If while an application is running one of the shared libraries it uses is written to or truncated, then the application will crash. Moving the file or removing it wholesale with 'rm' will not cause a crash, because the OS (Solaris in this case but I assume this is true on Linux and other *nix as well) is smart enough to not delete the inode associated with the file while any process has it open.
I have a shell script that performs installation of shared libraries. Sometimes, it may be used to reinstall versions of shared libraries that were already installed, without an uninstall first. Because applications may be using the already installed shared libraries, it's important the the script is smart enough to rm the files or move them out of the way (e.g. to a 'deleted' folder that cron could empty at a time when we know no applications will be running) before installing the new ones so that they're not overwritten or truncated.
Unfortunately, recently an application crashed just after an install. Coincidence? It's difficult to tell. The real solution here is to switch over to a more robust installation method than an old gigantic shell script, but it'd be nice to have some extra protection until the switch is made. Is there any way to wrap a shell script to protect it from overwriting or truncating files (and ideally failing loudly), but still allowing them to be moved or rm'd?
Standard UNIX file permissions won't do the trick because you can't distinguish moving/removing from overwriting/truncating. Aliases could work but I'm not sure what entirety of commands need to be aliased. I imagine something like truss/strace except before each action it checks against a filter whether to actually do it. I don't need a perfect solution that would work even against an intentionally malicious script.
Ideas I have so far:
- Alias cp to GNU cp (not the default since I'm on Solaris) and use the --remove-destination option.
- Alias install to GNU install and use the --backup option. It might be smart enough to move the existing file to the backup file name rather than making a copy, thus preserving the inode.
- "set noclobber" in ~/.bashrc so that I/O redirection won't overwrite files