Chapter 3. The Mac OS X Filesystem

HFS+ has a lot going for it. Although its case-insensitivity caused problems back in the very early days of Mac OS X, is hasn’t proved to be a problem in the long run. Its transparent support of the metadata that is so crucial to Mac OS X, coupled with its excellent support for journaling, make it the filesystem of choice for Mac OS X. But even if your hard disk, iPods, and external drives are all happily formatted with HFS+, you’ll have to exchange files with something other than a Mac one of these days.

Mac OS X files are complicated constructs. Chapter 2 introduced you to the metadata that can lurk on the HFS+ filesystem and also discussed how it’s stored on other types of filesystems using the Apple Double format . With much more than the usual contents of files to worry about, it’s very easy to drop bits of your files all over the place, especially on foreign filesystems. This chapter talks a bit more about these details, explains what you need to consider when you move files from HFS+ to other filesystems, and ends with a description of how files are laid out on a Mac.

Working with Foreign Filesystems

If you’re going to move files between your Mac and another operating system, there are some things you need to watch out for. As we discussed in Chapter 2, the Apple Double format will sprinkle some files with odd names across the filesystem, such as ._filename. You’ll also find a few files created in the root, such as Temporary Items and .Trashes ...

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