filetest(3perl)        Perl Programmers Reference Guide        filetest(3perl)

       filetest - Perl pragma to control the filetest permission operators

           $can_perhaps_read = -r "file";      # use the mode bits
               use filetest 'access';          # intuit harder
               $can_really_read = -r "file";
           $can_perhaps_read = -r "file";      # use the mode bits again

       This pragma tells the compiler to change the behaviour of the filetest
       permission operators, "-r" "-w" "-x" "-R" "-W" "-X" (see perlfunc).

       The default behaviour of file test operators is to use the simple mode
       bits as returned by the stat() family of system calls.  However, many
       operating systems have additional features to define more complex
       access rights, for example ACLs (Access Control Lists).  For such
       environments, "use filetest" may help the permission operators to
       return results more consistent with other tools.

       The "use filetest" or "no filetest" statements affect file tests
       defined in their block, up to the end of the closest enclosing block
       (they are lexically block-scoped).

       Currently, only the "access" sub-pragma is implemented.  It enables (or
       disables) the use of access() when available, that is, on most UNIX
       systems and other POSIX environments.  See details below.

   Consider this carefully
       The stat() mode bits are probably right for most of the files and
       directories found on your system, because few people want to use the
       additional features offered by access(). But you may encounter
       surprises if your program runs on a system that uses ACLs, since the
       stat() information won't reflect the actual permissions.

       There may be a slight performance decrease in the filetest operations
       when the filetest pragma is in effect, because checking bits is very

       Also, note that using the file tests for security purposes is a lost
       cause from the start: there is a window open for race conditions (who
       is to say that the permissions will not change between the test and the
       real operation?).  Therefore if you are serious about security, just
       try the real operation and test for its success - think in terms of
       atomic operations.  Filetests are more useful for filesystem
       administrative tasks, when you have no need for the content of the
       elements on disk.

   The "access" sub-pragma
       UNIX and POSIX systems provide an abstract access() operating system
       call, which should be used to query the read, write, and execute
       rights. This function hides various distinct approaches in additional
       operating system specific security features, like Access Control Lists

       The extended filetest functionality is used by Perl only when the
       argument of the operators is a filename, not when it is a filehandle.

   Limitation with regard to "_"
       Because access() does not invoke stat() (at least not in a way visible
       to Perl), the stat result cache "_" is not set.  This means that the
       outcome of the following two tests is different.  The first has the
       stat bits of /etc/passwd in "_", and in the second case this still
       contains the bits of "/etc".

        { -d '/etc';
          -w '/etc/passwd';
          print -f _ ? 'Yes' : 'No';   # Yes

        { use filetest 'access';
          -d '/etc';
          -w '/etc/passwd';
          print -f _ ? 'Yes' : 'No';   # No

       Of course, unless your OS does not implement access(), in which case
       the pragma is simply ignored.  Best not to use "_" at all in a file
       where the filetest pragma is active!

       As a side effect, as "_" doesn't work, stacked filetest operators ("-f
       -w $file") won't work either.

       This limitation might be removed in a future version of perl.

perl v5.30.0                      2023-11-23                   filetest(3perl)
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