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APFS: #1

A first look at the new Apple file system. One report of many.


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LONDON (Rixstep) — To do this right, one needs a new machine. So we acquired one. An MBA.

The MBA was chosen because it was cheapest, had no silly-ass Touch Bar, and had some ordinary ports.

It's actually nicer than the MBPs we have.

The MBA was supposed to come with High Sierra and APFS - what we're really after - but of course it didn't. Upgrading to HS on the new MBA was no hassle at all.

Next came Xcode. Getting Xcode on the MBPs had been a hassle, due to a long-standing bug at Apple, but here it was easier. Although one needed to register with a valid CC to get a free download. Quite a change from the good old days when they were giving it away.



The first thing you notice with APFS is that they got more inodes. WAY more. 9,223,372,036,854,775,807. That's because it's a signed super-long int.

Rollover now takes longer.

The next thing you notice - still working with a naked OOTB system - is that blasted .DS_Store. How many years has it been since we and others pointed this out, since Apple admitted it was a programming error?

So getting the ACP up and running was essential.

The next thing - before any serious fun with APFS could begin - was therefore put 'TFF' out of everyone's misery. But that's easier said than done, as Apple hold 'TFF' in a vice, and it's down to the files in /System/Library/LaunchAgents, and that area is controlled by csrutil.

CSRUTIL(8)                BSD System Manager's Manual               CSRUTIL(8)

NAME
     csrutil -- Configure system security policies

SYNOPSIS
     csrutil command [arguments ...]

DESCRIPTION
     csrutil modifies System Integrity Protection settings.
     Some of the commands require the device to be booted into
     the Recovery OS. Invoke csrutil with no arguments to see a
     full usage statement.

macOS                            June 15, 2017                           macOS

What you have to do - as our good friend 'Hutch' reminded us, as no one could remember the name of the blasted program - was boot into recovery mode, invoke Terminal, turn things off with csrutil, then move out TFF's plist, then boot again.

Fixed.

Here are Apple's notes:

https://developer.apple.com/library/.../ConfiguringSystemIntegrityProtection.html

Here's an informative piece from OS X Daily:

http://osxdaily.com/2015/10/05/disable-rootless-system-integrity-protection-mac-os-x/

And here are Hutch's final comments:

There are some files that admin types still have to modify to make stuff work in the enterprise (stuff that touches /System) which csrutil allows you to do. I don't make a habit of it though.

csrutil is a clever way of securing a system, so that only those who have actual physical access can muck anything up. This in contrast to Microsoft Windows which has had the helpful habit of informing you only after a disaster has occurred.

Apples and lemons indeed.

The final image on this page is from /dev - that directory that Apple (at least 'TFF') can't even find.



More to come.

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