File locations


I keep reading in various reviews of OS X that the OS "forces" you to keep all your files in your "Documents" folder and all your applications in the "Applications" folder. This is simply untrue. The only actual restrictions I've seen so far (looking at the problem from the perspective of the GUI, and ignoring all the BSD directories underneath) is you can't put anything in the "System" folder (and who'd want to, anyway?), or other users' folders. My home directory has about fifteen subdirectories in it, including an "Applications" directory where I put apps I don't want accessible to other users.

If you think of your Home directory as being roughly analogous to the root level of your hard disk under OS 9 and earlier, you find that you actually have quite a bit of freedom in where you put things. You can still have the same haphazard arrangements of files and folders and applications on your desktop as you used to have, if that's your style. If you want to run your copy of OmniWeb from your desktop, you totally can. That fact that OmniWeb is actually in /Users/<<username>>/Library/Desktop/ (or whatever that directory really maps to in the BSD subsystem; I can't remember exactly now), is really of only academic interest to the end user.

Considering that OS X is riding on top of a Unix directory structure, with its historically rigid directory structure, I think Apple's done an admirable job of keeping the kinds of freedom Mac users are used to in terms of file locations. And in at least one area, they've gone far beyond what was possible in earlier versions of the OS. With bundles, application installations become a matter of dragging from the installer CD onto your hard disk, and uninstalling them becomes a matter of dragging them to the trash (assuming you've got administrative privileges).

Try uninstalling Office under OS 9 by dragging it to the trash...

Yay! No extensions!