Flows: StateFlow or distinct+conflated?

I’ve got a bizarre file that is always the same size, with the same modified date. (some driver showing its state as a file’s contents through a fake filesystem). It contains a short string that changes when the device’s state changes. I don’t think I can Watch the file because it is a fake filesystem. Cool so far!

I was hoping to modernize it! A changing file that may or may not have anyone listening feels like a flow.

I’m not entirely sure about distinctUntilChanged and conflate (do they play nice together?) and if I’m just reinventing a StateFlow?

fun fileChanges(file: File): Flow<String> = flow {
    while (true) {
    .flowOn(Dispatchers.IO) // Run in background
    .distinctUntilChanged() // no duplicate status
    .conflate() // only most recent
    .map { it.trim() } // just the one line without newlines

This seems to work (with the expected system overhead) and I’m only trimming the deduped values, but… it smells funny. Like I should be able to reuse file handles, or memory mapped stuff, or a mark()/reset(), or better still, wrap it all up in a StateFlow object.