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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > macOS > getting rid of the .DS_Store file

getting rid of the .DS_Store file
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rotuts
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Apr 21, 2007, 05:32 PM
 
just recently my computer started putting visible .ds_store files on in all the folders. this is because it now thinks its on a network for some reason.

I have used azureus but it didn't do this before.

Id like to get rid of them but the 'find' won't find them

I know part of this is a network problem

any ideaas on how to get back to the good old days?

cheers and thanks
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peeb
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Apr 21, 2007, 05:37 PM
 
Macs create these all the time, annoyingly. You should not be able to see them on the Mac, only on the PCs on your network. In prefs there is an option not to create them on networks, but, unfortunately, no option not to create them at all. There is a program called FinderrCleaner that will delete them though. I really hope Leopard fixes this.
     
rotuts  (op)
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Apr 21, 2007, 05:44 PM
 
thanks

where excatly in pref is the option to not create them on a network?

thanks again
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ginoledesma
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Apr 21, 2007, 05:50 PM
 
You can run this command from the Terminal:
defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores true
Alternatively, you can download and install TinkerTool to configure this among other things.
     
Chuckit
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Apr 21, 2007, 06:13 PM
 
If you're seeing them on your actual hard disk, you must have used some utility that lets you see invisible files.
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C.A.T.S. CEO
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Apr 21, 2007, 07:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
Macs create these all the time, annoyingly. You should not be able to see them on the Mac, only on the PCs on your network. In prefs there is an option not to create them on networks, but, unfortunately, no option not to create them at all. There is a program called FinderrCleaner that will delete them though. I really hope Leopard fixes this.
Most likely not, I personally don't mind seeing .DS_Store files on win machines.
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peeb
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Apr 21, 2007, 09:02 PM
 
No, but a lot of people with PCs do. Plus, it wreaks havoc with some hard disk based MP3 players. It's just plain anti-social to add a lot of files to directories just because you read them. Like spray-painting walls as you walk past them. You may not mind, but others do.
     
Chuckit
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Apr 21, 2007, 09:23 PM
 
It adds one file to directories, not lots.
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ghporter
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Apr 21, 2007, 09:49 PM
 
That sort of thing shows up on my USB drive all the time. I use this drive on my MBP and the Dells at school (so I can print my files at school). It has never hurt a thing for me to delete the .DS store files or any of the other hidden files OS X deposits (but that are visible on a PC).

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peeb
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Apr 21, 2007, 10:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
It adds one file to directories, not lots.
One to each directory - that can get to be lots. Plus the trash files. It's hard to delete them with a Mac. It's possible for PC users to go through, and find them all, and delete them, if they know what they are, but it's anti-social to leave them there on shared drives. There's no way around it.
     
tomrock
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Apr 22, 2007, 08:23 AM
 
All folders on a Mac have .ds_store files -- it's where the settings for the Window are stored (view by icon or list, what sort order to use, etc.).

Any file name in UNIX that starts with a period is an invisible file in UNIX. They show up on Windows because files that start with periods aren't invisible on Windows.
     
chabig
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Apr 22, 2007, 09:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by tomrock View Post
Any file name in UNIX that starts with a period is an invisible file in UNIX. They show up on Windows because files that start with periods aren't invisible on Windows.
Right. And because they serve a useful purpose, I doubt they'll be going away any time soon.
     
chrisford
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Apr 22, 2007, 09:44 AM
 
The Hansel & Gretel method of leaving .ds files everywhere might be useful (to Mac users) but I agree with Peeb: it's a poor design choice.

As others have mentioned, these files are invisible to Mac users and (by default) to *nix users. The fact that only Windows users see them isn't an excuse, imo.
     
mfbernstein
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Apr 22, 2007, 11:07 AM
 
Metadata has to be stored somewhere for files accessible via network protocols. Where do you propose to stick it?
     
chabig
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Apr 22, 2007, 11:42 AM
 
He probably thinks a central database is a great idea. Let's call it a "registry."

Windows users need to get over it. So you see a .DS file in each folder...no big deal. Have they looked at the garbage in Windows System folder...or in Program Files?
     
besson3c
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Apr 22, 2007, 12:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by mfbernstein View Post
Metadata has to be stored somewhere for files accessible via network protocols. Where do you propose to stick it?

At the file system level, via xattr, which Tiger now supports. The only major OS that doesn't is Windows, unfortunately.
     
besson3c
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Apr 22, 2007, 12:10 PM
 
Apple should give you a GUI option to turn off the metadata littering. I'm willing to bet that a number of users don't care about Finder/Get Info comments, label colors, and other metadata that OS X tracks. It simply isn't a good idea to write to a folder without a user being aware of this.

What if somebody decides to clean up the metadata for the sake of cleanliness, some if it is recreated once the data is downloaded/saved to HFS under OS X, and the md5 hashes of these folders no longer match (as would be the case if any data in the folder was altered)? This is a big problem.
     
chabig
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Apr 22, 2007, 12:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Apple should give you a GUI option to turn off the metadata littering. I'm willing to bet that a number of users don't care about Finder/Get Info comments, label colors, and other metadata that OS X tracks. It simply isn't a good idea to write to a folder without a user being aware of this.
I simply disagree. Metadata will play a larger and larger role in the future of computing. Haven't you read the many threads in which people complain about the Finder not remembering window size, location, etc.?

What if somebody decides to clean up the metadata for the sake of cleanliness, some if it is recreated once the data is downloaded/saved to HFS under OS X, and the md5 hashes of these folders no longer match (as would be the case if any data in the folder was altered)? This is a big problem.
I don't follow. The .DS files are invisible. How do you "clean up" metadata?
     
besson3c
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Apr 22, 2007, 12:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
I simply disagree. Metadata will play a larger and larger role in the future of computing. Haven't you read the many threads in which people complain about the Finder not remembering window size, location, etc.?
That is exactly what xattr is designed to accommodate. It is the closest we will ever come to agreeing upon a metadata standard, most likely. At some point, we will just have to bite the bullet and go down this path and leave Windows users in the dust. In the meantime, in many cases these silly little workarounds create more problems than they solve, and the problems that they do attempt to solve are not really desirable or important to all.

I don't follow. The .DS files are invisible. How do you "clean up" metadata?
They aren't invisible to the root user, and they aren't invisible to Windows users. Some administrators need to be accountable for all files that are included in a folder, for security reasons. If, for instance, the md5 hashes of a folder do not match because one folder includes .DS_Store files and the other doesn't, legally this would suggest that this data has been tampered with. There are many circumstances where a user might want to delete files that aren't needed, and mismatching md5 hashes are a big security red flag.
     
Chuckit
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Apr 22, 2007, 12:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Apple should give you a GUI option to turn off the metadata littering. I'm willing to bet that a number of users don't care about Finder/Get Info comments, label colors, and other metadata that OS X tracks. It simply isn't a good idea to write to a folder without a user being aware of this.

What if somebody decides to clean up the metadata for the sake of cleanliness, some if it is recreated once the data is downloaded/saved to HFS under OS X, and the md5 hashes of these folders no longer match (as would be the case if any data in the folder was altered)? This is a big problem.
Yeah, I'm sure there are a lot of people who need to do MD5 hashes but can't use a command line to save their life…in some universe.
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besson3c
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Apr 22, 2007, 01:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Yeah, I'm sure there are a lot of people who need to do MD5 hashes but can't use a command line to save their life…in some universe.

Huh? What are you talking about? If the data in a folder is altered, an MD5 hash is changed to reflect this regardless of whether you are in a GUI or a CLI environment. Am I misunderstanding what you mean here?

A lot of security principles are built off of crypto hashes, however, this was only the first example that came to mind in pinpointing a problem with the metadata littering.
     
peeb
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Apr 22, 2007, 01:46 PM
 
All I want is the option to turn it off for all external, removable or shared drives. Apple already admits there is a need for this, since they allow you to turn it off for network drives. I want one step further.
     
peeb
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Apr 22, 2007, 01:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
He probably thinks a central database is a great idea. Let's call it a "registry."

Windows users need to get over it. So you see a .DS file in each folder...no big deal. Have they looked at the garbage in Windows System folder...or in Program Files?
The thing is, they don't leave traces of that garbage on everything they look at... It's all very well to say that 'they need to get over it', but, in my case, they are doing me a favor by giving me access to their drives, and are annoyed that I leave junk they don't want all over them. Plus, the registry does not store folder preferences.
     
chrisford
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Apr 23, 2007, 01:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
He probably thinks a central database is a great idea. Let's call it a "registry."

Windows users need to get over it. So you see a .DS file in each folder...no big deal. Have they looked at the garbage in Windows System folder...or in Program Files?
That attitude is the opposite of good design - if a method of storing metadata clutters up a file system with unnecessary files, the method should be improved. Asking people to 'get used to it' isn't a solution; it's an abdication of responsibility.

I have no preference toward a centralised or distributed method of storing metadata. Each method has it's own advantages and disadvantages.
     
besson3c
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Apr 23, 2007, 01:17 PM
 
I often wonder if people knee-jerk into siding with Apple's design implementations simply because they are Apple's?
     
Chuckit
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Apr 23, 2007, 01:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I often wonder if people knee-jerk into siding with Apple's design implementations simply because they are Apple's?
Some do — I don't think most. But frankly, this is not merely Apple's design. Windows does the same thing when generating thumbnails. I've had drives littered with those thumbs files.
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rickey939
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Apr 23, 2007, 01:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by rotuts View Post
thanks

where excatly in pref is the option to not create them on a network?

thanks again
Was this answered? I would like to know as well.
     
Chuckit
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Apr 23, 2007, 01:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by rickey939 View Post
Was this answered?
As far as it can be answered, yes.

Originally Posted by ginoledesma View Post
You can run this command from the Terminal:
defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores true
Alternatively, you can download and install TinkerTool to configure this among other things.
Chuck
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peeb
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Apr 23, 2007, 01:51 PM
 
Open terminal and enter:
$ defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores true
     
besson3c
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Apr 23, 2007, 01:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Some do — I don't think most. But frankly, this is not merely Apple's design. Windows does the same thing when generating thumbnails. I've had drives littered with those thumbs files.
True, and I'm not saying that there is a solution to all of this, particularly since it will be difficult getting Windows onboard with just about anything.

Still, it is indeed a problem and a PITA, let's just call a spade a spade here.
     
KP*
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Apr 23, 2007, 03:24 PM
 
I hate the .DS files. I work as a consultant in an all-Windows office, and for convenience use my own Powerbook on their network. Sometimes I have to move to one of their PCs, and I'm embarassed to see all my .DS files in all the folders that I have created. I have my Mac set to not create those files over a network, but what I think is happening is that I create folders and subfolders on my own machine, and when I copy them as a unit to the network, the .DS files are still there.

Anyway, as cool as the Mac is, and as impressed as people in the office are by some of what it can do, it kind of negates the whole "look how easy it is to use a Mac" argument when everyone can see all those stupid files.
     
peeb
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Apr 23, 2007, 03:37 PM
 
Yep. Been there. It looks amateurish and inconsiderate.
     
frdmfghtr
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Apr 23, 2007, 04:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by KP* View Post
Anyway, as cool as the Mac is, and as impressed as people in the office are by some of what it can do, it kind of negates the whole "look how easy it is to use a Mac" argument when everyone can see all those stupid files.
I don't see how that negates the argument; OS X has to store the display info somewhere, and logically, a hidden file in the directory of interest makes the most sense. In fact, I contend that the .DS file make it EASIER to reset the file directory to a default display method, by simply deleting that file. (Is this the case? I haven't tried it, but it seems to make sense.)

I will grant that having the option to turn off .DS files (local and networked) would be nice for those who want that option and have all file directories displayed the same way every time, regardless of location. However, as far as negating the arguments of Mac OS X being easier to use, I have to chalk that one up to a slight case of over-reaction.
     
besson3c
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Originally Posted by frdmfghtr View Post
I don't see how that negates the argument; OS X has to store the display info somewhere, and logically, a hidden file in the directory of interest makes the most sense. In fact, I contend that the .DS file make it EASIER to reset the file directory to a default display method, by simply deleting that file. (Is this the case? I haven't tried it, but it seems to make sense.)

To me, making this metadata a part of the file system makes the most sense to me, but like I said, the bottleneck here is Windows... However, perhaps it would be best just to leave Windows behind?
     
peeb
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Apr 23, 2007, 05:17 PM
 
Yes, leaving Windows behind is fine, except when you are a consultant on a Win network on shares who does not want to piss people off by leaving files that do nothing except tell your computer what your folder prefs are all over the place. It's an unnecessary annoyance that we should be able to turn off.
I can't turn round to my boss and say "Live with it suxor, Windoze iz teh Lamor, OSX iz teh Haxor" when he comments that there are files everywhere and he does not know what they are.
     
Chuckit
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Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
To me, making this metadata a part of the file system makes the most sense to me, but like I said, the bottleneck here is Windows... However, perhaps it would be best just to leave Windows behind?
Doesn't Windows support extended file attributes? I think the problem is that xattrs can't be applied to directories. (This is as far as I know. I haven't monkeyed around too much, so anybody can feel free to correct me.)
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besson3c
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Originally Posted by peeb View Post
Yes, leaving Windows behind is fine, except when you are a consultant on a Win network on shares who does not want to piss people off by leaving files that do nothing except tell your computer what your folder prefs are all over the place. It's an unnecessary annoyance that we should be able to turn off.
I can't turn round to my boss and say "Live with it suxor, Windoze iz teh Lamor, OSX iz teh Haxor" when he comments that there are files everywhere and he does not know what they are.

This is what happens in Windows now though. An option to disable .DS_Store littering might work okay, but what about MACOSX file littering in zip files? What about .AppleDouble directories?

This is an imperfect solution, but an improvement over what we have now.
     
besson3c
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Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Doesn't Windows support extended file attributes? I think the problem is that xattrs can't be applied to directories. (This is as far as I know. I haven't monkeyed around too much, so anybody can feel free to correct me.)
Well, this isn't clear to me. According to this:

Extended file attributes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NT supports OS/2 style extended attributes, but I'm not sure if that means it would work specifically with the xattr implementation.
     
KP*
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Apr 24, 2007, 12:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
but what about MACOSX file littering in zip files?
I forgot about this. This is why I had to use the PCs in the office sometimes -- I would make a lot of zip files available for download to people we were working with around the world. All the zip files I created on my Mac contained invisible files that were visible to PC users.

It confused a lot of computer-illiterate people when they tried to open the Mac-only files, and they would e-mail me or my bosses saying the downloads were corrupt. It just doesn't look very professional, regardless of the reason. As someone else said, in a business environment, explaining to someone that they're seeing these useless files because "Windoze is teh suxors" and they should be using a Mac just doesn't cut it. So I wound up having to put all the files together on my Mac, and then hop over to one of the PCs to clean them up and zip them.

IMO one of the things Apple has done in recent years that has helped market share is to stress that being a Mac user doesn't mean you can't function in a PC world, and that you can share files with all your PC-using friends and co-workers without problems. This issue is a major obstacle to the idea that there's no disadvantage to using a Mac in a predominantly PC environment.
     
Chuckit
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Originally Posted by KP* View Post
So I wound up having to put all the files together on my Mac, and then hop over to one of the PCs to clean them up and zip them.
Have you tried DropZip? I don't think it does stuff like that.
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Apr 24, 2007, 01:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Have you tried DropZip? I don't think it does stuff like that.
Thanks for the tip. I was just using the OS's built-in "create archive" feature. I wish I didn't have to find alternative apps for things any OS should be able to do by itself, but I guess the developers are living under the idealized vision that when you make a zip file (a format which is basically designed for sharing with others), it will only ever be viewed on a Mac where its extra files will supposedly be of use to the recipient, and it will never need to be seen on those strange machines the other 95% of the world uses. I guess in some instances that might be the case, but I'd bet the majority of zip files created on a Mac are viewed on a PC more often than their metadata is actually needed on a Mac.
     
Chuckit
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Originally Posted by KP* View Post
Thanks for the tip. I was just using the OS's built-in "create archive" feature. I wish I didn't have to find alternative apps for things any OS should be able to do by itself, but I guess the developers are living under the idealized vision that when you make a zip file (a format which is basically designed for sharing with others), it will only ever be viewed on a Mac where its extra files will supposedly be of use to the recipient, and it will never need to be seen on those strange machines the other 95% of the world uses. I guess in some instances that might be the case, but I'd bet the majority of zip files created on a Mac are viewed on a PC more often than their metadata is actually needed on a Mac.
No, if Apple were operating under that assumption, they would have gone with a less compatible solution. For instance, OS X already had libbz2, which offers better compression, but software to decompress bzip2 files was not common on PCs. I happen to think Apple's solution to this particular problem is pretty darn good. All the stuff that doesn't concern PC users is tucked away nicely in a folder marked MACOSX, the rest of the zipfile is left untouched. The MACOSX folder does not harm usability at all. Finder's archive feature is intended to be a quick archiving tool. It performs its function efficiently and in a very compatible way.
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WJMoore
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Apr 24, 2007, 08:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Have you tried DropZip? I don't think it does stuff like that.
I use the command line zip: comes with the system and doesn't add MACOSX directories.
     
prashant
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Apr 24, 2007, 10:14 AM
 
Unix find (on Terminal) finds the .DS files for me:
find . -name .DS_Store | xargs rm
would probably remove all of them in the current directory and its sub-directories.

Of course, only recommeded for usb/network drives
     
besson3c
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Apr 24, 2007, 11:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Have you tried DropZip? I don't think it does stuff like that.
Or the command line zip binary, very simple to use. I find that by the time I get all of these little single-purpose apps open (and I don't leave them in my Dock unless I use them frequently) I can just do the same thing in the command line.
     
besson3c
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Apr 24, 2007, 11:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
No, if Apple were operating under that assumption, they would have gone with a less compatible solution. For instance, OS X already had libbz2, which offers better compression, but software to decompress bzip2 files was not common on PCs. I happen to think Apple's solution to this particular problem is pretty darn good. All the stuff that doesn't concern PC users is tucked away nicely in a folder marked MACOSX, the rest of the zipfile is left untouched. The MACOSX folder does not harm usability at all. Finder's archive feature is intended to be a quick archiving tool. It performs its function efficiently and in a very compatible way.

I disagree, Apple's solution is a PITA, because it (like many of Apple's other solutions) assume that the entire world wants to work as Apple envisioned.

This solution would be acceptable if they provided an option to not litter these files at all, in various circumstances, or whatever.

As it stands, it is not an acceptable solution at all.
     
Chuckit
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Apr 24, 2007, 11:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I disagree, Apple's solution is a PITA, because it (like many of Apple's other solutions) assume that the entire world wants to work as Apple envisioned.

This solution would be acceptable if they provided an option to not litter these files at all, in various circumstances, or whatever.

As it stands, it is not an acceptable solution at all.
I'm not following your thinking. As I see things, it's supposed to be a quick, easy way for Mac users to archive their files without risk of data loss. It succeeds in this goal. How, then, is it not an acceptable solution?
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KP*
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Apr 24, 2007, 12:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
I'm not following your thinking. As I see things, it's supposed to be a quick, easy way for Mac users to archive their files without risk of data loss. It succeeds in this goal. How, then, is it not an acceptable solution?
Because it creates files that are useless and visible and annoying to 95% of the computer-using public. It's only acceptable if you assume that everyone, or the majority of people, are using a Mac. Sure, the world would be a better place if that were true, but it's awfully ballsy of Apple to think that way and tell every one else to shove it if they don't like it.

Basically some people here are saying we should say, "If you were on a Mac, those files would be helpful and you wouldn't see them."

But to the average PC user, it's more like "If you weren't on a Mac, I wouldn't have to see these stupid files."

It's bad Mac diplomacy, I think. It makes Macs look inconvenient and incompatible to any PC user who comes across this situation, and frankly, I don't blame them. It's a reason for PC users not to want to work with Mac users, much less buy a Mac themselves.
     
besson3c
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Apr 24, 2007, 12:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
I'm not following your thinking. As I see things, it's supposed to be a quick, easy way for Mac users to archive their files without risk of data loss. It succeeds in this goal. How, then, is it not an acceptable solution?
Because it is not transparent in having these other side-effects. There are surprises, some which could literally be detrimental (e.g. my md5 hash example).

Shouldn't a good GUI produce predictable results that make life easier than doing the same operation via the command line?
     
peeb
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Apr 24, 2007, 01:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by KP* View Post
But to the average PC user, it's more like "If you weren't on a Mac, I wouldn't have to see these stupid files."

It's bad Mac diplomacy, I think. It makes Macs look inconvenient and incompatible to any PC user who comes across this situation, and frankly, I don't blame them. It's a reason for PC users not to want to work with Mac users, much less buy a Mac themselves.
Exactly.
     
 
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