When using os.stat() in Python, can I assume that st_ctime is always less then or equal to st_mtime? If not, why not?
The code will always run on Linux, but if there is a difference between OSes, that would be good to know.
There are some situations in which this assumption could prove invalid (and would depend very much on the OS implementation):
Both of these are reproducable: your best bet is to take a variety of operating systems that you plan on targeting and testing this behaviour. All I can provide is speculation.
Also, st_ctime is not necessarily the "created time", but rather the time of the "last status change" (source).
utime marks the
ctime of the file to be updated (source) and it's parameter of type "utimbuf" has no member for
ctime. So it is technically possible for ctime to be a time past mtime if the operating system and filesystem permit it. The
os.stat documentation actually mentions this:
platform dependent; time of most recent metadata change on Unix, or the time of creation on Windows
Whilst Python hides a lot of the C side of things,
os.stat and friends are all built upon the same base C system calls so the specification for them is a great place to look for more information.