File timestamp

atime

This timestamp indicates when a file was last accessed (read). cating a file or executing a shellscript will set it, for example.

ctime

This timestamp is set, whenever the metadata of a file (stored in the responsible inode) is set. The metadata includes for example:

  • file name
  • fize size
  • file mode (permissions)

and some other things. ctime will also be updated when a file is written to (when mtime is updated.

mtime

The mtime is set, whenever a file's contents are changed, for example by editing a file.

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