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Re: bug#57129: 29.0.50; Improve behavior of conditionals in Eshell

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: bug#57129: 29.0.50; Improve behavior of conditionals in Eshell
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2022 19:25:16 +0300

> From: Bruno Haible <bruno@clisp.org>
> Cc: eggert@cs.ucla.edu, bug-gnulib@gnu.org, larsi@gnus.org, 
> 57129@debbugs.gnu.org, jporterbugs@gmail.com
> Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2022 16:40:16 +0200
> Eli Zaretskii wrote:
> > Looking at your test program, I see that you generate the seconds file
> > name without deleting the first one.  When a file by the first
> > generated name already exists, gen_tempname will indeed generate a
> > different name.  But in the scenario I described, Emacs creates one
> > temporary file, uses it, then deletes it, and only after that creates
> > another file.
> Why would it be important for the second temporary file to bear a different
> name, once the first one is gone? I mean, process IDs get reused over time;
> socket numbers get reused over time; what is wrong with reusing a file name,
> once the older file is gone?

Because the Emacs Lisp program expected that, based on what
make-temp-file in Emacs promises (see the "random characters" part),
and because that's how it behaves on GNU/Linux.  Then the same program
behaved differently on MS-Windows, and the programmer was stumped.

Sure, it's possible to write the same program somewhat differently,
carefully working around this issue, but my point is that such
functions should ideally present the same behavior traits on all
systems, otherwise the portability is hampered.

> Maybe the problem is that the file gets deleted too early, when some parts
> of Emacs still reference it?

The buffer which visited that file still exists, and still records the
name of the file, yes.  And then, when the program writes to another
file created by another call to make-temp-file, it actually writes to
a file that some buffer still visits, and in Emacs that triggers a
prompt to the user to refresh the buffer.  The programmer didn't
expect that because it is natural to expect each call to a function
that creates a temporary file to create a file under a new name, not
reuse the same name.  E.g., similar facilities in the Standard C
library exhibit that behavior.  So the program was written assuming
that the second write was to an entirely different and unrelated file.

And again, my main point is: why does this work differently on
different platforms?  If you consider it OK to return the same file
name each time, provided that no such file exists, then why doesn't
that function do it on GNU/Linux?

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