemas/queries, but nonetheless, permits each application to have its own schema.

Reply Parent Score: 2