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Leopard -Tmp-

Remember when OS X was simple, user friendly, elegant, and almost Unix?


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Remember when things were simple? And user friendly? Still got Tiger running? Here's what Lightman reports for start user 501.

NSTemporaryDirectory: /private/var/tmp/folders.501/TemporaryItems

'Those were the days my friend / we thought they'd never end' - yeah things were simple back then. Relatively speaking. They took a turn for the worse with 'fast user switching' which meant the old /tmp couldn't be used anymore. People needed their own temps all of a sudden. And their own locations for other stuff. It's called 'user friendly'.

But that was then and this is now. Got Leopard? Here's what Lightman reports for start user 501.

NSTemporaryDirectory: /private/var/folders/3t/3tLObI4nFuC+9x16zdhIg++++TI/-Tmp-

That's a nice path rolls off your tongue. So you're looking at that path and thinking 'WTF?' And you won't be alone. What's the purpose of all that gobbledegook? Hey it serves no reasonable purpose at all. It's all bullshit as Kate says in French Kiss. All bullshit. Some tool in Cupertino ostensibly thinks it's smart and cool but that someone probably hasn't been around Unix very long.

Say you want to clean out your own $TMP. Do you know how to get there? There sure is enough junk can accumulate there! Here's Leopard Preview acting up for example.



All those directories - PreviewTemp-* - they're all empty. You can see that because they have a size of 68 bytes and only two links. [All empty directories on OS X have size of 68 bytes and 2 links. The 68 bytes are needed to store the directory entries '.' and '..' and the two links are links to precisely those entries.]

Of course you might be running FINDER and then you wouldn't see shit, would you? And you'd maybe try to navigate to '/private/var/folders/3t/3tLObI4nFuC+9x16zdhIg++++TI/-Tmp-' [but only if you knew how the file system works which you probably don't as:you're:probably:still:writing:things:this:way - after all it's been only TEN YEARS NOW MACS ARE COOL].

So you won't get there, no. So we're back to the Beige Days™ [Daze™?] when nobody looked under the bonnet and thank heavens for that. Who needs Unix anyway? Macs are cool!

Note the 'zz' sibling. That's another beaut. That's a semi-protected area so you'll need 'sudo -s' to get in. And FWIW the system does clean '-Tmp-' on boot - it's just that you might want to get in there yourself from time to time [yes fanboys no one can understand why and yes fanboys Steve Jobs is best].

There are about 6 MB of caches in there you might want to get rid of from time to time. Check the inodes if you're not sure: the earlier inodes are probably files you want to leave alone.

Software Update's in there. Leaves a shiteload what never gets cleaned out. Lost disk space? Look there.



But if you're a fanboy just forget it all: fire up your favourite blog software and write an article on why Macs are cool. Try to remember to check your spelling too.

At this point Apple have done all they can with this 'Rock Solid Foundation™'. Next they might try AIX or z/OS and see if they can ruin one of them faster.

Of course there might be a good reason for this. A reason that's not only logical but also functional. And functional as in all those Unix and Linux admins reportedly headed to take charge of OS X networks will not only understand but agree with. But under the circumstances that seems very unlikely.

Apple are the company that sold cute wee blue boxes and cute wee redwood boxes and cuddly wee beige boxes. The company who once had a pirate flag to show they dared think different(ly). They're a rebellious lot. So they like to tell everyone.

But when it comes to standing on the shoulders of giants the key isn't thinking differently so much as it's thinking wisely. And cautiously. And in the case of Apple maybe not thinking at all.

But if there's a reasonable explanation we'll listen. Sure we will. What we can't promise is not to laugh.

See Also
Developers Workshop: Y.G.B.K.
Industry Watch: Without a DTrace
Hotspots: Just An Ordinary Innocent Little Old Text File
The Technological: Contact the Vendor for an Updated Version II

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