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Issue: PATHNAME-STREAM (Version 6)

This version of the proposal allows pathname of synonym streams. We can
discuss it Monday.

Issue:         PATHNAME-STREAM

References:    PATHNAME (p.413), also the introductory text right above
               it on the same page.
               Derived references: TRUENAME (p.413), PARSE-NAMESTRING
               MERGE-PATHNAMES (p.415), PATHNAME-HOST etc. (p.417),
               OPEN (p.418), WITH-OPEN-FILE (p.422),
               RENAME-FILE (p.423), DELETE-FILE (p.424)

Edit History:  Version 1 by Moon 11-May-87
               Version 2 by Masinter 29-May-87 (minor editing)
               Version 3 by Masinter 11-Jun-87 (minor editing)
               Version 4 by Masinter  8-Oct-87 (rewording)
               Version 5 by Masinter  8-Oct-87 (explicitly only open)
               Version 6 by Masinter 14-Nov-87


Problem Description:

CLtL says that a stream can be used as an argument and converted to a
pathname, but many sources or sinks of data that streams might be
connected to have no pathnames associated with them; for example,
streams created with MAKE-TWO-WAY-STREAM or OPEN-STRING-STREAM. For many
such streams, there is no simple way to coerce such a stream to a


Clarify that the use of a stream as an argument that expects a pathname
(as described on p413 of CLtL) only applies to streams that are
originally opened by use of the OPEN or WITH-OPEN-FILE, or to synonym
streams whose symbol is bound to such a stream. It is an error to
attempt to obtain a pathname from a stream created with

The pathname used represents the name used to open the file. This may
be, but is not required to be, the actual name of the file. The pathname
used is the same as would be returned by the PATHNAME function.


This is probably what the designers of Common Lisp intended. This is the
only thing that can be implemented without large changes to the language
such as extending pathnames to things other than files. 

Current Practice:

Some systems signal an error if a non-file stream is used as a pathname.
Others return an empty pathname.

Some implementations do not return a meaningful value for PATHNAME of a
synonym stream.

Adoption Cost:

Implementations that do not currently handle PATHNAME of a synonym
stream will have to change to allow it. Otherwise, since the proposal
says only "is an error" rather than "signals an error", no
implementations other changes are necessary.


The description of pathname functions will make more sense.

Conversion Cost: 

Small: Users with code which accesses pathname components of streams in
implementations which allow it might need to change their programs to
make them portable.


Makes language a little cleaner.


The only point of disagreement on this proposal has been on the issue of
whether PATHNAME applies to synonym streams and returns the pathname of
the stream designated. 

This version of the proposal says yes, because CLtL p 329 says about
synonym streams that  "Any operations on the new stream ..." and does
not say anything about exceptions; earlier on the page the phrase
"synonym streams that pass all operations on" is used.  This seems
fairly unambiguous, although the word "operations" is not defined. There
was a similar controversy about what CLOSE of a synonym stream means.

Note that there is currently no way portable to determine whether a
stream has a pathname available. 

The entire PATHNAME section needs work to clarify the intent and enable
portable code. This is just a minor issue among the major ones.

This issue was previously endorsed at X3J13 conditional on clarifying
its intent about a "file" stream. The issue is now resolved except for
the handling of synonym streams.