[Techtalk] file creation date

Miriam English mim at miriam-english.org
Sat Apr 7 22:21:37 UTC 2012

Huh. I never thought of versioning software. What an interesting idea. 
Thank you Veronica. I'll look into that.

I need it for writing and drawing mostly. It isn't so important for 
programming because for some reason I almost never forget to add the 
date in a commented header near the top of my source code. I seem to go 
into a different mind-set when writing or drawing or even just noting 
down ideas, and I nearly always forget to add the date. Adding the date 
should be easy in text or HTML (my preferred for styled text), even jpeg 
or png images are easy to add tags to. But it would be lovely if the 
computer simply added the dates to everything by itself without me 
needing to think like a computer.

Versioning software adds a whole extra dimension. I don't know why I 
never thought of it. It seems like the logical thing to do, as I often 
work on a few versions of text files at once, selecting bits from two to 
combine into a third.


	- Miriam

Veronica K. B. wrote:
> I've started using git for everything I need a history for. Including
> writing my book. Not sure what you need it for, but just a thought :)
> Veronica
> On 7 April 2012 08:58, Miriam English <mim at miriam-english.org
> <mailto:mim at miriam-english.org>> wrote:
>     Whew! Hours later I finally found what I was wanting. (+10 points
>     for perseverance, but -10 points for distractability. I was supposed
>     to be writing today. Damn!)
>     So, it looks like I'll be moving to ext4. For you lucky folks who
>     are already using a recent version of Ubuntu you will probably find
>     it formatted your disks as ext4 by default.
>     Because the standard Linux tools can't see creation date yet you
>     need a bit of a hack to get at it on ext4. First see if the device
>     is actually formatted as ext4 by typing:
>     mount
>     Now, presuming the file you want to find the creation date for is
>     called "/stuff/subdir/blah.txt" and is on device "/dev/sdf1" then
>     you can use:
>     debugfs -R 'stat /stuff/subdir/blah.txt' /dev/sdf1
>     This is very clunky, but I'm sure a little more thought will let me
>     wrap this into a little bash script to give just the creation time
>     instead of 12 lines of all the inode data. The file creation date is
>     given on the output line that starts with "crtime".
>     Yay!
>     Some time later (not today -- I'm supposed to writing) I must work
>     out how to set the creation date for files where I have that data
>     recorded.
>     Cheers,
>             - Miriam
>     P.S. I found this nice trick in a cool blog by Alina Swietochowska at
>     http://www.qa.com/about-qa/__blogs/2010/july/creation-time-__in-unix-yes-in-ext4/
>     <http://www.qa.com/about-qa/blogs/2010/july/creation-time-in-unix-yes-in-ext4/>
>     Little Girl wrote:
>         Hey there,
>         Miriam English wrote:
>             I've often been in situations where it would be very useful (or
>             even necessary) for Linux to have a creation date instead of
>             merely
>             change, modify, access. It seems like a sensible thing to have,
>             right? Much more sensible than change AND modify, which
>             seems like
>             unnecessary duplication.
>         Yes, yes, yes - oh, that would be wonderful!
>             Yes, I know that change is supposed to track status bits and
>             modify
>             is supposed to track file contents (and I can never remember
>             which
>             is which because the words "change" and "modify" are
>             synonyms), but
>             in practice an alteration to the file itself usually changes
>             both
>             dates anyway, so a separate date for status bits is almost
>             useless
>             because it only adds any extra info if the status bits were
>             altered
>             without changing the file. Okay, I can imagine some rare
>             security
>             situations where that might be useful, like tracking an
>             intruder's
>             footprints. But I can see very common uses for a file
>             creation date.
>         I can imagine that all of them are useful for different
>         purposes, and
>         have had a need for a file creation date many times. There are times
>         when you want to know which file or directory you created before
>         another one, or which was the first script you ever wrote, etc.,
>         etc., etc. I've found it repeatedly frustrating that all I can
>         see is
>         when I last did something to a file.
>             I was looking on the net for other ideas on how I might be
>             able to
>             get around the lack of creation date and I read that the ext4
>             filesystem designers were thinking of adding creation date
>             to its
>             inode descriptors. I have to say, it is about time this was
>             done. I
>             was struck by the number of questions on the net by people
>             wanting
>             to use file creation date in Linux.
>         I am so happy to hear this! I'm one of the people who wants it. (:
>     --
>     If you don't have any failures then you're not trying hard enough.
>       - Dr. Charles Elachi, director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
>     -----
>     Website: http://miriam-english.org
>     Blogs: http://miriam-e.dreamwidth.org
>     http://miriam-e.livejournal.__com <http://miriam-e.livejournal.com>
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If you don't have any failures then you're not trying hard enough.
  - Dr. Charles Elachi, director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Website: http://miriam-english.org
Blogs:   http://miriam-e.dreamwidth.org

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