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Extended attributes (commonly called "xattrs") are a way to associate metadata with files/directories in the filesystem.

Extended file attributes can be used to store information such as MIME type, checksums, cryptographic keys/certificates, etc; attributes are not interpreted by the filesystem (unlike the normal file attributes). They require operating system and filesystem support; not all operating systems and/or filesystems support them.

For more about extended file attributes, see the Wikipedia article.

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