6

This sentence is from a Linux command's return,I can only thought it as 'statistics' but it is the noun form rather than the verb form.

unable to stat ./config-2.6.32-431.el6.i686: No such file or directory Some files were modified!

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Nov 19 '14 at 14:58

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

9

Unix, and by inheritance, Linux and *BSD, get the "file status" via one of the stat-related systems calls: stat(), fstat() and lstat(). I believe the original was stat(). The "status" in this case constitutes what we currently call metadata: information about the file, like ownership, permissions, sizes, access, modification and status change times, things like that.

Whoever wrote the error message you quote ("unable to stat") used the name of the Unix/Linux/*BSD system call as a verb. That would be consistent with a lot of the system calls, which have names like "read", "write", "close", "open". In the context of using and thinking about Unix system calls, using "stat" as a verb comes pretty naturally.

So, "to stat" a file, is to get some or all of the file's metadata.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.