[CentOS] OT? File order on CentOS/Samba server

Craig White craigwhite at azapple.com
Thu Jan 22 22:31:56 UTC 2009

On Thu, 2009-01-22 at 20:28 +0000, Miguel Medalha wrote:
> I hope someone familiar with the way Linux processes files can enlighten 
> me on the following:
> I recently replaced an old Windows 2000 server with a new machine 
> running CentOS 5.2. It uses Samba 3.2.7 to serve a network of Windows XP 
> clients.
> We are a newspaper. We use Acrobat Distiller to batch-convert a folder 
> of single-page PostScript files (for print) to a multipage PDF file (for 
> electronic distribution).
> Running on a workstation, Distiller watches the folder on a Samba share 
> and does the conversion, automatically creating bookmarks, indexes and 
> other information.
> On the Windows server, Distiller processes the files by filename order:
> M09010901A001C.ps
> M09010901A002C.ps
> M09010901A003C.ps
> ... and so on.
> On the Linux server, Distiller processes the files in an order that 
> seems arbitrary, for example:
> M09010901A021C.ps
> M09010901A005C.ps
> M09010901A015C.ps
> ... and so on.
> The order Distiller uses is NOT related to the time stamp of the files. 
> I tried to copy the files to the watched folder one by one in the 
> correct order; the result is the same.
> This creates the need to open the final PDF and reshuffle the pages by 
> hand, which is very time consuming and prone to error.
> There is a workaround to this: use the runfilex script that comes with 
> Acrobat: it can contain a list of files to convert, in the order you 
> want. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable for us since the process 
> then takes about 40 minutes (irrespective of platform or filesystem), 
> instead of 3 or 4 minutes.
> My question is: how is the order of files determined by Linux when a 
> particular order is not explicitly required by a program?
> I noted the following:
> I have 4 files in a folder: file1.ps, file2.ps, file3.ps, file4.ps. When 
> I order them by date, they appear in Windows Explorer in, say, the 
> following order: 3, 4, 1, 2
> If I copy them to a new folder one by one in the order 1, 2, 3, 4, they 
> will still appear in the order 3, 4, 1, 2 when ordered by date. So, what 
> information is transported with the files that makes the Linux server 
> present them to the world in this order?
> Does someone know a workaround to this situation or can someone point me 
> to information about file ordering with Linux? By the way, I am using 
> the EXT3 file system. I tried the same on a VFAT file system and the 
> result is the same. It seems to be a Linux thing, not a file system thing.
You might want to look closely at the file names in Linux.

Windows is not case sensitive but Linux is.

In Windows, you cannot create the 2 files, TEST.DOC and test.doc in the
same directory but in Linux you can. It may be that some of these files
are stored differently as in file1.ps and FILE2.PS etc.

Also, you might want to check out some alternate settings...

dos filemode = yes (Share setting only)
case sensitive = no (share setting only)
default case = lower (share setting only)


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