For those developing on a Mac in an otherwise non-Mac environment (Windows or Linux desktops and/or servers), you’ve undoubtedly run into the dreaded ._DSstore files. These are resource files OS X creates for directories, and when connecting to a remote file system of another flavor, OS X will leave behind these files and cause you great torment from co-workers as you litter their machines and the servers with these files. ._DSstore files are hidden by default in OS X, which is why you won’t see them until and unless you access the given directory with another OS.
The simplest fix for this comes from Apple itself. In this support document, Apple describes a Terminal command designed to turn off writing ._DSstore files to attached network drives. The command looks like this:
defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores true
We use a virtual Windows Server as our dev environment, and I run Win XP under Parallels on my Mac in order to access some Windows-only software we still use. I found even with the above terminal command, I was still leaving ._DSstore droppings everywhere I went.
Fortunately I found Blue Harvest, a system-preference pane add-on for OS X 10.4 and 10.5. The software is $12.95 but it is free to try. In the words of the developer:
BlueHarvest allows you to keep your disks and servers free of Mac “trails” by:
- Automatically removing DS_Store files.
- Automatically removing resource forks (“dot underscore” files).
- Automatically removing hidden folders such as “.Trashes” from removable disks.
- Providing simple Control-Click Finder based cleaning of disks, folders and Zip archives.
BlueHarvest is fully customizable (via a System Preferences Panel) and is a Universal binary, supporting Intel and PowerPC based Macs. BlueHarvest 2 requires 10.4.x or 10.5 and later.
So far I could not be happier with Blue Harvest. Apple appears serious about making inroads into the enterprise office environment with Snow Leopard’s upcoming native Exchange support. Though I don’t wish anything bad for the developer of Blue Harvest, one cannot escape the conclusion that such functionality should also be native if Apple really expects wide-spread adoption of Macs into Windows networks in workplaces around the world.