Gripe against OSX [ was Re: osx talk meeting notes ]
rlotz at u.washington.edu
Thu Jan 23 23:36:57 PST 2003
On Thursday, Jan 23, 2003, at 22:50 US/Pacific, 'The Buddha' Doug
> Speaking of the "unix" filesystem that MacOSX employs, my experience
> far is that it basically sucks. First, the layout is unintuitive, and
> the standard directories one sees among the Unices are largely
> missing, or
> have totally different names. For example:
> /usr -> /Applications
> /home -> /Users
> /mnt -> /Volumes (this one also includes locally mounted partitions)
> How gay is that?
Actually, I wouldn't consider /Applications the same as /usr. /usr is
still there, it still stores your typical unix commands right where you
expect. /Applications is really only used for OS X apps. Mac user's
shouldn't need to know if an application should be dragged into /bin,
/usr/bin, /sbin/, /usr/sbin, etc. Also, Apple's choice to make
applications actually bundles with all the support files in the same
package makes managing everything very nice. Besides, yo don't really
want to give a bunch of Mac users the ability to drag apache, pico, or
sendmail into the trash can just because it doesn't do anything when
you double click it in the finder. As for the /home and /mnt stuff,
what does it really matter? Other then being different I don't really
see a reason why their method is flawed.
> Second, Apple's HFS+ filesystem doesn't play well with more traditional
> Unix filesystems because HFS+ uses a very different method of storing
> files. Normally you see some sort of inode or vnode pointing to a
> of the disk, but on HFS+, the file is actually split up into raw data
> icon-type info. That doesn't sound too different, but when trying to
> AppleTalk or just scp working on a unix filesystem, the problems is
> these two things (raw data and icon) get treated as _seperate_ files,
> with its own inode. It really makes dealing with cross-platform file
> serving very ugly.
Yeah, the resource and data forks are pretty messy. However, I believe
newer apps are starting to rely on the resource forks left (I've heard
some messy stuff about Quicken). That said, with NFS shares (and
perhaps even SAMBA) when you use the Finder to copy a file to a non HFS
partition OS X will copy over the data file as the file name (makes
since, non Mac apps really only care about the data) and the resource
fork gets copied as a dot file (.filename_something). When/if you copy
the file from the remote share/fs OS X will ( I've been told ) copy
over the dot file as the resource data.
The resource files do make rsync backups a bitch but there is already a
macrsyc available, or in development. Also, you are able to reformat
everything as a UFS partition if you like. Some apps that _need_
resource forks will probably break, but most newer ones (stuff
specifically written for OS X and not 9) will work. HFS+ is also case
insensitive (it is case aware though). I've heard a lot of complaining
about that, but I don't really see why. No one in their right mind
would start naming different files with conflicting cases.
> Lastly, this is not related to filesystems, but I just wanted to say
> Apple's LDAP sucks too. Its totally non-standard and the only way to
> it working in a non-Apple environment is in the advanced options. You
> have to force it to use Unix-style LDAP (as stated in
> RFC-something-or-other). Even Windows does LDAP better through Active
> Directory. Its just another example of how Apple "thinks differently"
> (clearly for the worse).
Can't comment on this. I only use LDAP to get to the UW Directory
server in Address Book. I haven't had any issues with that.
A lot of OS X weirdness comes from the fact that it's sort of a
hodgepodge of 3 operating systems. NeXT, FreeBSD (well, Darwin now),
and MacOS. You get the funny HFS bits from MacOS, NeXT is to blame for
the funny directory structure, and the original FreeBSD (now Darwin
bits) give you your traditional unix flavor. Hopefully as more apps
become OS X native, and whenever Apple drops classic (probably not for
a few years) some of the old MacOS strangeness will go away.
One of my _gripes_ is with the funny startup/shutdown structure. It's
mix of BSD style init and OS X start up items make it occasionally hard
to track down what service is being started where.
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