sysadmin/UnixCtimeMyth written at 01:36:39; Add Comment
Unix files do not have creation times
There is a persistent belief, held by a large assortment of even fairly experienced people, that Unix files have a creation time. They don't.
The belief generally arises because one of the three times that all
Unix files have is called
(The exact details of which system calls should update
So while a file creation time might be nice to have, Unix doesn't
have it, and
The problems with an inode creation time
I suspect that two of the reasons that Unix doesn't have an inode creation time is that it's hard to come up with just what should count as file 'creation' in order to be useful, and that inode creation time would be less useful than people think because it's too low level.
The most straightforward answer for inode creation time would be
'whenever an inode is allocated'. This has the virtue of being
completely technically correct, and the flaw of being near useless in
practice, since things like '
The need to account for truncation points to the reason inode creation time is too low-level: what people are really interested is the creation time of logical files, not of inodes. A careful program writing to a logical file may use several inodes under the covers; at this point the 'creation time' of your document, as reported by Unix, turns into 'the most recent time you asked your editor to save it'.
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