Ooh, according to that lkml thread, it *is* possible to get a consistent state of a directory, on linux. You just need to allocate a buffer big enough for the whole directory to fit in. There doesn't appear to be a way to figure out how big that needs to be ahead-of-time, but at least you could iterate, doubling the buffer each time:
>> 3. the application could be offered an interface for atomic directory
>> reads that requires the application to provide sufficient memory in a
>> single contiguous buffer (making it thread-safe in the same go).
>Actually, you can do this today, if you use the underlying
>sys_getdents64 system call. But the application would have to
>allocate potentially a very large amount of userspace memory.