Leopard homeSync changes

HomeSyncI haven’t seen this discussed or documented anywhere, so I thought I’d better write this down so I don’t forget:

It appears that Apple has made an interesting change to the homeSync behavior in Leopard. Top-level directories in the home dir that begin with a dot (like “.netscape”) are synced at login and logout, but not in the background. More accurately, they are treated like ~/Library.

This actually makes sense, since top-level dot directories are a common place UNIX tools and Linux applications store a user’s application preferences. So in spirit they are a lot like ~/Library/Preferences, and therefore should probably be synced only at login and logout.

You can test this for yourself – on a Leopard machine with a mobile account:

mkdir ~/.test

In the HomeSync menu, choose “Sync Now”.


cd /your/network/home/dir
ls -ald .t*

You won’t see the .test directory in your network home (unless it was already there before you started the test!).
Now logout. The logout sync should run. If you can check your network home from another machine, or by logging into a local account, do so. You’ll see that /your/network/home/.test now exists.

If you can’t check your network home from another machine or account, just log back in to the mobile account and check the network home.

I’m puzzled why Apple hasn’t documented this change, as it makes a big difference when adding items to the exclusion lists for HomeSync – in Leopard, if you don’t want the ~/.crossover directory to sync, you’ll need to add it to the Login/Logout sync exclusion list. In Tiger, you’d add it to the Background sync exclusion list. If you’re supporting both OSes, you’ll either need to manage Leopard and Tiger machines separately, or just add the exclusions to both lists…

Leopard homeSync changes

6 thoughts on “Leopard homeSync changes

  1. This is a huge change… and it is actually for the better generally speaking, but it really should have been documented.

    Given this change, it’s a bit curious that Workgroup Manager still has the skip rules in Background Sync still refer to several .* directories.

    1. Anonymous Coward says:

      They probably will have a roadmap. Given their track record for documentation, however, it will also probably be undocumented.

  2. […] Leopard homeSync changes « Managing OS X: “Apple has made an interesting change to the homeSync behavior in Leopard. Top-level directories in the home dir that begin with a dot (like ‘.netscape’) are synced at login and logout, but not in the background. More accurately, they are treated like ~/Library.” […]

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