Insensitive file systems

cASe inSEnsITIvE file system - what an utterly stupid idea!

When I installed Leopard on my MacBook Pro it was a natural choice to make the file system case sensitive. Besides being a UNIX geek I had a legitimate reason for doing so:
you can't do

hg clone ssh://martin@hg.opensolaris.org/hg/audit/patches

as the OpenSolaris source code contains case insensitivity conflicts.

So what am I bitching about then? Yesterday I tried to install Adobe Photoshop CS3 on my wife's MacBook pro (which I also installed with case sensitivity) and got this very unintuitive dialog:


This software cannot be installed because the file system of the OS volume is not supported

After scratching my head for a while, I figured out that it is due to the case sensitivity! Adobe hasn't bothered to fix their code, and it is not like it is a new feature in Mac OS X either... they have had several years to fix it.

Unfortunately there is no solution to this, but to reformat the file system and make it case insensitive! To go from bad to worse I can't use TimeMachine to do it, as it too doesn't support backing up a case sensitive file system and restoring it to a case insensitive. It just has to alert me if there is a conflict - which there isn't in my case, I've checked!

Luckily Mac OS X comes with all the UNIX tools we love and cherish, so I'll just use cpio or gtar to back up all my data and then nuke the / partition (while keeping my zpool)

Update: as suggested by zdz and Dick Davies I tried creating a disk image with a case insensitive HFS, but that didn't work either for the Photoshop installer. The hint is in the error message "OS volume is not supported". Back to the original plan of backup/reinstall/restore...

Comments:

You can create empty file sized ate few gigabytes, create filesystem and loop-mount it. That's what my girlfriend did to overcome PS limitation.

Posted by zdz on March 03, 2008 at 06:18 PM PST #

Had the same thing trying to 'mv Rakefile rakefile'.
Technically, HFS is case-insensitive, but case preserving.

Everyone seems to hate HFS, but most users I know are forever getting case wrong, so I can see why they did it.

Easy fix is to make a DMG of a few Gb to hold your source tree.
Will give you the most flexibility without having to mess with your system disk.

Posted by Dick Davies on March 03, 2008 at 06:46 PM PST #

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