Extended attributes, Linux and GNOME

Lately, I've been warmly surprised by this:


to save you a visit:

 What are Extended Attributes?

/Extended Attributes/ are arbitrary name/value pairs that are associated with files or directories. They can be used to store system objects (e.g., Capabilities of executables, Access Control Lists) and user objects (e.g., the character set or mime type of a file). Access Control Lists are implemented as extended system attributes.

This is a Good Thing (TM). KDE and GNOME could begin using them to store metadata such as emblems and stuff. AFAIU, the metadata machinery in both DEs can be extended to use EAs instead of XML files whenever EAs are available. From the looks of it, it seems EAs will become a by-default standard feature.

Real searching files by a specific attribute and interoperability between KDE and GNOME at the file system attribute seem now possible. Instead of hauling .nautilus-metafile.xml and .directory files done by KDE and GNOME.

All that is left is to agree on a common set of EA names for both DEs and anyone who'd want to join. I'm positive the POSIX utility fellows will at some point extend their tools to deal with EAs (I'm thinking tar and cpio here). Our indexing project would, naturally, take advantage of such a feature and provide indexes for common attributes.

What do you think?


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