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bug#7325: new test failure due to non-portability of printf formats like

From: Jim Meyering
Subject: bug#7325: new test failure due to non-portability of printf formats like %05.3s
Date: Mon, 08 Nov 2010 16:31:21 +0100

Pádraig Brady wrote:

> On 08/11/10 14:33, Jim Meyering wrote:
>> Looks like I got very lucky here and hit a number of nanoseconds
>> that happened to be a multiple of 100,000:
>>     $ for i in $(seq 1000); do touch -d '1970-01-01 18:43:33.5000000000' 2; 
>> t=$(stat -c "%.W %.X %.Y %.Z" 2); test $(echo "$t"|wc -c) -lt 57 && echo 
>> "$t"; done
>>     0.000000 63813.500000 63813.500000 1289224045.731146
>>     0.0000 63813.5000 63813.5000 1289224047.8224
>>     [Exit 1]
>> I realize this is due to the way the precision estimation
>> heuristic works.  Wondering if there's a less-surprising
>> way to do that.
> You could snap to milli, micro, nano,
> though that would just mean it would
> happen less often.
>> Now, I'm thinking that this variable precision feature would be better
>> if it were somehow optional, rather than the default for %.X.
>> Consistency/reproducibility are more important, here.
> You could touch -d '0.123456789' stat.prec.test
> at program start, but that wouldn't always work.
> Non writable dir, disparity between read and
> write support for time stamp resolutions, :(
> You could sample X preexisting files/dirs on the
> same file system, and stop when Y have not increased
> in precision. That combined with snapping to milli,micro,nano
> would usually work. Though that's starting to
> get too hacky IMHO while still not being general.

I agree.
The only possibility I can imagine is to use some sort of statfs-like
interface that would provide file system time stamp resolution.

> I guess we're back to doing 9 by default for %.Y
> and using %#.Y to mean auto precision ?

The default of 9 seems far less likely to cause subtle misuse.
Letting the "#" in %#.Y mean auto precision sounds appropriate.

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