Hi :-)

>> Also, what are the chances that someone within the FreeDOS community may
>> one day write a driver for a filesystem which supports extended
>> attributes? Not necessarily support for a standard filesystem (ext2,
>> ext3, etc), mind you. A homebrew filesystem too would be good enough, I
>> guess.
> Dunno, ask on "freedos-kernel", and be prepared to be disappointed.

You probably want to ask on freedos-devel: Filesystems, apart
from the most essential bootable ones, are loadable drivers,
so they are more or less like any other software, non-kernel.

You have the choice between a block driver and a "network or
cdrom redirector" style driver. The former is only to let the
DOS kernel access FAT filesystems on non-BIOS hardware, so in
your case, you want the latter. Network drives and CD/DVD/BD
have filesystems about which the DOS kernel itself is totally
clueless. The drivers just "generate a view" showing a tree
of directories containing files with the usual DOS properties
such as date and timestamp. Extra features (e.g. Unix access
rights) have to be represented in DOS style or separately.

The next question would be what the driver will do: As your
main feature wish is "store arbitrary textual tags along with
the filenames", you will probably want to add some sort of
extra interface (API) to access those tags.

I guess you could also "use magic": For example show virtual
filename.meta text files for each filename file, to make the
metadata accessible for tools which are not aware of your
new interface. You could even let that dynamically switch,
in case people want to copy directories with/without metas.
You can provide a command line tool to control your driver.
Another idea would be something like a /proc filesystem :-)

This also means that the REAL question is: Which software is
going to use this API and how? As mentioned in this thread,
shells like the 4DOS command.com replacement can display and
edit "descriptions" which are a bit like long file names. In
4DOS, descript.ion text files are used to store the metadata.

As far as I know, 4DOS does not support commands like "copy
all files with rollercoaster in the description to drive X:"
so you actually get even LESS functionality compared to long
file names where you just use verbose interesting file names.

On the other hand, descript.ion files once were used in more
applications, so you will probably also find file managers
(in style of norton commander, dosshell or other) which can
display and edit the descriptions. Maybe you will also find
image viewers which support descript.ion :-) None of this
will happen if you create a new driver with a new interface:

That driver will ONLY let newly written software access the
metadata. You can probably patch some existing software to
add support for your driver to it, but that, too, is work.

Maybe you could do some brainstorming and post a list with
"use cases" for your metadata project: What type of tools
should use the metadata and in which way?

Looking forward to read your ideas :-)


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