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Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2023 09:02:17 +0100
From: Jonathan Wakely <>
Cc: Rich Felker <>,,,
Subject: Re: Re: regression in man pages for interfaces using loff_t

On Fri, 30 Jun 2023 at 08:11, Paul Eggert wrote:

> On 2023-06-28 12:15, Rich Felker wrote:
> > There's also the problem that off64_t is "exactly 64-bit" which makes
> > it unsuitable as an interface type for cross-platform functions where
> > one could imagine the native type being larger (rather horrifying but
> > possible).
> Although we won't have files with 2**63 bytes any time soon, this is the
> best argument for preferring "loff_t" to "off64_t".
> But come to think of it, it'd be better to document the type simply as
> "off_t", with a footnote saying the equivalent of "this assumes that on
> 32-bit glibc platforms you compile with -DFILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 like any
> sane person would." The intent really is off_t here, and that will
> remain true even if off_t ever widens past 64 bits.
> All the apps I know that use the syscalls in question simply pass
> values that fit in off_t to these functions, and this will work
> regardless of whether these apps are compiled with 64- or (horrors!)
> 32-bit off_t. Admittedly the footnote solution would not be perfect, but
> it's good enough, and it would sidestep the loff_t vs off64_t confusion.

For APIs like copy_file_range(2) and splice(2) the arguments are loff_t* so
you can't just "pass arguments that fit in off_t" to them. You have to get
the pointer type correct, because writing 64-bits through a 32-bit off_t
would be bad. And in C++ it won't even compile unless you get the pointer
types exactly right (C compilers will typically allow the mismatch with
just a warning).

People miss footnotes. I would really prefer if the signature shown in the
man page used a type that will actually compile. If it shows off_t, that
won't compile for 32-bit systems without LFS support enabled.

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