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Desktop Services Store

They find it 'really depressing'.


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Arno Gourdol is an 'engineering manager' for Adobe. He used to be the 'lead' of the OS X Finder project.

OK, so already you don't like him, but Maccie fanboys have to learn to be polite. That's the only way you get cookies! And Arno's got a cookie this time around - he explains what the file name '.DS_Store' means! Fun, innit?

Since I had previously been responsible for naming Icon Services and Navigation Services, we decided to go with Desktop Services. At the time we were also considering renaming the Finder to 'Desktop'. Hence the name .DS_Store for 'Desktop Services Store'.

Ah great. So now we know that. When did all these momentous decisions take place by the way, Arno? That's right: 1999 - eight years ago. Ahem.

But there's more - and keep that 'eight years ago' in mind.

There's also an unfortunate bug that is not fixed to this day that results in excessive creation of .DS_Store files. These files should only be created if the user actually makes adjustments to the view settings or sets a manual location for icons in a folder. That's unfortunately not what happens, and visiting a folder pretty much guarantees a .DS_Store file will get created.

Sorry Arno, but we had to clean up your writing which pretty much sucks but we get the point anyway. But it's not just visiting folders, Arno - it's also using the file dialogs. You point out later that they use your 'back end' (which you cleverly named the 'BE') but you don't connect their use to .DS_Store. Whatever. We can't have everything and we can't expect you to do a sound job all the time.

And this of course is a bug that's not been fixed in - how long was it again? Eight years? OK, we're up to speed now.

But wait - it gets worse. Arno allows comments on his blog. We've had to clean up most of these because these people are basically illiterate but you get the meaning.

Mac OS X now supports extended metadata. That's what Spotlight uses. So, really, that's what the Finder should be using today and I'm not sure why it isn't.

Thankfully, the value of metadata is now finally recognised and Mac OS has some of the best metadata support, but we still seem to be stuck with decisions from seven years ago.
 - Arno


And thats the REAL problem with DS_Stores - it is based on a set of poor assumptions. For example, in a network environment you're assuming that everybody wants the same view settings.
 - Anonymous


I've been biting my tongue for a few years now, and while John Siracusa had been a thoughtful critic of the OS X Finder, I must say I agree with almost everything he has to say about the Finder. In fact, he was one of the few people who was right on the money (I think) regarding what the Finder should have been/should be some day. We actually used printouts of John's columns to try to influence the decision makers at the time, as sometimes a voice from the outside is given more weight than a chorus on the inside. Unfortunately, there were powerful forces at work. My only consolation is that I know that it could have been worse. One day, I shall tell the tale.
 - Arno


It's really depressing that the .DS_Store feature/bug is still present to this day. I get cursed daily for dropping .DS_Store files on the company's Windows share.
 - Head White Guy In Charge


As regards the poster who is upset about the idiocy of the Finder, I am glad he has found some way to work around the problem created by Steve and his NeXT cronies. These guys are also responsible for the iPod, the MacBook Pro, Apple's amazing industrial design, and a multitude of ground breaking software applications.

It would be interesting to hear Arno's stories, but they are certainly dated. Mine would be a whole lot better as I have just left Apple after working on Finder for six years.
 - diskzero


Hi Gene! We should swap out stories sometimes!
 - Arno


I know! Somehow our paths have never crossed, except for fleeting moments in source code!
 - diskzero

The task of counting all the stupid things Arno, diskzero, and their friends are responsible for is left as a homework assignment to the reader.

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