[Owncloud] invalid character ":" - historical artefact?

Stefan Vollmar vollmar at nf.mpg.de
Fri Sep 27 09:47:16 UTC 2013

Dear Markus,

On 27.09.2013, at 10:40, Markus Goetz wrote:

> Hi Stefan,
> On 27.09.13 10:01, Stefan Vollmar wrote:
>> one of our scientists tried to sync files with a colon in the filename. This failed with an "Invalid characters" comment in the sync log. I know that colons were a no-no in file paths on Mac operating systems before MacOS X as the colon was used as a path separator. However, as far as I know, this is history and the colon (much as a bunch of other "special" characters including "!", "&", "?" or, in particular " " which I would not use in my own work) traditionally makes life unnecessarily difficult when scripting on Unix - but it is technically possible to use on all modern file systems (though, again, probably not advisable). But maybe there is a technical reason to forbid colons in file names that I am not aware of?
> I think the reasoning is that a file should be able to be synced on Linux, OS X and Windows. And Windows uses : for the drive letter, c:\owncloud\ .. So it is out.

Apparently, I was wrong in assuming that ":" was part of the offending path on MacOS X. It turns out, that our colleague used a directory name which contained a "/" character - the sync-client displays this as ":". I fully agree that "/" is most awkward in a directory name, however, it is valid on MacOS X (and DropBox handles it correctly). We urged our colleague to rename the directory and - voilà - everything seems to work now.

Warm regards,
Dr. Stefan Vollmar, Dipl.-Phys.
Head of IT group
Max-Planck-Institut für neurologische Forschung
Gleueler Str. 50, 50931 Köln, Germany
Tel.: +49-221-4726-213  FAX +49-221-4726-298
Tel.: +49-221-478-5713  Mobile: 0160-93874279
E-Mail: vollmar at nf.mpg.de   http://www.nf.mpg.de

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