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A New Tipping Point?

They're nasty but they're an endangered species. For obvious reasons.


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The brouhaha stirring at Digg and MacSurfer over this article, this article, this article, this article, this article, this article, and this article is actually a topic that's over four years old. Code injector Jonathan Rentzsch got burned way back in February 2003 while presumably running 10.2 Jaguar.

Rentzsch called it a 'bug', meandered into what it meant, and got feedback from several sources.

  • Eric Barzeski, erstwhile mailing list moderator, O'Reilly writer, and Apple engineer.
  • Olof Hellman, erstwhile materials engineer and Microsoft software engineer.
  • The Goober. Aka Daring Phucball. No intro necessary.
  • Michael Tsai, 'Macintosh' software developer and author of 'SpamSieve' (used most often and often rebated with Mailsmith).
  • Rainer Brockerhoff, 'Macintosh' software developer.

In not a single instance have any of these pundits stopped to consider what that underlying 'rock solid foundation' has to say about any of this.

It's been said before that although Cupertino use Unix and seemingly embrace it, they have neither understanding of nor respect for it. This has been in evidence before but never so blatantly ridiculous.

Unix admits of eight (8) file types.

And while it is true that everything in Unix is a 'stream of bytes', it is not true that the above file types are interchangeable.

One very practical reason you can't overwrite a folder with a file is that Unix doesn't remove before copying in. [See here and here for an explanation.] In fact in all extant file systems except Cupertino's - and including the 'virtual' file system they run under the bonnet - such nonsense is not only undesirable, it's often outright impossible.

And yet it's instructive that these (dis)assembled minds, all with a background almost exclusively in beige box 'MacOS', have not thought to consider all the other mainstream file systems in use - or even pop open a Terminal window and look under the bonnet of the system they're running.

This kind of myopia - blissfully smug isolation - was possible (if detestable) only a few short years ago, but the scales are tipping. Adherents of the 'hello box' are an endangered species, their demographic being diluted all the more by the 'switchers' who have more all around experience - and these switchers might not notice what's going on immediately but sooner or later they'll land that all important clue - perhaps with the help of articles such as this.

And the switchers are growing in number all the time.

If you're a switcher and you couldn't care less about an obscure beige box you'd never have used anyway, then become a member of the ADC (it's free) and then wander over to Apple's bug reporter microsite, log in, and file this as a bug.

It'll give them something better to do than discuss spatiality all day long.

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