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I know about ctime and mtime and that their behavior is platform dependent. As I understand it, *nix does not have any way of keeping track of file creation time. Is this a historical accident? If it's a technically difficult problem, what makes it so?


migration rejected from stackoverflow.com Dec 31 '13 at 15:09

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closed as primarily opinion-based by derobert, slm, Anthon, terdon, manatwork Dec 31 '13 at 15:09

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

For one thing, it's poorly defined. If you copy [or zip and unzip] a file, do you want the creation time on the new file to be set to that of the original file or not? If so, or if you want it to be an option, you have to write all those utilities around that (though most already have code to preserve mtime).

It's not useful in the majority of cases [do you really need to know when all the files in /bin were created?], or wasn't at the time Unix was first designed, and it would cost four bytes that have to come out of somewhere in the (fixed-size, 64 bytes) inode structure [probably the block list, which means 512 less bytes a file can grow before using indirect blocks].