Prefer usizes in std

I got worried in using cursor.position(). For 32-bits hosts, it’ll be a bit slower (u64). If pos were usize, it’d be much better. I don’t want to duplicate Cursor anyway…

IMO Rust’d have best adopted C naming, except uint and int for arch-sized ints.

This would mean a 32-bit host couldn’t properly deal with files over 4GB. That kind of problem is why you’ll now see off_t (pointer-sized) and off64_t (64-bit) on Linux, along with a bunch of alternate functions like stat and stat64. It’s a mess, which we avoid in Rust by using 64-bit everywhere.


I was going to say the same thing, but then I realized Cursor is just a wrapper around [u8], so you’re limited to usize anyway.

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Except that, as the first line says, the point of Cursor is that it “provides it with a Seek implementation.”, and seek deals in u64s. If you only want to work on a slice you don’t need io::Cursor.


On this point, in fact they were named like that, then renamed to usize and isize in RFC 544.


To be clear, I agree it should use u64 since that’s the most natural when working with most io-related interfaces/APIs and would likely reduce the amount of casting. My point was that using usize wouldn’t “mean a 32-bit host couldn’t properly deal with files over 4GB” since this particular interface is a wrapper around [u8] (which is already limited to usize).

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As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, file sizes need to be u64 on all platforms. usize is only for memory.

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This thread seem to be going in circles. On the one hand @mjbshaw is stating that Cursor is wrapper around a slice, and that slices have a length defined in terms of usize. The responses seem to be that we want to work with files that may be bigger than what a usize can hold. This however does not address the original question of how a type defined in terms of a usize length can hold a u64 length file.

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len() mostly returns usize, so to use over 2^32 bytes doesn’t make sense.

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I had an idea to propose making the offset type of Cursor a generic type parameter, to be able to use usize with finitely sized buffers. But now I think it’s better to use a specialized API for windowed-random access to buffers, like the Buf trait from bytes. Notably, impl IntoBuf for Bytes was recently changed to not wrap the container into a Cursor: … and if you follow the bread crumbs there, you can see @alexcrichton expressing a bit of regret for adding Cursor in the first place :grin:

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I can picture possible use cases with sparse files or memory mapped files… though curiously, I did not find anything that impls Seek in the memmap crate.

Edit: No wait, silly me, that’s what I get for not having my coffee. Seek taking u64 is useful (and correct) even just for regular files! You can easily have a file that’s larger than 4GB on a 32-bit system. So long as you only interact with it through the Read, Write and Seek traits, there is no need to have the entire file loaded into memory.


Cursor can’t hold a u64-length file.

But other than position() and set_position(pos), most of Cursor’s methods aren’t inherent. They’re methods on the Seek trait, which is supposed to work with files. I assume the reason why those two methods don’t use usize is to reduce casting.

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