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Running Mac OS X Tiger by James Duncan Davidson, Jason Deraleau

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Chapter 8. Files and Permissions

While most computer use revolves around files , files are particularly central to Unix-based systems. Commands are executable files. Devices and disks are identified as files. Even most interprocess and network communication occurs through what appear to be files. This Unix view of the world permeates the lowest levels of Mac OS X, even to the point that many system privileges and permissions are controlled, in part, through access to files. Access to files is organized around the concepts of ownership and permissions.

This chapter starts out by looking at how to find files, an area in which Tiger’s Finder and Spotlight bring tremendous improvements over previous versions of Mac OS X. You’ll also learn more about how to work with files: their permissions, metadata, attributes, and more!

Finding Files

When you are working on your Mac, most of the time it’s not a matter of having the correct permissions to access a file that gets in your way; it’s being able to find the file in the first place. With Mac OS X Tiger, Apple brings us Spotlight technology, a great new tool for helping you find the right file. Spotlight works by indexing the data contained not only within a file itself, but also the file’s metadata. Metadata is simply data about data. By tracking information like a document’s author, its modification time, and other forms of special file data, Spotlight allows you to search for files using much more than a filename.

For example, image files ...

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