GNU bug report logs - #62572
cp --no-clobber behavior has changed

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Package: coreutils; Reported by: Alberto Salvia Novella <es20490446e@HIDDEN>; dated Fri, 31 Mar 2023 17:49:01 UTC; Maintainer for coreutils is bug-coreutils@HIDDEN.

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Date: Sun, 17 Dec 2023 21:18:33 +0900
From: Dominique Martinet <asmadeus@HIDDEN>
To: Paul Eggert <eggert@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#62572: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
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Paul Eggert wrote on Fri, Dec 15, 2023 at 11:21:06AM -0800:
> The cat is to some extent out of the bag. Unless one insists on (FreeBSD |
> coreutils 9.2-9.4), or insist on coreutils 7.1-9.1, one should not rely on
> cp -n failing or silently succeeding when the destination already exists.
> This will remain true regardless of whether coreutils reverts to its 7.1-9.1
> behavior.

This. Scripts that want to be portable already can't assume cp -n will
do what they want, so at this point it doesn't really matter what
coreutils does in the grand scheme of things.

For distros like debian since even -testing hasn't seen coreutils 9.2,
there's still value in reverting locally (with a warning that it's not
reliable perhaps?), but in general coreutils 9.2 has been out for 9
months (2023 March 20), so many systems can already be considered
affected; but it's a disservice to users to just try to hide the problem
under the rug.


(To give a data point, this did bite us as well, and I was annoyed
enough that I went to look for the old bug report back in September, but
at that point 9.3 had already been out and I had given up without
reporting anything as nothing would change the fact that my scripts
would need updating. For the gory details I also need compatibility
with busybox cp (where -n silently ignores existing files), so
--update=none is not an option, but I for this particular usage I
settled for '-u' (--update=older, that busybox also support as short
option only...), and I since hurried to forget about it)

-- 
Dominique Martinet | Asmadeus




Information forwarded to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN:
bug#62572; Package coreutils. Full text available.

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From: Michael Stone <mstone@HIDDEN>
To: Paul Eggert <eggert@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#62572: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
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On Sun, Dec 17, 2023 at 12:34:11AM -0800, Paul Eggert wrote:
>On 2023-12-16 13:46, Bernhard Voelker wrote:
>>Whether the implementation is race-prone or not is an internal thing.
>
>I wasn't referring to the internal implementation. I was referring to 
>cp users. With the newer Coreutils (FreeBSD) behavior, you can 
>reliably write a script to do something if cp -n didn't copy the file 
>because the destination already existed. With the older Coreutils 
>behavior you cannot do that reliably; there will always be a race 
>condition.

You can now reliably write a script using the new long option. Changing 
the behavior of the short option helped nobody.




Information forwarded to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN:
bug#62572; Package coreutils. Full text available.

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On 16/12/2023 21:46, Bernhard Voelker wrote:
> On 12/15/23 21:13, Michael Stone wrote:
>> On Fri, Dec 15, 2023 at 11:21:06AM -0800, Paul Eggert wrote:
>>> Stlll, Pádraig gave a reasonable summary of why the change was made,

To clarify my summary a little, there I said that -n now _immediately_ fails.
I should have said _silently_ fails.  I.e. the complete copy operation
proceeds as before, and only the exit status is at issue here.

>>> despite its incompatibility with previous behavior. (One thing I'd add
>>> is that the FreeBSD behavior is inherently less race-prone.)
> 
> Whether the implementation is race-prone or not is an internal thing.
> I think we're currently discussing more on a user-perspective level.
> 
> IIUC then the question is whether `cp -n` should continue to behave like
> the (new) `cp --update=none` which returns EXIT_SUCCESS.
> 
> Regardless what other implementations do, when reading the -n description
> from a user's point of view:
> 
>     -n, --no-clobber             do not overwrite an existing file (overrides a
>                                    -u or previous -i option). See also --update
> 
> then I'd expect the tool to just skip existing files like `rsync --ignore-existing`
> does.  In that regard I would be surprised if skipping files would result in an error.
> Well, I would understand if there'd be a '--no-clobber=fail' option.

Agreed we should improve the docs a bit for this option.
I'll apply this at least:

diff --git a/doc/coreutils.texi b/doc/coreutils.texi
index 1f8b356d1..bf0f424d3 100644
--- a/doc/coreutils.texi
+++ b/doc/coreutils.texi
@@ -9057,6 +9057,8 @@ Do not overwrite an existing file; silently fail instead.
  This option overrides a previous
  @option{-i} option.  This option is mutually exclusive with @option{-b} or
  @option{--backup} option.
+See also the @option{--update=none} option which will
+skip existing files but not fail.

  @item -P
  @itemx --no-dereference
diff --git a/src/cp.c b/src/cp.c
index 04a5cbee3..3ccc4c4e6 100644
--- a/src/cp.c
+++ b/src/cp.c
@@ -192,8 +192,8 @@ Copy SOURCE to DEST, or multiple SOURCE(s) to DIRECTORY.\n\
    -L, --dereference            always follow symbolic links in SOURCE\n\
  "), stdout);
        fputs (_("\
-  -n, --no-clobber             do not overwrite an existing file (overrides a\n\
-                                 -u or previous -i option). See also --update\n\
+  -n, --no-clobber             ensure no existing files overwritten, and fail\n\
+                                 silently instead. See also --update\n\
  "), stdout);
        fputs (_("\
    -P, --no-dereference         never follow symbolic links in SOURCE\n\


> As Kamil added the option in 2009, I'd assume that the same patch was already
> active in RHEL versions for quite some longer time.
> Now changing the exit code feels kind of rough.

Well RHEL 6 came out a bit after (2010), and had the --no-clobber change,
while RHEL 5 before that did not.

Taking about distros, it's worth noting that the change is Fedora 39
which has been released for a month now.
We'll keep a close eye on issues, but haven't heard much as
of yet at least.

> Therefore, from a pure user's perspective and regarding many years of precedence,
> I am 80:20 for reverting the exit code change.

Thanks for your thoughts,
appreciated as always.

cheers,
Pádraig





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On 2023-12-16 13:46, Bernhard Voelker wrote:
> Whether the implementation is race-prone or not is an internal thing.

I wasn't referring to the internal implementation. I was referring to cp 
users. With the newer Coreutils (FreeBSD) behavior, you can reliably 
write a script to do something if cp -n didn't copy the file because the 
destination already existed. With the older Coreutils behavior you 
cannot do that reliably; there will always be a race condition.





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On 12/15/23 21:13, Michael Stone wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 15, 2023 at 11:21:06AM -0800, Paul Eggert wrote:
>> Stlll, Pádraig gave a reasonable summary of why the change was made,
>> despite its incompatibility with previous behavior. (One thing I'd add
>> is that the FreeBSD behavior is inherently less race-prone.)

Whether the implementation is race-prone or not is an internal thing.
I think we're currently discussing more on a user-perspective level.

IIUC then the question is whether `cp -n` should continue to behave like
the (new) `cp --update=none` which returns EXIT_SUCCESS.

Regardless what other implementations do, when reading the -n description
from a user's point of view:

   -n, --no-clobber             do not overwrite an existing file (overrides a
                                  -u or previous -i option). See also --update

then I'd expect the tool to just skip existing files like `rsync --ignore-existing`
does.  In that regard I would be surprised if skipping files would result in an error.
Well, I would understand if there'd be a '--no-clobber=fail' option.

As Kamil added the option in 2009, I'd assume that the same patch was already
active in RHEL versions for quite some longer time.
Now changing the exit code feels kind of rough.

Therefore, from a pure user's perspective and regarding many years of precedence,
I am 80:20 for reverting the exit code change.

Have a nice day,
Berny




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On Fri, Dec 15, 2023 at 11:21:06AM -0800, Paul Eggert wrote:
>Stlll, Pdraig gave a reasonable summary of why the change was made, 
>despite its incompatibility with previous behavior. (One thing I'd add 
>is that the FreeBSD behavior is inherently less race-prone.) It seemed 
>like a good idea at the time all things considered, and to my mind 
>still does.

I think you underestimate the value of maintaining compatibity with 
deployed versions. In the abstract it may have been a nice cleanup, but 
there are a lot of dumb things in the posix utilities that have been 
dumb for so long it's not worth the pain of changing them. Since this 
change hasn't yet hit mainstream debian, ubuntu, rhel, or suse users, I 
strongly suspect that this is a case where the absence of complaints is 
simply a sign that most of the people who'd be impacted haven't 
experienced the change yet.

>Even if we tell people not to use -n at all, that doesn't mean we 
>should revert to the coreutils 9.1 behavior.

It does, IMO, as it would be less likely to break scripts written by 
existing coreutils users.

>The cat is to some extent out of the bag. Unless one insists on 
>(FreeBSD | coreutils 9.2-9.4), or insist on coreutils 7.1-9.1, one 
>should not rely on cp -n failing or silently succeeding when the 
>destination already exists. This will remain true regardless of 
>whether coreutils reverts to its 7.1-9.1 behavior.

Or you use a distribution that has to patch to maintain compatibility 
between versions. Ideally upstream would revert the behavior for now, 
deprecate as the long term fix, and all distributions would work the 
same. The other option is that each distribution decides whether to be 
compatible with upstream coreutils or their own previous release.




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Subject: Re: bug#62572: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
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On 2023-12-15 10:49, Michael Stone wrote:
> There's no compelling reason to force this change

Well, certainly nobody compelled us at gunpoint....

Stlll, P=C3=A1draig gave a reasonable summary of why the change was made,=
=20
despite its incompatibility with previous behavior. (One thing I'd add=20
is that the FreeBSD behavior is inherently less race-prone.) It seemed=20
like a good idea at the time all things considered, and to my mind still=20
does.


> Essentially the current situation is that -n shouldn't be used if you e=
xpect a certain behavior for this case and you are writing a script for l=
inux systems. Maybe in 10 years you'll be able to assume the new behavior=
. Better to just tell people to not use it at all, and leave the historic=
 behavior alone until everyone has stopped using -n entirely.

Even if we tell people not to use -n at all, that doesn't mean we should=20
revert to the coreutils 9.1 behavior.

The cat is to some extent out of the bag. Unless one insists on (FreeBSD=20
| coreutils 9.2-9.4), or insist on coreutils 7.1-9.1, one should not=20
rely on cp -n failing or silently succeeding when the destination=20
already exists. This will remain true regardless of whether coreutils=20
reverts to its 7.1-9.1 behavior.




Information forwarded to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN:
bug#62572; Package coreutils. Full text available.

Message received at 62572 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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From: Michael Stone <mstone@HIDDEN>
To: =?iso-8859-1?Q?P=E1draig?= Brady <P@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#62572: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
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On Fri, Dec 15, 2023 at 06:33:00PM +0000, Pdraig Brady wrote:
>Advantages of leaving as is:
>We get consistency of "noclobber" behavior across systems / shells.

You don't, unless you ignore the coreutils/linux installed base 
entirely. Essentially the current situation is that -n shouldn't be used 
if you expect a certain behavior for this case and you are writing a 
script for linux systems. Maybe in 10 years you'll be able to assume 
the new behavior. Better to just tell people to not use it at all, and 
leave the historic behavior alone until everyone has stopped using -n 
entirely.

>There is no potential for data loss etc.

There may not be, strictly speaking, if you look only at cp without 
context, but we have absolutely no idea what the impact is on the 
unknown number of existing scripts that depend on the historic behavior. 
This is causing breakages in practice.

>so it just comes
>down to how disruptive it is, or how often -n was used
>with the "skip behavior" assumption.

IMO, it should come down to trying to avoid breaking changes in core 
system utilities. There's no compelling reason to force this change, so 
why break anything that depended on the historic behavior--especially 
without any notice or transition period--regardless of arguments over 
whether the historic behavior was right?

>We've not had much push back as of yet,
>and my current thinking is it's not that disruptive a change.

I suspect that's because it has not yet been widely deployed, which 
makes now the time to fix it.

Michael Stone




Information forwarded to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN:
bug#62572; Package coreutils. Full text available.

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On 15/12/2023 15:56, Michael Stone wrote:
> I tend to think this was a serious mistake: it breaks the behavior of
> existing scripts with no deprecation period. A stated advantage is
> better compatibility with freebsd, but I don't understand why that is
> more desirable than compatibility with all deployed gnu/linux systems? I
> also don't think it's sufficient to try to lawyer out by saying that the
> current behavior was undocumented: the previous documentation said that
> -n would "silently do nothing" and that the return code would be zero on
> success. Logically, unless cp fails to "do nothing", it should exit with
> a zero code.
> 
> Such a drastic change in behavior demands a new flag, not a radical
> repurposing of a widely used existing flag.
> 
> I was hoping to see more action on this bug, but that hasn't happened.
> I'm not sure I see a way forward for debian other than reverting to the
> old behavior. I am reluctant to do so as that will likely lead to
> divergent behavior between distributions, but breaking scripts without a
> compelling reason is also not good. I would encourage coreutils to
> reconsider the change and finding a non-breaking way forward.

Yes it's a fair point.
It's an awkward case, and worth discussing.

To summarise:

   coreutils >= 7.1 had -n skip existing in dest (2009)
   coreutils >= 9.2 has -n immediately fail if existing in dest
   coreutils >= 9.3 has --update=none to skip existing in dest

   FreeBSD >= 4.7/macos has -n immediately fail if existing in dest

   bash has noclobber as a file protection mechanism,
   and fails immediately upon trying to overwrite a file.
   This is more consistent with the new coreutils behavior.

I see a reasonable amount of cp -n usage across github:
https://github.com/search?q=/cp+.*+-n+.*/+path:*.sh&type=code

Now it's not clear which behavior these github usages expect,
and the original docs didn't make it clear which behavior to expect.
A quick scan of the github usages also seem mainly to expect
a protection rather than an update use case, so failing
immediately would be the most appropriate action there too.
Also the original coreutils bug report here expected the new behaviour.

So we probably all agree that failing immediately is the
most appropriate / consistent -n behavior,
but GNU had diverged from that so there are about 10 years
of scripts that may expect the silent skip behavior.

Two options I see are:

- Leave as is and fix -n usages that expected the skip behavior
- Deprecate -n entirely and prompt to use --update={fail,none}

Advantages of leaving as is:
We get consistency of "noclobber" behavior across systems / shells.
We fix cases where previously scripts could have proceeded with
stale old files in place.

Disadvantages of leaving as is:
Users expecting the skip behavior, have to change to --update=none.

There is no potential for data loss etc. so it just comes
down to how disruptive it is, or how often -n was used
with the "skip behavior" assumption.

We've not had much push back as of yet,
and my current thinking is it's not that disruptive a change.
So I'd be 55:45 if favor of keeping things as is.

thanks,
Pádraig.




Information forwarded to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN:
bug#62572; Package coreutils. Full text available.

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Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2023 10:56:03 -0500
From: Michael Stone <mstone@HIDDEN>
To: 62572 <at> debbugs.gnu.org
Subject: Re: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
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I tend to think this was a serious mistake: it breaks the behavior of 
existing scripts with no deprecation period. A stated advantage is 
better compatibility with freebsd, but I don't understand why that is 
more desirable than compatibility with all deployed gnu/linux systems? I 
also don't think it's sufficient to try to lawyer out by saying that the 
current behavior was undocumented: the previous documentation said that 
-n would "silently do nothing" and that the return code would be zero on 
success. Logically, unless cp fails to "do nothing", it should exit with 
a zero code.

Such a drastic change in behavior demands a new flag, not a radical 
repurposing of a widely used existing flag.

I was hoping to see more action on this bug, but that hasn't happened. 
I'm not sure I see a way forward for debian other than reverting to the 
old behavior. I am reluctant to do so as that will likely lead to 
divergent behavior between distributions, but breaking scripts without a 
compelling reason is also not good. I would encourage coreutils to 
reconsider the change and finding a non-breaking way forward.

Michael Stone




Information forwarded to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN:
bug#62572; Package coreutils. Full text available.

Message received at 62572 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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Hi,

from https://bugs.debian.org/1055694 where this broke things
where files were deliberately not overwritten (klibc installs
its utils but only those busybox (when used) does not provide).

In this case not copying the file is absolutely not an error.

Perhaps do it like diff(1) and use distinct errorlevels for
some files were not copied in -n mode vs. there was an error
in those that *were* copied. Then document that in the manpage
as extension and reach out to FreeBSD to follow.

bye,
//mirabilos
-- 
(gnutls can also be used, but if you are compiling lynx for your own use,
there is no reason to consider using that package)
	-- Thomas E. Dickey on the Lynx mailing list, about OpenSSL




Information forwarded to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN:
bug#62572; Package coreutils. Full text available.

Message received at 62572 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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Subject: Re: bug#62572: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
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This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
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Take 2 attached.

cheers,
Pádraig

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--------------G1AAeHVJgVOnsb1iWnc0pf40--




Information forwarded to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN:
bug#62572; Package coreutils. Full text available.

Message received at 62572 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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Subject: Re: bug#62572: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
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On 01/04/2023 23:44, Paul Eggert wrote:
> On 2023-04-01 08:44, Pádraig Brady wrote:
> 
>> OK first stab at --update=none support is attached.
> 
> Thanks, some comments:
> 
> 
>> +  /* Always Overwrite.  */
>> +  UPDATE_OVERWRITE,
> 
> Might be better to call this UPDATE_ALL as it doesn't overwrite if you
> use cp -l or -s or (in some cases) --preserve=links.

+1

>> +static char const *const update_type_string[] =
>> +{
>> +  "none", "older", NULL
>> +};
> 
> Perhaps there should also be an --update=all, which is the same as no
> update option at all? It would presumably override previous --update
> suboptions.

+1

>>     -n, --no-clobber             do not overwrite an existing file (overrides\n\
>> -                                 a previous -i option)\n\
>> +                                 a -u or previous -i option)\n\
> 
> Shouldn't -n override only previous -u or --update options? I thought
> these options were processed left to right, with later overriding earlier.


Well I was just keeping the existing global treatment of -n wrt -u, as per:
https://github.com/coreutils/coreutils/commit/7e244891b
-n does seem like more of a global "make sure you don't overwrite anything" setting
(which is analogous to the shell "noclobber" option BTW which also induces a failure when triggered).
I'll think a bit more about this.

>> +  -u                           only update when the SOURCE file is newer\n\
>>                                    than the destination file or when the\n\
>>                                    destination file is missing\n\
>> +  --update[=UPDATE_MODE]       like -u, but support skipping existing files;\n\
>> +                                 UPDATE_MODE={none,older(default)}\n\
> 
> This might be clearer if we describe --update first, and then say that
> -u is equivalent to plain --update.

+1

>> +  if (make_backups && x.interactive == I_ALWAYS_SKIP)
>> +    {
>> +      error (0, 0,
>> +             _("options --backup and --update=none are mutually exclusive"));
>> +      usage (EXIT_FAILURE);
>> +    }
> 
> Why is this needed? --backup and -u are not mutually exclusive now.
> Admittedly --backup is useless when -u is given, but it seems a bit
> harsh to error out.

Yes --backup is redundant with -n or --update=none.
We already disallowed --backup with -n,
so I was just being consistent with disallowing --backup with --update=none.
I'll remove this new restriction.

thanks for the review,
Pádraig




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From: Paul Eggert <eggert@HIDDEN>
Organization: UCLA Computer Science Department
Subject: Re: bug#62572: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
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On 2023-04-01 08:44, P=C3=A1draig Brady wrote:

> OK first stab at --update=3Dnone support is attached.

Thanks, some comments:


> +  /* Always Overwrite.  */
> +  UPDATE_OVERWRITE,

Might be better to call this UPDATE_ALL as it doesn't overwrite if you=20
use cp -l or -s or (in some cases) --preserve=3Dlinks.

> +static char const *const update_type_string[] =3D
> +{
> +  "none", "older", NULL
> +};

Perhaps there should also be an --update=3Dall, which is the same as no=20
update option at all? It would presumably override previous --update=20
suboptions.

>    -n, --no-clobber             do not overwrite an existing file (over=
rides\n\
> -                                 a previous -i option)\n\
> +                                 a -u or previous -i option)\n\

Shouldn't -n override only previous -u or --update options? I thought=20
these options were processed left to right, with later overriding earlier=
.


> +  -u                           only update when the SOURCE file is new=
er\n\
>                                   than the destination file or when the=
\n\
>                                   destination file is missing\n\
> +  --update[=3DUPDATE_MODE]       like -u, but support skipping existin=
g files;\n\
> +                                 UPDATE_MODE=3D{none,older(default)}\n=
\

This might be clearer if we describe --update first, and then say that=20
-u is equivalent to plain --update.


> +  if (make_backups && x.interactive =3D=3D I_ALWAYS_SKIP)
> +    {
> +      error (0, 0,
> +             _("options --backup and --update=3Dnone are mutually excl=
usive"));
> +      usage (EXIT_FAILURE);
> +    }

Why is this needed? --backup and -u are not mutually exclusive now.=20
Admittedly --backup is useless when -u is given, but it seems a bit=20
harsh to error out.




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Subject: Re: bug#62572: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
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--000000000000613f5005f84a4be8
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Maybe simpler:

-m --missing
Only copy non existing files.

On Sat, 1 Apr 2023 at 17:44, P=C3=A1draig Brady <P@HIDDEN> wrote:

> On 01/04/2023 00:29, Paul Eggert wrote:
> > On 2023-03-31 14:32, P=C3=A1draig Brady wrote:
> >
> >> Perhaps we should support:
> >>     --no-clobber[=3D{skip, fail (default)}]
> >>
> >> so then users can at least easily change -n to --no-clobber=3Dskip
> >> to get the old behavior?
> >>
> >> An alternative would be to augment the --update option to support:
> >>     --update[=3D{none, older (default)}]
> >> where --update=3Dnone would be the equivalent of the old -n behavior.
> >
> > The latter sounds a bit better but I suppose either would work. We coul=
d
> > generalize it a bit further, e.g.:
> >
> >     --skip-diagnose[=3D{yes,no}]
> >        Whether to diagnose a copying action being skipped.
> >     --skip-fail[=3D{yes,no}]
> >        Whether exit status should be 1 when skipping a copying action.
> >
> > Presumably similar options would apply to ln and mv.
> >
> > All these extra options might be overkill, though.
> >
> >
> >> Perhaps we should also diagnose files skipped in the -n fail case,
> >> to make it easier for users to see what the issue is.
> >
> > FreeBSD cp -n doesn't diagnose, and GNU cp -n has never diagnosed, so
> > it's probably better to leave sleeping dogs lie.
>
> OK first stab at --update=3Dnone support is attached.
>
> cheers,
> P=C3=A1draig
>

--000000000000613f5005f84a4be8
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<div dir=3D"ltr"><div>Maybe simpler:</div><div><br></div><div>-m --missing<=
/div><div>Only copy non existing files.<br></div></div><br><div class=3D"gm=
ail_quote"><div dir=3D"ltr" class=3D"gmail_attr">On Sat, 1 Apr 2023 at 17:4=
4, P=C3=A1draig Brady &lt;<a href=3D"mailto:P@HIDDEN">P@draigbrady.=
com</a>&gt; wrote:<br></div><blockquote class=3D"gmail_quote" style=3D"marg=
in:0px 0px 0px 0.8ex;border-left:1px solid rgb(204,204,204);padding-left:1e=
x">On 01/04/2023 00:29, Paul Eggert wrote:<br>
&gt; On 2023-03-31 14:32, P=C3=A1draig Brady wrote:<br>
&gt; <br>
&gt;&gt; Perhaps we should support:<br>
&gt;&gt;=C2=A0 =C2=A0=C2=A0 --no-clobber[=3D{skip, fail (default)}]<br>
&gt;&gt;<br>
&gt;&gt; so then users can at least easily change -n to --no-clobber=3Dskip=
<br>
&gt;&gt; to get the old behavior?<br>
&gt;&gt;<br>
&gt;&gt; An alternative would be to augment the --update option to support:=
<br>
&gt;&gt;=C2=A0 =C2=A0=C2=A0 --update[=3D{none, older (default)}]<br>
&gt;&gt; where --update=3Dnone would be the equivalent of the old -n behavi=
or.<br>
&gt; <br>
&gt; The latter sounds a bit better but I suppose either would work. We cou=
ld<br>
&gt; generalize it a bit further, e.g.:<br>
&gt; <br>
&gt;=C2=A0 =C2=A0 =C2=A0--skip-diagnose[=3D{yes,no}]<br>
&gt;=C2=A0 =C2=A0 =C2=A0 =C2=A0 Whether to diagnose a copying action being =
skipped.<br>
&gt;=C2=A0 =C2=A0 =C2=A0--skip-fail[=3D{yes,no}]<br>
&gt;=C2=A0 =C2=A0 =C2=A0 =C2=A0 Whether exit status should be 1 when skippi=
ng a copying action.<br>
&gt; <br>
&gt; Presumably similar options would apply to ln and mv.<br>
&gt; <br>
&gt; All these extra options might be overkill, though.<br>
&gt; <br>
&gt; <br>
&gt;&gt; Perhaps we should also diagnose files skipped in the -n fail case,=
<br>
&gt;&gt; to make it easier for users to see what the issue is.<br>
&gt; <br>
&gt; FreeBSD cp -n doesn&#39;t diagnose, and GNU cp -n has never diagnosed,=
 so<br>
&gt; it&#39;s probably better to leave sleeping dogs lie.<br>
<br>
OK first stab at --update=3Dnone support is attached.<br>
<br>
cheers,<br>
P=C3=A1draig<br>
</blockquote></div>

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Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2023 16:44:37 +0100
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Subject: Re: bug#62572: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
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To: Paul Eggert <eggert@HIDDEN>, Sven Joachim <svenjoac@HIDDEN>
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From: =?UTF-8?Q?P=C3=A1draig_Brady?= <P@HIDDEN>
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On 01/04/2023 00:29, Paul Eggert wrote:
> On 2023-03-31 14:32, Pádraig Brady wrote:
> 
>> Perhaps we should support:
>>     --no-clobber[={skip, fail (default)}]
>>
>> so then users can at least easily change -n to --no-clobber=skip
>> to get the old behavior?
>>
>> An alternative would be to augment the --update option to support:
>>     --update[={none, older (default)}]
>> where --update=none would be the equivalent of the old -n behavior.
> 
> The latter sounds a bit better but I suppose either would work. We could
> generalize it a bit further, e.g.:
> 
>     --skip-diagnose[={yes,no}]
>        Whether to diagnose a copying action being skipped.
>     --skip-fail[={yes,no}]
>        Whether exit status should be 1 when skipping a copying action.
> 
> Presumably similar options would apply to ln and mv.
> 
> All these extra options might be overkill, though.
> 
> 
>> Perhaps we should also diagnose files skipped in the -n fail case,
>> to make it easier for users to see what the issue is.
> 
> FreeBSD cp -n doesn't diagnose, and GNU cp -n has never diagnosed, so
> it's probably better to leave sleeping dogs lie.

OK first stab at --update=none support is attached.

cheers,
Pádraig

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Subject: Re: bug#62572: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
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On 01/04/2023 15:46, Alberto Salvia Novella wrote:
> Also there's now a bigger problem: that you cannot tell when the copy
> failed because the file exists, or because any other reason.
> 
> People will just use:
> cp --no-clover $in $out || true
> 
> But if it fails for any other reason, cross your fingers.
> 
> Hence now the option, in practice, is useless. Nobody should be using it.

Well the current thinking is -n is useful to fail with unexpected existing files.

For the functionality you want of only updating non existent files,
one should use the proposed --update=none new option.

It's worth mentioning that this being a new option
impacts the portability of scripts that use it.

cheers,
Pádraig





Information forwarded to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN:
bug#62572; Package coreutils. Full text available.

Message received at 62572 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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From: Alberto Salvia Novella <es20490446e@HIDDEN>
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2023 16:46:55 +0200
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Also there's now a bigger problem: that you cannot tell when the copy
failed because the file exists, or because any other reason.

People will just use:
cp --no-clover $in $out || true

But if it fails for any other reason, cross your fingers.

Hence now the option, in practice, is useless. Nobody should be using it.


On Sat, 1 Apr 2023 at 03:41, Alberto Salvia Novella <es20490446e@HIDDEN>
wrote:

> Or use:
> cp --no-clover $in $out || true
>
> But again, surprising behavior. Just a new special case to memorize.
>
> On Sat, 1 Apr 2023 at 03:36, Alberto Salvia Novella <es20490446e@HIDDEN=
m>
> wrote:
>
>> I get the impression that right now --no-clover is optimized for the les=
s
>> common scenarios, while making it less useful for the common ones.
>>
>> Also --update isn't a substitute of --no-clover. As --no-clover is for
>> copying when the file is missing, not when it isn't updated.
>>
>> For example imagine that I have a config template, and a script copies
>> the template only if it is missing using --no-clover.
>>
>> If I did the same with --update it could happen the following: the
>> package that provides the template updates, then --update will override =
the
>> config even if it exists, just because the source file is now newer. No
>> good.
>>
>> So right now the only option that I have is to avoid both --no-clover an=
d
>> --update all together, and to test for the file existence separately. So
>> totally useless.
>>
>> On Sat, 1 Apr 2023 at 01:29, Paul Eggert <eggert@HIDDEN> wrote:
>>
>>> On 2023-03-31 14:32, P=C3=A1draig Brady wrote:
>>>
>>> > Perhaps we should support:
>>> >    --no-clobber[=3D{skip, fail (default)}]
>>> >
>>> > so then users can at least easily change -n to --no-clobber=3Dskip
>>> > to get the old behavior?
>>> >
>>> > An alternative would be to augment the --update option to support:
>>> >    --update[=3D{none, older (default)}]
>>> > where --update=3Dnone would be the equivalent of the old -n behavior.
>>>
>>> The latter sounds a bit better but I suppose either would work. We coul=
d
>>> generalize it a bit further, e.g.:
>>>
>>>    --skip-diagnose[=3D{yes,no}]
>>>       Whether to diagnose a copying action being skipped.
>>>    --skip-fail[=3D{yes,no}]
>>>       Whether exit status should be 1 when skipping a copying action.
>>>
>>> Presumably similar options would apply to ln and mv.
>>>
>>> All these extra options might be overkill, though.
>>>
>>>
>>> > Perhaps we should also diagnose files skipped in the -n fail case,
>>> > to make it easier for users to see what the issue is.
>>>
>>> FreeBSD cp -n doesn't diagnose, and GNU cp -n has never diagnosed, so
>>> it's probably better to leave sleeping dogs lie.
>>>
>>

--0000000000005f58cf05f8476699
Content-Type: text/html; charset="UTF-8"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

<div dir=3D"ltr"><div>Also there&#39;s now a bigger problem: that you canno=
t tell when the copy failed because the file exists, or because any other r=
eason.</div><div><br></div><div>People will just use:</div><div>cp --no-clo=
ver $in $out || true</div><div><br></div><div>But if it fails for any other=
 reason, cross your fingers.</div><div><br></div><div>Hence now the option,=
 in practice, is useless. Nobody should be using it.<br></div><br></div><br=
><div class=3D"gmail_quote"><div dir=3D"ltr" class=3D"gmail_attr">On Sat, 1=
 Apr 2023 at 03:41, Alberto Salvia Novella &lt;<a href=3D"mailto:es20490446=
e@HIDDEN">es20490446e@HIDDEN</a>&gt; wrote:<br></div><blockquote clas=
s=3D"gmail_quote" style=3D"margin:0px 0px 0px 0.8ex;border-left:1px solid r=
gb(204,204,204);padding-left:1ex"><div dir=3D"ltr"><div dir=3D"ltr"><div>Or=
 use:</div><div>cp --no-clover $in $out || true</div><div><br></div><div>Bu=
t again, surprising behavior. Just a new special case to memorize.<br></div=
></div><br><div class=3D"gmail_quote"><div dir=3D"ltr" class=3D"gmail_attr"=
>On Sat, 1 Apr 2023 at 03:36, Alberto Salvia Novella &lt;<a href=3D"mailto:=
es20490446e@HIDDEN" target=3D"_blank">es20490446e@HIDDEN</a>&gt; wrot=
e:<br></div><blockquote class=3D"gmail_quote" style=3D"margin:0px 0px 0px 0=
.8ex;border-left:1px solid rgb(204,204,204);padding-left:1ex"><div dir=3D"l=
tr"><div>I get the impression that right now --no-clover is optimized for t=
he less common scenarios, while making it less useful for the common ones.<=
/div><div><br></div><div>Also --update isn&#39;t a substitute of --no-clove=
r. As --no-clover is for copying when the file is missing, not when it isn&=
#39;t updated.</div><div><br></div><div>For example imagine that I have a c=
onfig template, and a script copies the template only if it is missing usin=
g --no-clover.</div><div><br></div><div>If I did the same with --update it =
could happen the following: the package that provides the template updates,=
 then --update will override the config even if it exists, just because the=
 source file is now newer. No good.</div><div><br></div><div>So right now t=
he only option that I have is to avoid both --no-clover and --update all to=
gether, and to test for the file existence separately. So totally useless.<=
br></div></div><br><div class=3D"gmail_quote"><div dir=3D"ltr" class=3D"gma=
il_attr">On Sat, 1 Apr 2023 at 01:29, Paul Eggert &lt;<a href=3D"mailto:egg=
ert@HIDDEN" target=3D"_blank">eggert@HIDDEN</a>&gt; wrote:<br></d=
iv><blockquote class=3D"gmail_quote" style=3D"margin:0px 0px 0px 0.8ex;bord=
er-left:1px solid rgb(204,204,204);padding-left:1ex">On 2023-03-31 14:32, P=
=C3=A1draig Brady wrote:<br>
<br>
&gt; Perhaps we should support:<br>
&gt;=C2=A0 =C2=A0 --no-clobber[=3D{skip, fail (default)}]<br>
&gt; <br>
&gt; so then users can at least easily change -n to --no-clobber=3Dskip<br>
&gt; to get the old behavior?<br>
&gt; <br>
&gt; An alternative would be to augment the --update option to support:<br>
&gt;=C2=A0 =C2=A0 --update[=3D{none, older (default)}]<br>
&gt; where --update=3Dnone would be the equivalent of the old -n behavior.<=
br>
<br>
The latter sounds a bit better but I suppose either would work. We could <b=
r>
generalize it a bit further, e.g.:<br>
<br>
=C2=A0 =C2=A0--skip-diagnose[=3D{yes,no}]<br>
=C2=A0 =C2=A0 =C2=A0 Whether to diagnose a copying action being skipped.<br=
>
=C2=A0 =C2=A0--skip-fail[=3D{yes,no}]<br>
=C2=A0 =C2=A0 =C2=A0 Whether exit status should be 1 when skipping a copyin=
g action.<br>
<br>
Presumably similar options would apply to ln and mv.<br>
<br>
All these extra options might be overkill, though.<br>
<br>
<br>
&gt; Perhaps we should also diagnose files skipped in the -n fail case,<br>
&gt; to make it easier for users to see what the issue is.<br>
<br>
FreeBSD cp -n doesn&#39;t diagnose, and GNU cp -n has never diagnosed, so <=
br>
it&#39;s probably better to leave sleeping dogs lie.<br>
</blockquote></div>
</blockquote></div></div>
</blockquote></div>

--0000000000005f58cf05f8476699--




Information forwarded to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN:
bug#62572; Package coreutils. Full text available.

Message received at 62572 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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From: Alberto Salvia Novella <es20490446e@HIDDEN>
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2023 03:41:10 +0200
Message-ID: <CAHJvkbsWJdax7Xk1Fu-N2K7GdLkrrYYM5NKfiefUQnP2J3Z28g@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#62572: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
To: Paul Eggert <eggert@HIDDEN>
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--0000000000004b37fe05f83c6cff
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Or use:
cp --no-clover $in $out || true

But again, surprising behavior. Just a new special case to memorize.

On Sat, 1 Apr 2023 at 03:36, Alberto Salvia Novella <es20490446e@HIDDEN>
wrote:

> I get the impression that right now --no-clover is optimized for the less
> common scenarios, while making it less useful for the common ones.
>
> Also --update isn't a substitute of --no-clover. As --no-clover is for
> copying when the file is missing, not when it isn't updated.
>
> For example imagine that I have a config template, and a script copies th=
e
> template only if it is missing using --no-clover.
>
> If I did the same with --update it could happen the following: the packag=
e
> that provides the template updates, then --update will override the confi=
g
> even if it exists, just because the source file is now newer. No good.
>
> So right now the only option that I have is to avoid both --no-clover and
> --update all together, and to test for the file existence separately. So
> totally useless.
>
> On Sat, 1 Apr 2023 at 01:29, Paul Eggert <eggert@HIDDEN> wrote:
>
>> On 2023-03-31 14:32, P=C3=A1draig Brady wrote:
>>
>> > Perhaps we should support:
>> >    --no-clobber[=3D{skip, fail (default)}]
>> >
>> > so then users can at least easily change -n to --no-clobber=3Dskip
>> > to get the old behavior?
>> >
>> > An alternative would be to augment the --update option to support:
>> >    --update[=3D{none, older (default)}]
>> > where --update=3Dnone would be the equivalent of the old -n behavior.
>>
>> The latter sounds a bit better but I suppose either would work. We could
>> generalize it a bit further, e.g.:
>>
>>    --skip-diagnose[=3D{yes,no}]
>>       Whether to diagnose a copying action being skipped.
>>    --skip-fail[=3D{yes,no}]
>>       Whether exit status should be 1 when skipping a copying action.
>>
>> Presumably similar options would apply to ln and mv.
>>
>> All these extra options might be overkill, though.
>>
>>
>> > Perhaps we should also diagnose files skipped in the -n fail case,
>> > to make it easier for users to see what the issue is.
>>
>> FreeBSD cp -n doesn't diagnose, and GNU cp -n has never diagnosed, so
>> it's probably better to leave sleeping dogs lie.
>>
>

--0000000000004b37fe05f83c6cff
Content-Type: text/html; charset="UTF-8"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

<div dir=3D"ltr"><div dir=3D"ltr"><div>Or use:</div><div>cp --no-clover $in=
 $out || true</div><div><br></div><div>But again, surprising behavior. Just=
 a new special case to memorize.<br></div></div><br><div class=3D"gmail_quo=
te"><div dir=3D"ltr" class=3D"gmail_attr">On Sat, 1 Apr 2023 at 03:36, Albe=
rto Salvia Novella &lt;<a href=3D"mailto:es20490446e@HIDDEN">es20490446e=
@gmail.com</a>&gt; wrote:<br></div><blockquote class=3D"gmail_quote" style=
=3D"margin:0px 0px 0px 0.8ex;border-left:1px solid rgb(204,204,204);padding=
-left:1ex"><div dir=3D"ltr"><div>I get the impression that right now --no-c=
lover is optimized for the less common scenarios, while making it less usef=
ul for the common ones.</div><div><br></div><div>Also --update isn&#39;t a =
substitute of --no-clover. As --no-clover is for copying when the file is m=
issing, not when it isn&#39;t updated.</div><div><br></div><div>For example=
 imagine that I have a config template, and a script copies the template on=
ly if it is missing using --no-clover.</div><div><br></div><div>If I did th=
e same with --update it could happen the following: the package that provid=
es the template updates, then --update will override the config even if it =
exists, just because the source file is now newer. No good.</div><div><br><=
/div><div>So right now the only option that I have is to avoid both --no-cl=
over and --update all together, and to test for the file existence separate=
ly. So totally useless.<br></div></div><br><div class=3D"gmail_quote"><div =
dir=3D"ltr" class=3D"gmail_attr">On Sat, 1 Apr 2023 at 01:29, Paul Eggert &=
lt;<a href=3D"mailto:eggert@HIDDEN" target=3D"_blank">eggert@HIDDEN=
du</a>&gt; wrote:<br></div><blockquote class=3D"gmail_quote" style=3D"margi=
n:0px 0px 0px 0.8ex;border-left:1px solid rgb(204,204,204);padding-left:1ex=
">On 2023-03-31 14:32, P=C3=A1draig Brady wrote:<br>
<br>
&gt; Perhaps we should support:<br>
&gt;=C2=A0 =C2=A0 --no-clobber[=3D{skip, fail (default)}]<br>
&gt; <br>
&gt; so then users can at least easily change -n to --no-clobber=3Dskip<br>
&gt; to get the old behavior?<br>
&gt; <br>
&gt; An alternative would be to augment the --update option to support:<br>
&gt;=C2=A0 =C2=A0 --update[=3D{none, older (default)}]<br>
&gt; where --update=3Dnone would be the equivalent of the old -n behavior.<=
br>
<br>
The latter sounds a bit better but I suppose either would work. We could <b=
r>
generalize it a bit further, e.g.:<br>
<br>
=C2=A0 =C2=A0--skip-diagnose[=3D{yes,no}]<br>
=C2=A0 =C2=A0 =C2=A0 Whether to diagnose a copying action being skipped.<br=
>
=C2=A0 =C2=A0--skip-fail[=3D{yes,no}]<br>
=C2=A0 =C2=A0 =C2=A0 Whether exit status should be 1 when skipping a copyin=
g action.<br>
<br>
Presumably similar options would apply to ln and mv.<br>
<br>
All these extra options might be overkill, though.<br>
<br>
<br>
&gt; Perhaps we should also diagnose files skipped in the -n fail case,<br>
&gt; to make it easier for users to see what the issue is.<br>
<br>
FreeBSD cp -n doesn&#39;t diagnose, and GNU cp -n has never diagnosed, so <=
br>
it&#39;s probably better to leave sleeping dogs lie.<br>
</blockquote></div>
</blockquote></div></div>

--0000000000004b37fe05f83c6cff--




Information forwarded to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN:
bug#62572; Package coreutils. Full text available.

Message received at 62572 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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From: Alberto Salvia Novella <es20490446e@HIDDEN>
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2023 03:36:48 +0200
Message-ID: <CAHJvkbtKq9HxruHHAxjxHVjnehYBSLHRNErEH8ZcEDVFRVE0bw@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#62572: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
To: Paul Eggert <eggert@HIDDEN>
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--000000000000a9fe5305f83c5cfb
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
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I get the impression that right now --no-clover is optimized for the less
common scenarios, while making it less useful for the common ones.

Also --update isn't a substitute of --no-clover. As --no-clover is for
copying when the file is missing, not when it isn't updated.

For example imagine that I have a config template, and a script copies the
template only if it is missing using --no-clover.

If I did the same with --update it could happen the following: the package
that provides the template updates, then --update will override the config
even if it exists, just because the source file is now newer. No good.

So right now the only option that I have is to avoid both --no-clover and
--update all together, and to test for the file existence separately. So
totally useless.

On Sat, 1 Apr 2023 at 01:29, Paul Eggert <eggert@HIDDEN> wrote:

> On 2023-03-31 14:32, P=C3=A1draig Brady wrote:
>
> > Perhaps we should support:
> >    --no-clobber[=3D{skip, fail (default)}]
> >
> > so then users can at least easily change -n to --no-clobber=3Dskip
> > to get the old behavior?
> >
> > An alternative would be to augment the --update option to support:
> >    --update[=3D{none, older (default)}]
> > where --update=3Dnone would be the equivalent of the old -n behavior.
>
> The latter sounds a bit better but I suppose either would work. We could
> generalize it a bit further, e.g.:
>
>    --skip-diagnose[=3D{yes,no}]
>       Whether to diagnose a copying action being skipped.
>    --skip-fail[=3D{yes,no}]
>       Whether exit status should be 1 when skipping a copying action.
>
> Presumably similar options would apply to ln and mv.
>
> All these extra options might be overkill, though.
>
>
> > Perhaps we should also diagnose files skipped in the -n fail case,
> > to make it easier for users to see what the issue is.
>
> FreeBSD cp -n doesn't diagnose, and GNU cp -n has never diagnosed, so
> it's probably better to leave sleeping dogs lie.
>

--000000000000a9fe5305f83c5cfb
Content-Type: text/html; charset="UTF-8"
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<div dir=3D"ltr"><div>I get the impression that right now --no-clover is op=
timized for the less common scenarios, while making it less useful for the =
common ones.</div><div><br></div><div>Also --update isn&#39;t a substitute =
of --no-clover. As --no-clover is for copying when the file is missing, not=
 when it isn&#39;t updated.</div><div><br></div><div>For example imagine th=
at I have a config template, and a script copies the template only if it is=
 missing using --no-clover.</div><div><br></div><div>If I did the same with=
 --update it could happen the following: the package that provides the temp=
late updates, then --update will override the config even if it exists, jus=
t because the source file is now newer. No good.</div><div><br></div><div>S=
o right now the only option that I have is to avoid both --no-clover and --=
update all together, and to test for the file existence separately. So tota=
lly useless.<br></div></div><br><div class=3D"gmail_quote"><div dir=3D"ltr"=
 class=3D"gmail_attr">On Sat, 1 Apr 2023 at 01:29, Paul Eggert &lt;<a href=
=3D"mailto:eggert@HIDDEN">eggert@HIDDEN</a>&gt; wrote:<br></div><=
blockquote class=3D"gmail_quote" style=3D"margin:0px 0px 0px 0.8ex;border-l=
eft:1px solid rgb(204,204,204);padding-left:1ex">On 2023-03-31 14:32, P=C3=
=A1draig Brady wrote:<br>
<br>
&gt; Perhaps we should support:<br>
&gt;=C2=A0 =C2=A0 --no-clobber[=3D{skip, fail (default)}]<br>
&gt; <br>
&gt; so then users can at least easily change -n to --no-clobber=3Dskip<br>
&gt; to get the old behavior?<br>
&gt; <br>
&gt; An alternative would be to augment the --update option to support:<br>
&gt;=C2=A0 =C2=A0 --update[=3D{none, older (default)}]<br>
&gt; where --update=3Dnone would be the equivalent of the old -n behavior.<=
br>
<br>
The latter sounds a bit better but I suppose either would work. We could <b=
r>
generalize it a bit further, e.g.:<br>
<br>
=C2=A0 =C2=A0--skip-diagnose[=3D{yes,no}]<br>
=C2=A0 =C2=A0 =C2=A0 Whether to diagnose a copying action being skipped.<br=
>
=C2=A0 =C2=A0--skip-fail[=3D{yes,no}]<br>
=C2=A0 =C2=A0 =C2=A0 Whether exit status should be 1 when skipping a copyin=
g action.<br>
<br>
Presumably similar options would apply to ln and mv.<br>
<br>
All these extra options might be overkill, though.<br>
<br>
<br>
&gt; Perhaps we should also diagnose files skipped in the -n fail case,<br>
&gt; to make it easier for users to see what the issue is.<br>
<br>
FreeBSD cp -n doesn&#39;t diagnose, and GNU cp -n has never diagnosed, so <=
br>
it&#39;s probably better to leave sleeping dogs lie.<br>
</blockquote></div>

--000000000000a9fe5305f83c5cfb--




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Subject: Re: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
From: Christoph Anton Mitterer <calestyo@HIDDEN>
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Date: Sat, 01 Apr 2023 02:05:15 +0200
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In principle I have no strong opinion on what the behaviour should be.

But if one strictly follows the POSIX wording:

>    The following exit values shall be returned:
>     0
>        All input files were [copied/moved] successfully.
>    >0
>        An error occurred.

The change seems to make sense, as one could argue that the above ain't
the case with -n if the destination already exists.

It's however open to debate whether --no-clobber - were it in POSIX -
would have fallen into that spirit.


But at least as of corutils 9.1 's cp info page it was documented as:
>An exit status of zero indicates success, and a nonzero value
>indicates failure.

together with:

> =E2=80=98-n=E2=80=99
> =E2=80=98--no-clobber=E2=80=99
>     Do not overwrite an existing file; silently do nothing instead.
>     This option overrides a previous =E2=80=98-i=E2=80=99 option.  This o=
ption is
>     mutually exclusive with =E2=80=98-b=E2=80=99 or =E2=80=98--backup=E2=
=80=99 option.

that doesn't seem like failure to me.

So it kinda breaks the "promise" made by the documentation.


I like P=C3=A1draig's idea in message #26... but no idea whether it should
be more POSIX like (thus non-zero when nothing was copied) or more
backwards compatible.


Cheers,
Chris.




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On 2023-03-31 14:32, P=C3=A1draig Brady wrote:

> Perhaps we should support:
>  =C2=A0 --no-clobber[=3D{skip, fail (default)}]
>=20
> so then users can at least easily change -n to --no-clobber=3Dskip
> to get the old behavior?
>=20
> An alternative would be to augment the --update option to support:
>  =C2=A0 --update[=3D{none, older (default)}]
> where --update=3Dnone would be the equivalent of the old -n behavior.

The latter sounds a bit better but I suppose either would work. We could=20
generalize it a bit further, e.g.:

   --skip-diagnose[=3D{yes,no}]
      Whether to diagnose a copying action being skipped.
   --skip-fail[=3D{yes,no}]
      Whether exit status should be 1 when skipping a copying action.

Presumably similar options would apply to ln and mv.

All these extra options might be overkill, though.


> Perhaps we should also diagnose files skipped in the -n fail case,
> to make it easier for users to see what the issue is.

FreeBSD cp -n doesn't diagnose, and GNU cp -n has never diagnosed, so=20
it's probably better to leave sleeping dogs lie.




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On 31/03/2023 22:15, Paul Eggert wrote:
> On 2023-03-31 13:37, Sven Joachim wrote:
>> On 2023-03-31 13:01 -0700, Paul Eggert wrote:
>>
>>> part of the idea was to let shell programmers easily test whether
>>> cp successfully copied the data.
>>
>> By making them stop using the '-n' option, since they cannot rely on the
>> exit code anyway?
> 
> Portable code could not rely on the exit status anyway, as FreeBSD cp
> agrees with the new GNU behavior, not the old. See:
> 
> https://bugs.gnu.org/61105
> 
> It was a messy situation where there was no perfect solution. That being
> said, there is an advantage of consistency with FreeBSD, and the new GNU
> behavior does avoid the race mentioned in Bug#61105.

Perhaps we should support:
   --no-clobber[={skip, fail (default)}]

so then users can at least easily change -n to --no-clobber=skip
to get the old behavior?

An alternative would be to augment the --update option to support:
   --update[={none, older (default)}]
where --update=none would be the equivalent of the old -n behavior.

Perhaps we should also diagnose files skipped in the -n fail case,
to make it easier for users to see what the issue is.

cheers,
Pádraig




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On 2023-03-31 13:37, Sven Joachim wrote:
> On 2023-03-31 13:01 -0700, Paul Eggert wrote:
> 
>> part of the idea was to let shell programmers easily test whether
>> cp successfully copied the data.
> 
> By making them stop using the '-n' option, since they cannot rely on the
> exit code anyway?

Portable code could not rely on the exit status anyway, as FreeBSD cp 
agrees with the new GNU behavior, not the old. See:

https://bugs.gnu.org/61105

It was a messy situation where there was no perfect solution. That being 
said, there is an advantage of consistency with FreeBSD, and the new GNU 
behavior does avoid the race mentioned in Bug#61105.




Information forwarded to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN:
bug#62572; Package coreutils. Full text available.

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--000000000000979ab405f83867b0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"

https://youtu.be/o_kh1_gOkwk

On Fri, 31 Mar 2023 at 22:01, Paul Eggert <eggert@HIDDEN> wrote:

> On 2023-03-31 10:01, Alberto Salvia Novella wrote:
> > Is this on purpose?
>
> Yes, part of the idea was to let shell programmers easily test whether
> cp successfully copied the data. Having cp -i conform to POSIX was a
> lesser consideration, though it's a bit nicer if -n and -i are somewhat
> consistent.
>
> For what it's worth, the old behavior wasn't documented and the new
> behavior is.
>

--000000000000979ab405f83867b0
Content-Type: text/html; charset="UTF-8"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

<div dir=3D"ltr"><a href=3D"https://youtu.be/o_kh1_gOkwk">https://youtu.be/=
o_kh1_gOkwk</a></div><br><div class=3D"gmail_quote"><div dir=3D"ltr" class=
=3D"gmail_attr">On Fri, 31 Mar 2023 at 22:01, Paul Eggert &lt;<a href=3D"ma=
ilto:eggert@HIDDEN">eggert@HIDDEN</a>&gt; wrote:<br></div><blockq=
uote class=3D"gmail_quote" style=3D"margin:0px 0px 0px 0.8ex;border-left:1p=
x solid rgb(204,204,204);padding-left:1ex">On 2023-03-31 10:01, Alberto Sal=
via Novella wrote:<br>
&gt; Is this on purpose?<br>
<br>
Yes, part of the idea was to let shell programmers easily test whether <br>
cp successfully copied the data. Having cp -i conform to POSIX was a <br>
lesser consideration, though it&#39;s a bit nicer if -n and -i are somewhat=
 <br>
consistent.<br>
<br>
For what it&#39;s worth, the old behavior wasn&#39;t documented and the new=
 <br>
behavior is.<br>
</blockquote></div>

--000000000000979ab405f83867b0--




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On 2023-03-31 13:01 -0700, Paul Eggert wrote:

> On 2023-03-31 10:01, Alberto Salvia Novella wrote:
>> Is this on purpose?
>
> Yes, part of the idea was to let shell programmers easily test whether
> cp successfully copied the data.

By making them stop using the '-n' option, since they cannot rely on the
exit code anyway?

> Having cp -i conform to POSIX was a
> lesser consideration, though it's a bit nicer if -n and -i are
> somewhat consistent.

It is not so nice that this is probably going to break several dozen
packages in Debian alone. :-(

Cheers,
       Sven




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On 2023-03-31 10:01, Alberto Salvia Novella wrote:
> Is this on purpose?

Yes, part of the idea was to let shell programmers easily test whether 
cp successfully copied the data. Having cp -i conform to POSIX was a 
lesser consideration, though it's a bit nicer if -n and -i are somewhat 
consistent.

For what it's worth, the old behavior wasn't documented and the new 
behavior is.




Information forwarded to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN:
bug#62572; Package coreutils. Full text available.

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From: Sam James <sam@HIDDEN>
To: Alberto Salvia Novella <es20490446e@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#62572: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2023 19:30:47 +0100
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--=-=-=
Content-Type: text/plain


Alberto Salvia Novella <es20490446e@HIDDEN> writes:

> In the past if you did:
> cp --no-clobber $in $out
>
> And "out" existed, "cp" exited with 0. But now, with coreutils 9.2, it
> exists with 1.
>
> Is this on purpose?
>
> (When replying include my email in the field "to", as I'm not subscribed to
> this list)

We hit this in Gentoo at https://bugs.gentoo.org/902751. We concluded
the usage in the ebuild ("build script") was wrong, given that the
coreutils-9.2 NEWS says:
> 'cp -n' and 'mv -n' now exit with nonzero status if they skip their
> action because the destination exists, and likewise for 'cp -i',
> 'ln -i', and 'mv -i' when the user declines.  (POSIX specifies
> this for 'cp -i' and 'mv -i'.)

It still was a bit unexpected though given POSIX doesn't specify -n.

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From: Sam James <sam@HIDDEN>
To: Alberto Salvia Novella <es20490446e@HIDDEN>
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--=-=-=
Content-Type: text/plain


Alberto Salvia Novella <es20490446e@HIDDEN> writes:

> In the past if you did:
> cp --no-clobber $in $out
>
> And "out" existed, "cp" exited with 0. But now, with coreutils 9.2, it
> exists with 1.
>
> Is this on purpose?
>
> (When replying include my email in the field "to", as I'm not subscribed to
> this list)

We hit this in Gentoo at https://bugs.gentoo.org/902751. We concluded
the usage in the ebuild ("build script") was wrong, given that the
coreutils-9.2 NEWS says:
> 'cp -n' and 'mv -n' now exit with nonzero status if they skip their
> action because the destination exists, and likewise for 'cp -i',
> 'ln -i', and 'mv -i' when the user declines.  (POSIX specifies
> this for 'cp -i' and 'mv -i'.)

It still was a bit unexpected though given POSIX doesn't specify -n.

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From: Alberto Salvia Novella <es20490446e@HIDDEN>
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2023 19:01:09 +0200
Message-ID: <CAHJvkbsWyJJnN3fi4tmdQa5CxOXg7O+BqZizzDLei1uNpy=bzw@HIDDEN>
Subject: cp --no-clobber behavior has changed
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--00000000000081f54d05f8352834
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"

In the past if you did:
cp --no-clobber $in $out

And "out" existed, "cp" exited with 0. But now, with coreutils 9.2, it
exists with 1.

Is this on purpose?

(When replying include my email in the field "to", as I'm not subscribed to
this list)

--00000000000081f54d05f8352834
Content-Type: text/html; charset="UTF-8"
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<div dir=3D"ltr"><div>In the past if you did:</div><div>cp --no-clobber $in=
 $out</div><div><br></div><div>And &quot;out&quot; existed, &quot;cp&quot; =
exited with 0. But now, with coreutils 9.2, it exists with 1.</div><div><br=
></div><div>Is this on purpose?</div><div><br></div><div>(When replying inc=
lude my email in the field &quot;to&quot;, as I&#39;m not subscribed to thi=
s list)<br></div></div>

--00000000000081f54d05f8352834--




Acknowledgement sent to Alberto Salvia Novella <es20490446e@HIDDEN>:
New bug report received and forwarded. Copy sent to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN. Full text available.
Report forwarded to bug-coreutils@HIDDEN:
bug#62572; Package coreutils. Full text available.
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