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Andrew Clark
Symbolic Linking Sound Effects Folder
on Jan 27, 2019 at 4:01:50 am

When creating a Symbolic Link for the "Final Cut Pro Sound Effects" folder to an external connected SSD, all shows up and works fine in FCPX but ...

… Software Update thinks that this folder no longer exists and wants to update FCPX stating “Final Cut Pro X Supplemental Content 1.0” … and wants me to install it.

Another thing is the size. When I do a “Get Info” on the folder (located on the external SSD of course), it shows two different sizes. One on the top of the info window stating 463.2MB and the other under the “General” section stating 945.8MB.

As I stated, all works fine in FCPX.

I did this twice (creating the Symbolic Link). Once using the Terminal app and once using SymbolicLinker App v2.1.1. End results for both were the same.

My question … is this normal or did I do something wrong?

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Joe Marler
Re: Symbolic Linking Sound Effects Folder
on Jan 27, 2019 at 5:42:21 pm

[Andrew Clark] "When creating a Symbolic Link for the "Final Cut Pro Sound Effects" folder to an external connected SSD, all shows up and works fine in FCPX but... Software Update thinks that this folder no longer exists and wants to update FCPX stating “Final Cut Pro X Supplemental Content 1.0” … and wants me to install it.[]

I don't know the answer but here is some speculation:

(1) While most file operations work identically against a symlink vs the linked source file/folder, not all do. E.g, if you delete a symlink it only deletes the link not the linked source file/folder. Maybe Software Update is trying to delete that before updating, or use some odd combination of relative and absolute paths which the symlink trips up.

(2) Since the above folder is a system item, they might be doing some attribute check. E.g, the Cocoa file manager framework has a method attributesOfItem(atPath:) which will return different values if executed against a symlink vs the source folder. To make that work against a symlink they'd have to add additional code, which was probably not envisioned. https://developer.apple.com/documentation/foundation/filemanager/1410452-at...

[Andrew Clark] "...Another thing is the size. When I do a “Get Info” on the folder (located on the external SSD of course), it shows two different sizes. One on the top of the info window stating 463.2MB and the other under the “General” section stating 945.8MB."

This is likely due to HFS+ file compression. I think starting with Snow Leopard that certain system files are automatically compressed to save space. This is transparent and invisible to normal Finder and terminal operations. However compression can cause top-line vs "general info" returned by Get Info to differ. E.g, if I do Get Info on /Library/Developer, that returns 958.5 MB vs 366.7 MB on disk.


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Andrew Clark
Re: Symbolic Linking Sound Effects Folder
on Jan 27, 2019 at 6:35:14 pm

Hi Joe. Thanks for your insight on this; much appreciate it!!!

[Joe Marler] "(1) While most file operations work identically against a symlink vs the linked source file/folder, not all do. E.g, if you delete a symlink it only deletes the link not the linked source file/folder. Maybe Software Update is trying to delete that before updating, or use some odd combination of relative and absolute paths which the symlink trips up. "

** I did delete the Symlink Folder. Emptied the Trash. Restarted. Ran Software Update and it stated my system was up to date.

[Joe Marler] "(2) Since the above folder is a system item, they might be doing some attribute check. E.g, the Cocoa file manager framework has a method attributesOfItem(atPath:) which will return different values if executed against a symlink vs the source folder. To make that work against a symlink they'd have to add additional code, which was probably not envisioned. https://developer.apple.com/documentation/foundation/filemanager/1410452-at....."

** Whoa. OK, this is going a wee bit farther than I want to go ... but thanks for that most informative link. Basically, all I wanted to do was to save space on my System (C:) Drive by offloading FCPX's Content, Templates, Audio, etc... but it seems more of a hassle than convenience to do this so that Software Update is happy.

I've seen YouTube videos of people doing this (Symlinking) for their Logic Pro X audio loops/content folders and they stated it worked for them.

But like I stated, it does work for me ... just that Software Update doesn't recognize it (the Symlink).

[Joe Marler] "This is likely due to HFS+ file compression. I think starting with Snow Leopard that certain system files are automatically compressed to save space. This is transparent and invisible to normal Finder and terminal operations. However compression can cause top-line vs "general info" returned by Get Info to differ. E.g, if I do Get Info on /Library/Developer, that returns 958.5 MB vs 366.7 MB on disk."

** So the OS compresses files that are on an external drive too? I am running the latest Mojave OS 10.14.3 and it uses the new APFS format. Maybe the OS along with APFS cannot communicate well an external drive that is in the exFAT format?!

Here's my setup:
Macbook Pro 15" Retina (2015)
macOS X Mojave 10.14.3
FCPX 10.4.5
C: SSD 512GB (APFS format)
D: SSD 2TB (exFAT format)

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Joe Marler
Re: Symbolic Linking Sound Effects Folder
on Jan 27, 2019 at 10:15:28 pm

[Andrew Clark] "** So the OS compresses files that are on an external drive too? I am running the latest Mojave OS 10.14.3 and it uses the new APFS format. Maybe the OS along with APFS cannot communicate well an external drive that is in the exFAT format?!"

I don't think you should have FCPX system files, FCPX media files or macOS system files on an external exFAT drive. You created a symlink which redirects something in /Library to an external exFAT drive. That might be the problem. In theory the symlink just resolves to a volume+path reference, but we don't know what kind of filesystem calls Software Update is making on the source file (what the symlink resolves to). You can be fairly certain they didn't thoroughly test filesystem operations in /Library on an exFAT volume, since that was intended to only exist on an APFS or HFS+ system volume.

If you back up, format the external SSD as APFS or HFS+, then restore your data to it, that might work better.


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Andrew Clark
Re: Symbolic Linking Sound Effects Folder
on Jan 31, 2019 at 3:10:03 am

[Joe Marler] "I don't think you should have FCPX system files, FCPX media files or macOS system files on an external exFAT drive. You created a symlink which redirects something in /Library to an external exFAT drive. That might be the problem. In theory the symlink just resolves to a volume+path reference, but we don't know what kind of filesystem calls Software Update is making on the source file (what the symlink resolves to). You can be fairly certain they didn't thoroughly test filesystem operations in /Library on an exFAT volume, since that was intended to only exist on an APFS or HFS+ system volume.

If you back up, format the external SSD as APFS or HFS+, then restore your data to it, that might work better."


** OK, well I tried that. Formatted another external SSD to APFS, connected via the USB 3.0 port, created a Symlink for the "Final Cut Pro Sound Effects" folder ... but Software Update still did not like it. Though I opened up FCPX and all the SFX were there and operational. Strange. And it's not even a ".localized" type of folder either.

I beginning to think this a Mojave limitation?!

I created the Symlink twice. Once via Terminal and the second time with the SymbolicLinker app. Both with the same result.

Oh well, it's not a life stopper by any means ... just bewildering.

Appreciate you chiming in with your suggestions Joe.

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Doug Metz
Re: Symbolic Linking Sound Effects Folder
on Feb 1, 2019 at 9:21:38 pm

Quick question - which instance of the folder are you symlinking... the one in the application bundle, or the one at /Library/Audio/Apple Loops/Apple/Final Cut Pro SFX?

Doug Metz

Anode


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Andrew Clark
Re: Symbolic Linking Sound Effects Folder
on Feb 3, 2019 at 8:31:11 pm

Quick question - which instance of the folder are you symlinking... the one in the application bundle, or the one at /Library/Audio/Apple Loops/Apple/Final Cut Pro SFX?

** The one you listed ... not the App Bundle (show package contents routine).

Though perusing in the App Bundle, there is a folder "PETemplates" (it is a ".localized" folder) that has 1.24GB of content that I would like to Symlink as well.

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