Follow @Openwall on Twitter for new release announcements and other news
[<prev] [next>] [<thread-prev] [thread-next>] [day] [month] [year] [list]
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2022 20:57:04 +0100
From: Alejandro Colomar <>
To: Shawn Webb <>,,
 John Helmert III <>,
 Demi Marie Obenour <>,
 Jan Engelhardt <>,
 "Lyndon Nerenberg (VE7TFX/VE6BBM)" <>
Cc: Michael Kerrisk <>,,
Subject: Re: [patch] proc.5: tell how to parse /proc/*/stat

Hi all,

On 12/28/22 20:24, Shawn Webb wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 28, 2022 at 01:02:35PM -0500, Demi Marie Obenour wrote:
>> On Wed, Dec 28, 2022 at 12:25:17PM -0500, Shawn Webb wrote:
>>> On Wed, Dec 28, 2022 at 11:47:25AM -0500, Demi Marie Obenour wrote:
>>>> On Wed, Dec 28, 2022 at 10:24:58AM -0500, Shawn Webb wrote:
>>>>> On Tue, Dec 27, 2022 at 04:44:49PM -0800, Lyndon Nerenberg (VE7TFX/VE6BBM) wrote:
>>>>>> Dominique Martinet writes:
>>>>>>> But, really, I just don't see how this can practically be said to be parsable...
>>>>>> In its current form it never will be.  The solution is to place
>>>>>> this variable-length field last.  Then you can "cut -d ' ' -f 51-"
>>>>>> to get the command+args part (assuming I counted all those fields
>>>>>> correctly ...)
>>>>>> Of course, this breaks backwards compatability.
>>>>> It would also break forwards compatibility in the case new fields
>>>>> needed to be added.
>>>>> The only solution would be a libxo-style feature wherein a
>>>>> machine-parseable format is exposed by virtue of a file extension.
>>>>> Examples:
>>>>> 1. /proc/pid/stats.json
>>>>> 2. /proc/pid/stats.xml
>>>>> 3. /proc/pid/stats.yaml_shouldnt_be_a_thing
>>>> A binary format would be even better.  No risk of ambiguity.
>>> I think the argument I'm trying to make is to be flexible in
>>> implementation, allowing for future needs and wants--that is "future
>>> proofing".
>> Linux should not have an XML, JSON, or YAML serializer.  Linux already
>> does way too much; let’s not add one more thing to the list.
> Somewhat agreed. I think formats like JSON provide a good balance
> between machine parseable and human readable.
> a
> As I described earlier, though, when it comes to concepts like procfs
> and sysfs, I have a bias towards abandoning them in favor of sysctl.
> If sysctl nodes were to be used, no new serialization formats would
> need to be implemented--and developers would also use a safter method
> of system and process inspection and manipulation.

Just a comment as someone who is reading without much understanding of the 
contents of /prod/pid/stat:

If organization of the data in the file is a problem, and the format starts to 
matter, maybe it's a hint that there are too many different contents, and could 
be split into different files, each one with its own formatting rules.  I'll 
suggest that maybe a set of files, maybe contained in a common directory 
stats.d, is what you're looking for?

Binary format is not of my preference, since most user-space tools work with the 
standard interface, that is, text.




Download attachment "OpenPGP_signature" of type "application/pgp-signature" (834 bytes)

Powered by blists - more mailing lists

Please check out the Open Source Software Security Wiki, which is counterpart to this mailing list.

Confused about mailing lists and their use? Read about mailing lists on Wikipedia and check out these guidelines on proper formatting of your messages.