Re: DAV on the palm and AVFS

From: Justin Mason (
Date: Mon Feb 26 2001 - 10:05:06 PST

Gregory Alan Bolcer said:

> Hey Justin,
> AVFS? Now this is cool. On some of the newer Windows
> systems they have the ability to click on an archived
> file and it opens it up into a new window just like
> windows explorer. We have Web Folders built into our
> new Magi Express 2.0 client, so adding them together
> imagine being able to remotely browse the contents of
> a (g)zipped or tar file.

Yeah, I used to have a shareware app called "Zip Folders" or "Magic
Folders" on Windows 95 which allowed you to explore ZIP files in that
fashion; quite cool. It broke once I upgraded to Win98, and a fix cost
yet more $$$, so I didn't bother upgrading. :(

The current version of AVFS allows archive browsing at the moment for
Linux and Solaris; but Miklos is working on remote filesystem support, and
I'm helping out with HTTP/DAV support. IMHO the remote fs support is a
very cool feature.

This kind of virtual filesystem is one of the really cool things that
other OSes have done for a while -- the Acorn Archimedes did it, if I
recall correctly, and it's a real Plan 9 concept, so I wouldn't be
surprised if it cropped up there too. ;)

I also remember a SunOS vfs-over-nfs called "the Waku-Waku filesystem",
which allowed browsing of FTP archives, written as a research project
about 8 years ago. It was quite limited though, as it could only browse a
pre-set list of sites; and it was never ported to Solaris.

Anyway, I'm not quite sure why the concept of accessing network resources
as a filesystem hasn't really taken off since then... perhaps because they
don't map to local FS semantics cleanly and portably enough?

> DAV on the Palm is very similar to DAV on WinCE for the
> ipaq. You can drag and drop files and records to the
> Palm. One of the things is that we're providing a DAV
> interface to the 4 default Palm DBs so that you can programmatically
> query, search, and change the data.
> The way they have it set up now is that you can either use
> a modem or the cradle. There is a link to an ECE 298 class at UCI
> that discusses their project, but our embedded people have gone
> way beyond it.

sounds pretty cool. I'll definitely give it a whirl (once it's ready ;),
if it works OK with a Linux desktop... will it be available for general
use, or is it a payware thing? ;)


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