The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, June 17, 2024

When a file doesn't exist, yet it's right there

For reasons, I'm downloading a file from several hundred different domains. The results start trickling in and I decide to take a look at one of them:

Error: File or directory not found!

Um … what?

Okay. There could be an invisible character or two in the filename.

[spc]lucy:/tmp/cache>echo * | hex | more
00000000: 30 34 64 2E 63 6F 20 31 34 33 36 2E 6E 69 6E 6A 1436.ninj

Nope. But what could cause the shell not to find the file when the file is right there! The name shouldn't matter. But I can't view it.

Error: File or directory not found!

Okay, what if I try to move it somewhere?

[spc]lucy:~/tmp>cp /tmp/cache/ .
Error: File or directory not found!

I can list the file:

[spc]lucy:~/tmp>ls -l
-rw-r--r--  1 spc spc 37 Jun 17 22:25

Let me try one last thing …

00000000: 45 72 72 6F 72 3A 20 46 69 6C 65 20 6F 72 20 64 Error: File or d
00000010: 69 72 65 63 74 6F 72 79 20 6E 6F 74 20 66 6F 75 irectory not fou
00000020: 6E 64 21 0D 0A                                  nd!..           

I was downloading these files from the Intenet. This particular site didn't have the file. The contents of the file is the error message.

Head. Meet desk.

This reminds me of college. Back then, the command finger was popular, and when using it, the program would attempt to locate a file called .plan in the home directory and display it. I made a joke .plan file that read:

Bus error - core dumped

You have new mail.

I can't count the number of times someone tried to finger me, only to attempt to remove a non-existent core file and impulsively check their email.

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