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Misleading ENOENT when attempting to `file_copy` to the same location twice #95

nealrichardson opened this Issue Mar 27, 2018 · 3 comments


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nealrichardson commented Mar 27, 2018

If you try to file_copy a single file with overwrite = FALSE and the destinationnew_path already exists, you get a EEXIST error. file_copy is vectorized, and if you have any duplicates in new_path, you might expect to get the same error: the first copy would succeed, and the second one would fail with "file already exists". Instead, you get an incorrect "no such file or directory" (ENOENT) error, which points you in the wrong direction for debugging your code.

This test:

test_that("file_copy errors usefully", {
  tmp <- tempfile()
  cat("", file=file.path(tmp, "a.txt"))
    file_copy(rep(file.path(tmp, "a.txt"), 2), rep(file.path(tmp, "b.txt"), 2)),

fails like this:

`file_copy(...)` threw an error with unexpected message.
Expected match: "EEXIST"
Actual message: "[ENOENT] Failed to copy '/var/folders/ly/dnxts6pd22q98109b0nsbq2h0000gp/T/RtmpvSTXbY/fileb73b130ed4bb/a.txt' to '/var/folders/ly/dnxts6pd22q98109b0nsbq2h0000gp/T/RtmpvSTXbY/fileb73b130ed4bb/b.txt': no such file or directory"

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jimhester commented Mar 30, 2018

So I was able to reproduce this and track down the cause to the system logging functions in the copyfile() implementation on macOS. See for more details.


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nealrichardson commented Mar 30, 2018

Wow! That is a weird bug! So great that you were able to track it down, and thanks for sharing the story.


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jimhester commented Apr 2, 2018

So since this should happen only the first error, only on macOS, and only on macOS versions <= 10.12.6 I am going to close it. We could add a conditional for this case, but I am not sure it is worth the added complexity.

If we run into any more cases like this we can revisit it.

@jimhester jimhester closed this Apr 2, 2018

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