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The Persistence of .DS_Store

Despite hints otherwise, some things will simply not go away.


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It's reviled. It's been exposed as a programming error. Years ago.

It's infected networks. It's been a security vulnerability. It's had its own social media bots.

But it doesn't go away.

.DS_Store.

On a legacy 10.7 system dating five years after Arno's admission and ten years after we brought it to the attention of Apple preachers, .DS_Store is still alive and prospering, despite the advent of the extended attribute.

On up-to-date 10.14 systems it's doing even better.

Checking key system locations yields the following. For 10.7:

Key: .DS_Store
Contains: YES
Ignore Case: NO
Found in 5 of 341 items.

/System/Library/CoreServices/Archive Utility.app/Contents/MacOS/Archive Utility
/System/Library/CoreServices/File Sync.app/Contents/MacOS/File Sync
/System/Library/CoreServices/FileSyncAgent.app/Contents/MacOS/FileSyncAgent
/System/Library/CoreServices/ManagedClient.app/Contents/Resources/HomeSync.app/Contents/MacOS/HomeSync
/System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Support/build_hd_index
Key: .DS_Store
Contains: YES
Ignore Case: NO
Found in 22 of 575 items.

/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DesktopServicesPriv.framework/Versions/A/DesktopServicesPriv
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DesktopServicesPriv.framework/Versions/A/Resources/Locum
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DiskImages.framework/Versions/A/Resources/copy-helper
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DiskImages.framework/Versions/A/Resources/diskimages-helper
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/FamilyControls.framework/Versions/A/FamilyControls
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/IMCore.framework/imagent.app/Contents/PlugIns/AIM.imservice/Contents/MacOS/AIM
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/IMCore.framework/imagent.app/Contents/PlugIns/Bonjour.imservice/Contents/MacOS/Bonjour
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Install.framework/Frameworks/OSInstall.framework/Versions/A/OSInstall
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Install.framework/Versions/A/Resources/pkgExtractor
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/iTunesAccess.framework/Versions/A/iTunesAccess
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/MobileDevice.framework/Versions/A/AppleMobileDeviceHelper.app/Contents/MacOS/AppleMobileDeviceHelper
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/MobileDevice.framework/Versions/A/AppleMobileDeviceHelper.app/Contents/Resources/AppleMobileBackup
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/PackageKit.framework/Versions/A/PackageKit
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/PackageKit.framework/Versions/A/Resources/shove
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Safari.framework/Versions/A/Safari
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SystemMigration.framework/Frameworks/SlingShot+10_6.framework/Versions/A/SlingShot+10_6
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SystemMigration.framework/Versions/A/Resources/FindReaperFiles.app/Contents/MacOS/FindReaperFiles
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SystemMigration.framework/Versions/A/Resources/FindReaperFiles.app/Contents/Resources/MigrationData/Scripts/vol_scan.pl
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SystemMigration.framework/Versions/A/Resources/MigrationData/Scripts/vol_scan.pl
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SystemMigration.framework/Versions/A/SystemMigration
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Ubiquity.framework/Versions/A/Support/ubd
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/XMPPCore.framework/Versions/A/XMPPCore

For 10.14:

Key: .DS_Store
Contains: YES
Ignore Case: NO
Found in 6 of 437 items.

/System/Library/CoreServices/Applications/Archive Utility.app/Contents/MacOS/Archive Utility
/System/Library/CoreServices/CoreServicesUIAgent.app/Contents/MacOS/CoreServicesUIAgent
/System/Library/CoreServices/FolderActionsDispatcher.app/Contents/MacOS/FolderActionsDispatcher
/System/Library/CoreServices/Photo Library Migration Utility.app/Contents/Frameworks/RedRock.framework/Versions/A/RedRock
/System/Library/CoreServices/Photo Library Migration Utility.app/Contents/MacOS/Photo Library Migration Utility
/System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Support/build_hd_index
Key: .DS_Store
Contains: YES
Ignore Case: NO
Found in 24 of 1286 items.

/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/AddressBookCore.framework/Versions/A/AddressBookCore
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CloudDocs.framework/Versions/A/CloudDocs
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DesktopServicesPriv.framework/Versions/A/DesktopServicesPriv
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DesktopServicesPriv.framework/Versions/A/Resources/DesktopServicesHelper
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DiskImages.framework/Versions/A/Resources/copy-helper
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DiskImages.framework/Versions/A/Resources/diskimages-helper
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/FamilyControls.framework/Versions/A/FamilyControls
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/FinderKit.framework/Versions/A/FinderKit
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/HelpData.framework/Versions/A/Resources/helpd
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/IMDPersistence.framework/Versions/A/IMDPersistence
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Mail.framework/Versions/A/Mail
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/MobileDevice.framework/Versions/A/AppleMobileDeviceHelper.app/Contents/MacOS/AppleMobileDeviceHelper
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/MobileDevice.framework/Versions/A/AppleMobileDeviceHelper.app/Contents/Resources/AppleMobileBackup
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/OSInstaller.framework/Versions/A/OSInstaller
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/PackageKit.framework/Versions/A/PackageKit
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/PackageKit.framework/Versions/A/Resources/deferred_install
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/PackageKit.framework/Versions/A/Resources/shove
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/PackageKit.framework/Versions/A/Resources/system_shove
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/PassKitCore.framework/Versions/A/PassKitCore
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/PhotoLibraryPrivate.framework/Versions/A/PhotoLibraryPrivate
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Safari.framework/Versions/A/Safari
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SystemMigration.framework/Versions/A/Resources/MigrationData/Scripts/vol_scan.pl
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SystemMigration.framework/Versions/A/Resources/MigrationData/Scripts/vol_scan.rb
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SystemMigration.framework/Versions/A/SystemMigration

Some of these references are for the purpose of eradicating the critters when they're found out. Undoubtedly. But the year is soon 2019, and the ability to store such data - when needed - in the parallel XA stream has been around since 10.4 Tiger in 2005 - fourteen years ago.

See Also
Developers Workshop: _getdirentries_is_not_available...

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