all those folders you’ve never dared to look inside

  • Posted: 12 December 2008 11:06 AM #16


    mais vive la france

    there’s nothing you can do that can’t be done

    In fact, to return to the list

    Keyborard Layouts
    Prerence Panes
    Screen Savers

    Are all empty. So I must be asking the world’s most vacuous question? Imagine having dinner with me?
    Having said that, it could start to get interesting in a minute as I have just seen that PubSubs contains some sort of life….


  • Posted: 12 December 2008 07:14 PM #17

    May I ask which library you’re looking in?


    Karate ni sente nashi

  • Posted: 12 December 2008 08:42 PM #18

    To pre-empt your response…

    There is a library that makes resources available system-wide. This library is at the top level of your hard drive directory tree. Click on the hard drive icon in Finder and you will see a folder called Library. This is the one I’m talking about in this instance.

    If you instead click on the Users folder, you will find another library. Here’s the path:  /Users/xxx/Library (where xxx is the user’s account name).

    Application installers often ask the user if they would prefer an application/widget/plug-in to be available for all users or “only this user”

    (I don’t know whether it’s a mandatory requirement when building software installers and that few developers (including Apple) follow the requirement, whether it’s optional to ask the user the question, or whether it once seemed like a good idea that is now just an option a developer can throw in or whether it’s reserved for particular installs, such as Dashboard widgets.)

    If the user chooses “all users” then the software is installed in the top-level Applications folder and the support files in the top-level Library. If the user chooses “only this user” the software and support files are put into the user’s Applications folder (I’ve got three in mine) and the support files go into the user’s Library folder.

    If you want to see this for yourself, download a screensaver. In my experience, screensavers will always ask you about the user. Choose to install into a standard account, ie a user with non-admin privileges, and you will find that screensaver in /User/xxx/Library/Screensavers as opposed to “all users” where it will be found in /Library/Screensavers

    Hope that helps.

    [ Edited: 13 December 2008 04:18 AM by coaten ]


    Karate ni sente nashi

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    Posted: 12 December 2008 10:33 PM #19

    Damn. Foiled again.

  • Posted: 13 December 2008 04:19 AM #20

    You can find some free screensaver downloads here:


    Karate ni sente nashi

  • Posted: 14 December 2008 03:51 PM #21


    just got back from a wireless land to read yours.

    Very many thanks indeed for that. As helpful and as insightful as ever.

    Worthy of questions much more interesting than those I’ve been asking so far. But let’s see what I can come up with once I have had a look in that main system wide library you mentioned.

    meanwhile, baby crying, must dash….

  • Posted: 18 December 2008 10:06 AM #22


    to follow up Coaten’s lead and dive into the library folder for the entire system:

    and before Santa comes and takes me away in his whiskey sleigh, one thing I’ve always wanted to know is about Caches. (I am sure I have heard speak of this in relation to memory…) (in French it means ‘hidden’. So was it invented by the same guy who built the eiffel tower?)

    In mine they have funny extensions and names like

    and when I click on them to open them it turns out I have no application I can use to open them.

    So are they for the high flying specialists who write programmes?

    And how come there are only a few of them relating mainly it seems to images, video and sound?

    Funny, as I was writing this I looked a little further down into the folder Dictionaries. Did not realise there were any on my computer. Turns out there is a Japanese one called Shogakukan Daijisen.dictionary. But when I look in it I do not have a clue what icon I should clikc on to open the dictionary itself. The only extension I recognise is .ttf (I think). The rest are like .plist or .data or .strings.

    [ Edited: 18 December 2008 10:11 AM by martinp ]      
  • Posted: 20 December 2008 03:52 AM #23

    Dictionaries - yes, there are many of them if you installed your OS with all language packs enabled. The spell checker in text editing apps needs a reference. I love that you can tap alt-spacebar to invoke Spotlight, enter a word, and get a dictionary listing. Try it. You’ll also find that when you launch the Dictionary app you have ready access to a Thesaurus and Wikipedia, if you need such things to complete your research.

    As for the cache files, any cache in the Mac OS exists to hold files that have either been referenced recently or are commonly referenced. Safari, for instance, has a history cache, which is used to hold the contents of pages you have recently visited. It makes clicking back to the previous pages or recent pages quicker because Safari can load the pages from a local drive rather than having to reach across the web to the original location of the files. Any other cache will fulfill pretty much the same purpose.

    Many, possibly all, cache files can be opened using Textedit, which you have on your computer even though you may not be aware of it. If you do open these files all you will see is a long list of unintelligible strings of text, which form information that a given application that will draw on that cache knows what to do with. Don’t edit those files. It will cause problems.

    I think the derivative is highly relevant. These files are hidden from you because you don’t need to open them.  They are there at the behest and service of software applications.

    [ Edited: 20 December 2008 03:54 AM by coaten ]


    Karate ni sente nashi