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Advanced Mac OS X Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide by Mark Dalrymple

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Mac OS X Specific Weirdness

OS X is a hybrid between classic Mac OS and Unix, so there are some peculiarities unique to OS X.

Resource forks

The first weirdness is resource forks, the additional stream that files have which store structured data. At the file system level, forks are really just two files that happen to share a name. Until Mac OS X 10.4, the Unix command-line utilities did not know resource forks were there, so it was possible for the resource fork to get lost or corrupted. cp and tar, for instance, did not preserve the fork.

In the command-line environment, you cannot really see the resource fork unless you append /..namedfork/rsrc to the name of the file. For example, the outline processor that we used to outline the first edition ...

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