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reasons to switch

Posted under Other Technology at .
Tags:software, Apple

One more reason to switch to a normal BSD or Linux. OSX (10.5, and I don’t know if fixed in 10.{6,}) makes hard links difficult to use.

Situation: I have one stylesheet file to be used in multiple ePUB files. I develop ePUBs with a web browser (in current practice, Safari). Hmmm . . . Safari doesn’t read MacOS aliases. Actually I remember that coming up with web browsers before. It does read symlinks or hard links, good. But the Finder’s contextual menu compress command doesn’t include symlinked files. Oh well, use hard linking. Errr . . . 

It turns out that OSX GUI applications, including BBEdit, write new inodes at every save. (I probably knew that years ago but never had a reason to consider this implication.) This means the filesystem link to a given inode is replaced at every save — if you make a hard link to a file and then edit the file, the new save (under whichever link you go into it) will be a new inode, while the other links retain the original inode. You just lost the automatic update of the file which you intended to achieve by hard linking in the first place. Essentially, hard links and the Aqua interface don’t mix.

The effective solution in this case isn’t especially difficult: zip -r <output_file>.epub <input_file> -x \*.DS_Store . . . and this could be stored in the contextual menu or accessed in a variety of ways; or maybe some of the X11 editors avoid this problem, don’t know. But BBEdit is probably the biggest thing still keeping me using OSX as my main client OS . . . switch++?


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