On Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 1:24 AM, Mark Cox <markcox80@gmail.com> wrote:
I have two issues with respect to the merging of DELETE-FILE and
RMDIR:

1. For physical pathnames it seems straightforward, but I do
wonder if there are any unexpected gotchas when using logical
pathnames.

Understood, but here the user must understand that logical pathnames are not physical objects. An invalid pathname translation also has problems with delete-files, as it would do one that changes a file into a directory and viceversa.

2. DELETE-FILE is defined by the CLHS. People who use ECL without
reading too much of the CLHS may expect DELETE-FILE to behave
similarly across implementations. For example, it was a huge shock to
me that in CLISP, PROBE-FILE signals an error when called with a
pathname that represents a directory.

This is a different field. So far no implementation has restrained from having unspecified behavior because ECL users might be confused, and this includes incorrect LOOP forms, but this is not the case. As Waldek pointed out, the key point is the definition of file (http://clhs.lisp.se/Body/26_glo_f.htm#file), which talks about a named entry in the file system. If ECL already considers directories to be valid files for PROBE-FILE, then it is inconsistent in not allowing to delete them, and failing to rename them for some fo the syntaxes.
 
This is one area where a CDR would be beneficial to the community to
try and address some of these inconsistencies.

Indeed, but in the mean time things have to get done :-) And besides, I doubt anyone feels confident enough to redo the pathname stuff in Common Lisp.

Juanjo

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Instituto de Física Fundamental, CSIC
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