Pulling My Hair Out!

Posted by Garth on Thursday, December 10, 2009

Please, all MacHeads reading this... HELP!  I can not believe that there is no way to merge two directories through the GUI in OS X.  Yet every forum thread I read tells me to use mv or cp or ditto or opendiff or some other cryptic Terminal command instead of just dragging and dropping the contents of one folder into another (which, as we all know, obliterates the target directory, overwriting it with the source).  This is utterly retarded, and I'm really starting to hate it.

Oh ya, and I also really hate that I can't right-click a file (or directory) and choose "Copy" "Cut".  Or Cmd-C Cmd-V.  Or via the Edit menu.  Why???  Why can't I copy cut a folder, THEN navigate to where I want to go, then PASTE?!  So fucking frustrating.

Don't get me wrong... the Mac has a lot of redeeming features... but these two simple file system UI oversights are driving me bonkers.  I just don't know what to do... for every other issue I've had a forum or blog solution has appeared within minutes of searching... but the only solution I seem to have for these is to go command-line or buy some sort of product - for functionality that SHOULD BE NATIVE!


And please, if there's something ridiculously stupid that I'm overlooking or don't know about, feel free to make fun of me - as long as you also provide the appropriate solution.  I don't mind being mocked, as long as it's a learning process.


Gregg said...

Best option i can provide you is insert a Windows 7 DVD and choose should detect that awful Mac virus and get rid of ti for you :)

But seriously.....would running Parallels let you do Win-style file management? Not sure how ll that works.

Rob Drimmie said...

AFAIK there is no merge functionality in Finder. It's just a concept that does not exist, so you need to use the FreeBSD functions.

Generally speaking, even people who have been MacHeads since the first one acknowledge that Finder is a right piece of shit but I have had actual conversations with mac people (this was a while ago) who just couldn't understand why I would want to merge directories. If Sapir-Whorf weren't generally bullshit I'd claim that Apple just never had a word for it.

As long as there aren't any subdirectory collisions, I usually just go into the directory and highlight all the contents and paste them into the destination directory but that is no solution.

Surprisingly, after being Mac user for several years, it turns out that somehow this isn't an operation I do frequently any more. Probably not because of any workaround or alternates, but because of conditioning.

There are Finder replacements out there, but I've never used them.

Parallels is just a VM, they work in entirely different partitions and I don't think you can mount whatever filesystem macs use (I can never remember) from Windows without the use of third-party utilities.

Rob Drimmie said...

Oh, and I just read your second complaint. You should definitely be able to copy and paste files in the ways you describe; I do it frequently as I tend not to enjoy having multiple Finder (or Explorer in Win) windows.

Are you trying to do it from file open or file save dialogs? They might not allow that, and if that is the case then it is indeed stupid.

Rob Drimmie said...

I have asked some nerdier friends. This might be helpful:

I have no first-hand knowledge of it.

Rob Drimmie said...

I wasn't going to point out how entertaining it is to me that someone who calls himself Dosboy can't be bothered to use the command line, but then I decided I couldn't resist.

I've found that I almost always have Terminal open, frequently several tabs. Some things are just better from the command line.

Now I will stop monopolizing your comments.

Garth said...

@Gregg -
Give it up dude. I've already got Win7 running in Bootcamp and VMWare... but it's not practical to boot up a VM every time I want to move a directory tree... not to mention read/write issues between the various OSes and file systems. Also, show me how to do iPhone dev (targeting a non-jailbroken device) on Windows and I might listen to you... until then, there's only 1 option.

@Rob -
1. Well, the reason I generally need to do this whole copy/merge/overwrite existing operation is cuz a Joomla extension I use has an SVN that they basically tell you to grab the structure of and overwrite your Joomla install. Now, it obviously only includes its own files, but they're scattered throughout Joomla directories. Using the Finder would obliterate my Joomla install every time I updated from the SVN... not very practical. But also not something I can readily eliminate from my routine.

2. Apparently I can Cmd-C to copy a file and Cmd-V to paste it somewhere, but I can't Cmd-X to cut it... which I tend to do a lot (or did under Windows at least, and would like to add to my repertoire again).

3. I'll check out that mergefolders app... saw it listed in a thread a friend sent me as well, but it seems like such a hack to load up an app just to do something that my native file manager should handle. Having said that my current workaround is to ftp to localhost and copy the files that way... talk about a hack :)

4. Ya, I should use the command line more. The problem is that when I want to perform a task (see #1) I don't want to get sidetracked and have to learn some cryptic 'nix commands, possibly risking directory obliteration anyway. Not to mention my less-than-short-and-easy paths (in example #1 my target path is /Applications/MAMP/htdocs/whatever-web-site-i'm-working-on), using the Terminal for file management is really just a PITA. I do however use it for other things... just not file management.

Garth said...

Oh, and I just looked up what Sapir-Whorf is (thought maybe it was Klingon ;) ...

"The linguistic relativity principle (also known as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis) is the idea that the varying cultural concepts and categories inherent in different languages affect the cognitive classification of the experienced world in such a way that speakers of different languages think and behave differently because of it."

I would tend to believe that it's not bullshit, having lived in Thailand for the last 1.5 years. Just take the word "farang" which means "foreigner" technically. But being a farang in Thailand is very different than being a foreigner in, say Canada. In fact, it's unlikely that we'd even refer to a foreigner as such in Canada, but then maybe that's more culture than language, and mutually exclusive. Though I do believe that the structure of the Thai language and its inability to express things like "i was going to go to the store" likely affects cognitive development.

My $0.02... and I don't really know if I understand this whole Sapir-Whorf thing, given that I really only skimmed a couple of paragraphs of Wikipedia's lengthy definition. But still... $0.02.

Rob Drimmie said...

"I would tend to believe that it's not bullshit,"

Fair enough, but the linguists I know disagree. I very much like the idea too but I only know of it from discussions I have been near where people much smarter than I have talked about all the ways in which it is wrong.

Labelling concepts is a very useful way to encapsulate them, but the fact that you can comprehend the meaning of say farang without having been exposed to it through the course of your primary cognitive development in and of itself is moderate proof of the theory's falseness.

Rob Drimmie said...

On topic, I agree that it's completely broken functionality. It is dumb! But if you're not willing to pay (or acquire through other means) for a Finder replacement such as Path Finder , you're SOL. Remember, Steve Jobs hates Canadians, even if you're not in Canada.

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