[Samba] The order of returned filenames and broken Windows programs.

Jason Balicki kodak at frontierhomemortgage.com
Tue Sep 2 19:45:04 GMT 2003

We use a proprietary MS-SQL based document imaging application that
has recently added the ability to import Adobe Acrobat files.  However,
the company who wrote the application was assuming that when they
query for files, the resulting returned list would be in alphabetical
order.  (This is important because the user must select one or more
pdf files from a list of thousands -- not easy when the files could
fall in any order in the list.)

While this is true for Windows machines with NTFS, it is not true for
Windows machines using FAT based filesystems or (more applicable)
Samba on Linux on an ext3 filesystem.  The files returned are in
directory order, not alphabetical.  I was finally able to convince
the author of the application to sort the list, but only after I
convinced them that they can't assume Windows servers will always
return lists in alphabetical order (I pointed them to an article
on MSDN (thanks to someone on IRC) -- originally they said "We're
not in the business of fixing Linux problems." -- I was kinda irked
by that attitude.) 

Anyway because I'm sure there are other Windows apps out there that
may have similar problems, I have two questions:

1)  Is anyone working on a VFS module to alphabetize the list being
returned to the client machine?  (I know this would be a performance
hit, but it might be necessary in some cases -- you could just do it
for certain directories.)

2)  Does anyone know of a filesystem available for Linux that will return
files in alphabetical order?  I haven't experimented yet, but that seems
like it would be a time consuming experiment.



PS:  I searched Google and the Samba archives for any information related
to this, but came up with very little.  I say this because I may have some
terminology wrong (which is usually the case when Google can't find
something)-- if that's the case, please correct me so I don't make the
same mistakes in the future.

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