Make a unique filesystem path, without creating the file

Steven D'Aprano steve+comp.lang.python at
Sun Feb 14 23:06:45 EST 2016

On Monday 15 February 2016 11:08, Ben Finney wrote:

> I am unconcerned with whether there is a real filesystem entry of that
> name; the goal entails having no filesystem activity for this. I want a
> valid unique filesystem path, without touching the filesystem.

Your phrasing is ambiguous.

If you are unconcerned whether or not a file of that name exists, then just 
pick a name and use that:

    unique_path = /tmp/foo

is guaranteed to be valid on POSIX systems and unique, and it may or may not 

If you actually do care that /tmp/foo *doesn't* exist, then you have a 
problem: whatever name you pick *now* may no longer "not exist" a 
millisecond later. In general there's no way to create a valid pathname 
which doesn't exist *now* and is guaranteed to continue to not exist unless 
you touch the file system.

But if you explain in more detail why you want this filename, perhaps we can 
come up with some ideas that will help.


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