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Take a Stroll with Xfile Part One

What do you have on your HDD today?

Get It

Try It

What do you have on your HDD today? Want to find out?

Put down your Finder crayons and follow along.

We'll start in root. Lots of things we normally don't see. There's the Spotlight store, .Trashes, bin, cores, private, sbin, usr, Volumes, .hotfiles.btree, Desktop DB, Desktop DF, and mach_kernel.

They're all hidden with Apple's silly HFS Finder flags and stuff. But they don't hide much here.

Not with Xfile.

.hotfiles.btree is a 'dot file' but it'd be hidden anyway.

Desktop DB and Desktop DF have no business being on a Unix disk. They're there for lame Carbon apps and it's about time they got chased out of Dodge.

Having the Unix MACH kernel hidden with a bloody Finder flag is a bit risible but it's probably a good idea to keep it out of reach of Maccies. Remember recently there was a 'hottie' who found /usr, figured 'hey I already got /Users', and deleted it.

Let the kernel be accessible to these morons and they're likely to say 'hey I already got a kernel - I'm already running my system and I don't need another copy on disk'. Nope - it's better to keep the kernel hidden until Apple users get a clue. Not that other Unix distributions would dream of hiding the kernel but... Well you know - it's like what happens to some people on those IQ tests.

But what's really alarming is that all these useful Unix directories are out of bounds: bin, private, sbin, and usr - they've got good stuff! What are users supposed to do? Solve all issues with TextEdit and iTunes?


/bin has all the classic - the very first - Unix programs. The Tiger standard shell bash lives there as do ubiquitous commands such as cat, chmod, cp, echo, kill, ln, mkdir, mv, Apple's favourite pax, rm, and rmdir. Keeping this directory hidden from use - thwarting access to it - is simply stupid.


Another curious one is dev. Finder can't even find it. It's got weird things like Berkeley packet filter device files, the fsevents device file Spotlight uses, your hard drive (and partition) device files, your TTYs, and so forth.

And there's the subdirectory fd in there for the standard file descriptor device files stdin, stdout, stderr, et al and Finder can't find any of that either.

Finder thinks /dev is an HFS alias - at least that's what he tells you. Odds are he isn't exactly holding back.

The Apple fanboys at the Ubuntu forums [yes that's right] are wondering why their Finder has to be able to get them into places like /dev. Lacking even undergraduate degrees in shoelaces it's understandable. IT professionals don't want bunglers like these going into /dev. The area is adequately protected but so are power plants.

What IT professionals want is to get in there themselves. After all, it's no big deal on any other Unix desktop.

It's no wonder Apple themselves call their Finder 'notorious'.

See Also
Xfile: 'Every Other Day'
Xfile: Überfast File Manager for OS X

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