About Unix File creation time


 
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# 1  
Old 11-16-2011
About Unix File creation time

Hello,
I registered and recreated this thread because everywhere we can see "It's not possible to get the file creation time in UNIX fs". This is not true any more with Ext4! Unfortunately, there is not user-level tools that allow you to read those information. You have to use a low level tool with root privileges to read the inode info:
Code:
sudo debugfs -R 'stat /path/to/file.txt' /dev/sda1

NOTE: Don't forget to change the path to the file and the disk device.

You will get something like this:
Code:
Inode: 1244660   Type: regular    Mode:  0644   Flags: 0x80000
Generation: 836126718    Version: 0x00000000:00000001
User:  1000   Group:  1000   Size: 2179
File ACL: 0    Directory ACL: 0
Links: 1   Blockcount: 8
Fragment:  Address: 0    Number: 0    Size: 0
 ctime: 0x4ebb2526:378a912c -- Thu Nov 10 11:13:10 2011
 atime: 0x4ec33d00:b6855780 -- Wed Nov 16 14:33:04 2011
 mtime: 0x4ebb2526:378a912c -- Thu Nov 10 11:13:10 2011
crtime: 0x4e8bf58c:05436980 -- Wed Oct  5 16:13:32 2011
Size of extra inode fields: 28
EXTENTS:
(0): 15383763

Reference: flyingunix DOT blogspot DOT com/2010/07/creation-time-in-unix-yes-in-ext4.html
# 2  
Old 11-17-2011
Thanks for sharing...
though only for linux... (Or is it not?)
I may change the thread's place to more suitable after discussing with others from the staff...

All the best
# 3  
Old 11-17-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by gaellafond
Hello,
I registered and recreated this thread because everywhere we can see "It's not possible to get the file creation time in UNIX fs". This is not true any more with Ext4!
Interesting, though a touch inaccurate: Linux is not UNIX (by declaration, even, the GNU license means "GNU's Not Unix"), and this doesn't seem portable anywhere else.
# 4  
Old 11-21-2011
Thanks for this info Corona688 (and vbe),
Since Ext4 was part of the Kernel, I assumed it was a Unix FS. Obviously, I was wrong, it's only used with Linux. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
I don't know if it's true, but I read somewhere that only Ubuntu is currently shipped with Ext4 by default (the post might be a bit old, I don't remember). I suppose that's means that only Ubuntu can give you the creation time, as long as you don't explicitly choose Ext4 when you install Linux.
# 5  
Old 11-21-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by gaellafond
Thanks for this info Corona688 (and vbe),
Since Ext4 was part of the Kernel, I assumed it was a Unix FS. Obviously, I was wrong, it's only used with Linux. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
I don't know if it's true, but I read somewhere that only Ubuntu is currently shipped with Ext4 by default (the post might be a bit old, I don't remember). I suppose that's means that only Ubuntu can give you the creation time, as long as you don't explicitly choose Ext4 when you install Linux.
That's probably a bit old by now. Ubuntu adopted it early.

Good to know there's a better reason than peer pressure to use ext4, though, but there's more important considerations than features when picking a filesystem.
  • Is it safe?
  • Is it sane?
  • Is it portable?
  • Can it recover from errors?
  • Will it grind down into a sticky mass after a few years of use?

The answers for ext3 are generally 'yes', 'yes', 'yes', 'yes', and 'no'. You can't say that for a lot of experimental or higher-performance filesystems. Some are untested, some are picky about how they're used, xfs fsck blows up on 32-bit, the kernel driver for reiserfs didn't compile right on 64-bit for a long time, ls on reiserfs3 can take 5 seconds of thrashing once you've used it 2 years, etc, etc, etc. Unless there's a high performance need you can count on ext3 not betraying you in these ways. So most maintainers were happy to wait and see if ext4 was all it was cracked up to be.

Last edited by Corona688; 11-21-2011 at 12:52 PM..
 
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