Tiny Code

Tiny Code

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Less than perfect

In case anyone thinks I'm one of the Apple fanboys oblivious to their shortcomings, I'll disclose my top pet peeve about Macs. Their default HFS file system is case insensitive. This can cause problems for software engineers like me as some engineers use the file extension .C for C++ source code (I prefer .cpp myself) and .c for C source code. It's not out of the question to want to have source files with identical base names and with file extensions which would be identical aside from their case within the same directory. In a development environment with both Linux and Mac systems available, this can cause Macs to fail to be able to check out source directories with these potentially duplicate filenames.

With the last few versions of OS X version 10.5, there has been an option to format disks with a case sensitive version of HFS. This should not be undertaken lightly. I've read accounts that this can cause problems for older programs (backup programs seem particularly vulnerable for some reason).

I've taken the approach that the devil you know is preferable to the devil you don't. I know how to avoid difficulties on a case sensitive file system. I'm not sure I can find workarounds for some of my older software were I to make the switch to case sensitive HFS.

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