Some more notes

Steve Holden steve at
Tue Oct 26 00:45:59 CEST 2004

David Bolen wrote:

> Peter Hansen <peter at> writes:
>>Have you verified that those calls would *not* accept
>>something like "\\machine/share/path/file"?
> Nope.  Actually, I don't think that was even applicable since the call
> I'm recalling took a UNC machine name but not a full path, so the only
> thing in the parameter was the machine portion.  Although maybe it did
> include the share level.
>>If they accept this, then I would simply argue that the \\machine
>>part has nothing to do with a path, other than the accident
>>of sharing (but doubling) the backslash that we're used to
>>in Windows paths.  It's a machine name, not a path, similar to
>>how C: is a drive name, not a path, and therefore needs special
> I suppose, but I certainly saw UNC as a logical extension of path
> semantics to cross the network boundary (and imagine that the choice
> of \\ was logically consistent with that approach).  It was a way to
> layer a level "above the root" of the filesystem into a path naming
> convention.
As in UNIX United, circa 1983, for example? That was essentially (IIRC) 
a federated filesystem with each machine's root identified byt he 
machine's name. It worked rather well for its time.

>>After all, you don't expect to be able to use C/ instead of C:,
>>and I don't think one should necessarily expect //machine to
>>work instead of \\machine.
Although of course it DOES worek unr Cygwin, a superior environment to 
many on Windows (even though the Twisted guys appear to dislike it).
> Well, we clearly expect different things, which is fine, and shows the
> variety in the universe :-)
> At least for me, knowing that the API permitted me to use
> "/path/to/file.ext" instead of "\path\to\file.ext" made it seem
> logical it would permit "//machine/share/path/file.ext" for
> "\\machine\share\path\file.ext".  Or at least desirable.
No use expecting logic form Microsoft, matey ;-)
>>This is mostly supposition/theory/wild hand-waving, however.
>>I don't know the reality.  If you post a few of the APIs that
>>you mention, I can try to disprove my theory.
> I'll see if I can find at least one again and forward it over.  I seem
> to recall it was while using some of the win32net wrapped APIs to
> interrogate things on a remote server.
> But I'm also willing to just agree that it only impacts the machine
> spec and that you could consider that distinct from any path
> operation.  I was really just qualifying the general comment about
> Win32 accepting forward slashes in all system calls.
> -- David

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