Moving system files out to the Macintosh HFS

Beginning with MachTen 4.1, we moved all of MachTen's files into a special Macintosh files that contains a Unix Fast File System (FFS). This was done because of performance concerns with the Macintosh file system (HFS). The advantage of this is dramatically improved performance. The only downside is that Unix files contained inside the FFS cannot be viewed with the Macintosh finder.

It is possible to move system files outside of the FFS into the HFS without affecting the operation of MachTen. The performance decrease depends on the system and ranges from significant to negligible. Please note that the Macintosh files system supports file names of up to 32 characters. Unix supports file names of up to 255 characters. If you have long file names in your home directory, please shorten the names of these files before attempting to copy them. They will simply not be copied if you fail to change their names.

The following description describes a proceedure for bringing the "/etc" and "/home" directores out to the Macintosh HFS. Note that the "/hfs" folder is contained within the MachTen folder, and that the "root filesystem" refers to the "/" directory. The procedure is described as follows:

  1. Change to the root directory (type: "cd /")
  2. Back up your "/etc" and "/home" directories with tar.

    % tar cvzf /hfs/etc-home-backup.tar.gz etc home

    This command will place a file called "etc-home-backup.tar.gz" in the "/hfs" folder.

  3. Create folders to house the etc and home directories in the Macintosh HFS. Create these folders as follows:

    % mkdir /hfs/etc-ffs
    % mkdir /hfs/home-ffs
  4. Copy the directories from the FFS to the HFS
    % cp -r /etc/* /hfs/etc-ffs
    % cp -r /home/* /hfs/home-ffs
  5. View the contents of these directores with the Macintosh finder and verify that all of the contents are present.
  6. Remove the etc and home directories with the following commands:
    % rm -rf /etc /home
  7. Create symbolic links to the new etc and home directories in the HFS
    % ln -s /hfs/etc-ffs /etc
    % ln -s /hfs/home-ffs /home
  8. That should be it! Restart MachTen to make sure that everything works the way it did before this procedure.

Please not that this is not a recommended or supported way to run MachTen. If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail Tenon Technical Support, and we will try to assist you in the best way that we can. Please understand that if you follow these instructions incorrectly, you can end up with MachTen system that will not start up. Please backup your MachTen folder before attempting this!