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File::ExtendedAttributes - access extended attributes of files


use File::ExtendedAttributes;

say list-attributes($path);

set-attribute($path, "user.test", "hello world");

say get-attribute($path, "user.test"); # as a str
say get-attribute($path, "user.test", :bin); # as a blob

remove-attribute($path, "user.test");


File::ExtendedAttributes is a module to provide low-level access to extended attributes on Linux, sometimes known as xattrs. These attributes are used for various metadata stored outside the file itself that can be interpreted by one or more applications.

This feature is well-supported on typical Linux filesystems, but may not be supported in all cases, especially with networked filesystems. Many filesystems generally impose size limits of a single filesystem block (often 1024, 2048, or 4096 bytes), so be frugal with the size of this metadata.

These attributes are conceptually key/value pairs. In Linux, the key must begin with a namespace (typically user) and a period, such as "user.test". The value is an arbitrary string or blob.



Returns a list of attributes defined on the given path.

get-attribute($path, $key, :$bin)

Returns the value of the attribute if present. This value will be decoded as utf-8, unless the :bin parameter is specified.

set-attribute($path, $key, $value)

Sets the specified attribute to the provided value. $value may be a Str or a Blob[uint8]. If $value is a string, it is encoded in utf-8 before being stored.

remove-attribute($path, $key)

Removes the given attribute. If the specified attribute does not exist, then an error is thrown (errno is ENODATA).


If an error occurs, a Failure is returned. If the error is ENOTSUP, then an Exception of X::File::ExtendedAttributes::Unsupported is thrown. If the error is ENODATA, then X::File::ExtendedAttributes::NoData is returned. Otherwise, an ad-hoc exception is thrown.

These are returned as Failures to enable the following approach in one-liners and shorter scripts:

my @values = @files.map({get-attribute($_, 'user.my-data') || ''});

If you do not check the returned value for truth, an exception will be raised instead.


The commands getfattr/setfattr and attr

The xattr(7) manpage


Adrian Kreher avuserow@gmail.com


Copyright 2022-2023 Adrian Kreher

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the Artistic License 2.0.