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how to tell if a file is inary file or ascii file?

Hello,

Is there a way to find if a file is a binary executable file or an ASCII 
executable file in unix? especially, if I have a file with
  permission of --x--x--x.

Thanks,

Peter


0
peter
1/14/2004 5:31:11 AM
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peter wrote:

> Hello,
> 
> Is there a way to find if a file is a binary executable file or an ASCII
> executable file in unix? especially, if I have a file with
>   permission of --x--x--x.

If in a shell you could start with man file
Tobias


0
Tobias
1/14/2004 5:49:39 AM
On Wed, 14 Jan 2004 05:31:11 +0000, peter wrote:

> Is there a way to find if a file is a binary executable file or an ASCII 
> executable file in unix? especially, if I have a file with
>   permission of --x--x--x.

This is non-trivial for the general case. An acceptable solution may be to
look at the first two bytes of the file. If  they are "#!" then it's a
script of some sort, otherwise assume it's a binary. Of course this simple
test fails for any number of cases. For example, a shell script may not
begin with the "#!" signature. If the file begins with a ":" some shells
may assume it's a Bourne shell script. There are other variations on that
theme but in my experience they're rare.
0
Kurtis
1/14/2004 5:56:19 AM
In article <zu4Nb.9619$QP.4822@newssvr27.news.prodigy.com>,
 peter <one2001boy@yahoo.com> wrote:

> Hello,
> 
> Is there a way to find if a file is a binary executable file or an ASCII 
> executable file in unix? especially, if I have a file with
>   permission of --x--x--x.

If you don't have read permission, there's no way to tell what's in it.

Note that most Unix implementations can't run execute-only scripts; the 
interpreter has to be able to read the file.  So something with those 
permissions would normally have to be a binary executable.  I think 
Solaris is an exception to this; it makes use of /dev/fd to provide a 
way for the interpreter to read the file (it uses the same trick to 
implement setuid scripts without the symlink security hole).

-- 
Barry Margolin, barmar@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
0
Barry
1/14/2004 6:04:16 AM
Barry Margolin wrote:

> In article <zu4Nb.9619$QP.4822@newssvr27.news.prodigy.com>,
>  peter <one2001boy@yahoo.com> wrote:
> 
> 
>>Hello,
>>
>>Is there a way to find if a file is a binary executable file or an ASCII 
>>executable file in unix? especially, if I have a file with
>>  permission of --x--x--x.
> 
> 
> If you don't have read permission, there's no way to tell what's in it.
> 
> Note that most Unix implementations can't run execute-only scripts; the 
> interpreter has to be able to read the file.  So something with those 
> permissions would normally have to be a binary executable.  I think 
> Solaris is an exception to this; it makes use of /dev/fd to provide a 
> way for the interpreter to read the file (it uses the same trick to 
> implement setuid scripts without the symlink security hole).
> 

Thanks for your help. Barry. Unix shell are unable
to run the unix shell scripts with permission of --x--x--x, but the 
binary file with permission --x--x--x can be executed. not sure how the 
unix shell can tell the differences.

Peter

0
peter
1/14/2004 6:42:34 AM
Kurtis D. Rader wrote:

> On Wed, 14 Jan 2004 05:31:11 +0000, peter wrote:
> 
> 
>>Is there a way to find if a file is a binary executable file or an ASCII 
>>executable file in unix? especially, if I have a file with
>>  permission of --x--x--x.
> 
> 
> This is non-trivial for the general case. An acceptable solution may be to
> look at the first two bytes of the file. If  they are "#!" then it's a
> script of some sort, otherwise assume it's a binary. Of course this simple
> test fails for any number of cases. For example, a shell script may not
> begin with the "#!" signature. If the file begins with a ":" some shells
> may assume it's a Bourne shell script. There are other variations on that
> theme but in my experience they're rare.

for the file permission --x--x--x, you are unable to read the first two 
bytes. typically, I assume such a file was sent to system() to run it in 
a unix shell, but if the file is a shell script and not binary 
application, how unix shell can know it in advance and gives an error
message such as "permission denied".

Thanks,

peter

0
peter
1/14/2004 7:20:00 AM
[This followup was posted to comp.unix.programmer]

In article <zu4Nb.9619$QP.4822@newssvr27.news.prodigy.com>, 
one2001boy@yahoo.com says...
> Hello,
> 
> Is there a way to find if a file is a binary executable file or an ASCII 
> executable file in unix? especially, if I have a file with
>   permission of --x--x--x.
> 
> Thanks,
> 
> Peter

You could use the command "file"

    file foo.sh

0
Web
1/14/2004 2:16:54 PM
peter wrote:
> Thanks for your help. Barry. Unix shell are unable
> to run the unix shell scripts with permission of --x--x--x, but the 
> binary file with permission --x--x--x can be executed. not sure how the 
> unix shell can tell the differences.

That's because you have it backward. The invoking shell simply runs 
exec() on the file without knowing or caring what's in it. The kernel 
(which can do whatever it wants) then decides whether to map it directly 
as a process or hand it to an interpreter. In the event it goes to an 
interpreter and the interpreter can't open it, that program (which may 
be a shell or anything else but is not the original, invoking shell) 
will fail.

MB

0
Mohun
1/14/2004 2:53:13 PM
>[This followup was posted to comp.unix.programmer]
>
>In article <zu4Nb.9619$QP.4822@newssvr27.news.prodigy.com>, 
>one2001boy@yahoo.com says...
>> Hello,
>> 
>> Is there a way to find if a file is a binary executable file or an ASCII 
>> executable file in unix? especially, if I have a file with
>>   permission of --x--x--x.
>> 
>> Thanks,
>> 
>> Peter
>
>You could use the command "file"
>
>    file foo.sh
>
if you had the read bit set ...

0
johns_tst
1/14/2004 3:14:11 PM
On Wed, 14 Jan 2004 07:20:00 +0000, peter wrote:

> for the file permission --x--x--x, you are unable to read the first two
> bytes.

You're correct. I should have stated explicitly that I was responding to
the more typical case where you do have read access.

> typically, I assume such a file was sent to system() to run it in a unix
> shell, but if the file is a shell script and not binary application, how
> unix shell can know it in advance and gives an error message such as
> "permission denied".

Shells as a rule do not use system(), they use exec() (or variant such as
execve()). The kernel will open the file if the user credentials allow it
to do so. It will then examine the contents to determine whether it is a
program in a binary format (e.g., COFF or ELF) that it can execute
directly or whether it needs to spawn a "shell" process to read and
interpret the contents of the file. If the user is not allowed to execute
the file it will return EACCES or EPERM. It can return many other errors
as well. It's the caller's responsibility to emit an appropriate error
message.

Some shells will attempt to open and read the file as an optimization. If
they recognize the file as a script they can interpret they may do so
directly rather than calling upon the fork() and exec() functions to spawn
the appropriate interpreter.
0
Kurtis
1/16/2004 4:50:04 AM
* "Kurtis D. Rader" <krader@skepticism.us>
| Some shells will attempt to open and read the file as an
| optimization. If they recognize the file as a script they can
| interpret they may do so directly rather than calling upon the
| fork() and exec() functions to spawn the appropriate interpreter.

Which shell are you referring to?  Many (most?) of my shell scripts
rely on the fact that everything done in the script has no effect to
the shell where I typed the command (i.e. change directories, altering
the environment etc).  So I would be very surprised if the command
line shell was affected by the scripts I invoke.

R'
0
Ralf
1/16/2004 9:15:00 AM
In article <ygabrp4jluz.fsf@ozelot.akutech-local.de>,
 Ralf Fassel <ralfixx@gmx.de> wrote:

> * "Kurtis D. Rader" <krader@skepticism.us>
> | Some shells will attempt to open and read the file as an
> | optimization. If they recognize the file as a script they can
> | interpret they may do so directly rather than calling upon the
> | fork() and exec() functions to spawn the appropriate interpreter.
> 
> Which shell are you referring to?  Many (most?) of my shell scripts
> rely on the fact that everything done in the script has no effect to
> the shell where I typed the command (i.e. change directories, altering
> the environment etc).  So I would be very surprised if the command
> line shell was affected by the scripts I invoke.

This was the way that shell scripts were first implemented; recognizing 
"#!" in the kernel was a later modification to the OS.  What actually 
happens is that the shell forks and calls exec(); if exec() returns with 
an error that indicates that the file wasn't in a format that it 
understands (which originally was just binary executables, but now 
includes files beginning with "#!"), the shell tries to interpret it 
itself.  It's still in the forked child process, so the original shell 
process is not affected by it.

The shell may also do some special recognition of the file format.  In 
particular, csh looks for "!" as the first character and will exec 
/bin/sh to execute it.  ! is the Bourne Shell no-op command, and this 
was used in the pre-#! days as a way for csh users to execute Bourne 
scripts (this "!" is what eventually evolved into the shebang).

-- 
Barry Margolin, barmar@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
0
Barry
1/16/2004 6:46:36 PM
Barry Margolin wrote:
> The shell may also do some special recognition of the file format.  In 
> particular, csh looks for "!" as the first character and will exec 
> /bin/sh to execute it.  ! is the Bourne Shell no-op command, and this 
> was used in the pre-#! days as a way for csh users to execute Bourne 
> scripts (this "!" is what eventually evolved into the shebang).

Nice exposition, but I think you meant ':' instead of '!':

% !
!: not found

-MB

0
Mohun
1/16/2004 7:26:46 PM
In article <WVWNb.80617$8H.116458@attbi_s03>,
 Mohun Biswas <m.biswas@invalid.addr> wrote:

> Barry Margolin wrote:
> > The shell may also do some special recognition of the file format.  In 
> > particular, csh looks for "!" as the first character and will exec 
> > /bin/sh to execute it.  ! is the Bourne Shell no-op command, and this 
> > was used in the pre-#! days as a way for csh users to execute Bourne 
> > scripts (this "!" is what eventually evolved into the shebang).
> 
> Nice exposition, but I think you meant ':' instead of '!':

Yes.  I knew when I was writing that post that something didn't seem 
quite right. :)

-- 
Barry Margolin, barmar@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
0
Barry
1/17/2004 4:05:03 AM
Reply:

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