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20060226,00


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It's nice to have a real (and robust) OS X file manager.

Yesterday we used this old jalopy we've borrowed while Elliot Ness borrows our equipment to run an enumeration of every directory on the hard drive with Xfile. This is a slow four year old machine with very little RAM. There are 14,546 directories in this file system. We checked first with find.

% cd /; sudo find . -type d | wc -l
Password:
   14546

[The first part with cd is necessary: there's a bad bug in Apple's rewrite of the standard Unix/FreeBSD find.]

 
Enumerating 14,546 directories on a four year old 550 Mhz / 250 MB / 5400 rpm system took 42 seconds with Xfile. It's nice to have a real (and robust) OS X file manager.
To enumerate these directories, Xfile has to display them. You go up to the upper left hand corner in the left pane and first option click the topmost flippy next to '/' to close everything - then you option click it again to open everything.

Recursively.

It's probably not a good idea to try this stunt with any other file manager for OS X, but the entire enumeration for Xfile took only took 42 seconds [sic].

What we're wondering of course is how much faster this would go on the more modern computers reputed to be up to ten times as fast. With perhaps a 7200 or a 10000 rpm hard drive.

Whatever: 42 seconds - and the entire file system is enumerated, something you're not likely to see with other file managers. The last time I used Finder - which was over three years ago - the sick thing wouldn't even enumerate ~/Library with only a few dozen directories.

Of course there's a bit of a difference here, and it's intentional: Xfile doesn't try to enumerate every file in every directory - just the directories.

To stop this built-in mechanism, Finder has to hook into the actual GUI controls to stop their normal behaviour: what it normally will do is set a timer - when it's all pooped out from enumerating too much, it just stops. Just like that. Doesn't finish its business.

Isn't it nice to have a file manager that doesn't worry about colours and comments and just goes ahead and does its job of managing your file system?

Try it and find out.

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