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Replace the Finder with any application! System
OS X's Finder is just an application, right? So, I conducted an experiment.

GOAL: Replace OS X's Finder with the Terminal App.
RESULT: It works!

Read the rest of this article if you'd like to see how it works, and the implications - could someone write a replacement Finder??

Editor's caution: Although I believe the following does exactly what's been described, I have not tested this on my machine (and I don't think I will ;-). Experiment at your own risk

Here's what to do to replace your Finder with the terminal (or any other app):
  1. Log out
  2. Log in as root
  3. Create a back-up copy of the Application "Finder" in your /System/Library/CoreServices/ directory. I created mine in the Utilities folder. Make sure this is the application 'Finder', which is 6.9 MB, and not the Classic Application.
  4. Create a copy of the Terminal Application on your desktop.
  5. Rename it Finder.
  6. Drop the renamed app into /System/Library/CoreServices/.
  7. Log out
  8. Log back in normally.
Terminal should now start instead of the Finder.

Best of all, it stays launched. Try quiting it. The loginwindow process will relaunch, and treats it as the Finder. Since OS X does not rely on the Finder (read: It's not hard-coded), any application can act as your Finder, and be treated by the System as such.

THIS MEANS:
A third-party developer can write a COCOA finder, that works, and we can all use that.

So, there you go.

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Replace the Finder with any application! | 5 comments | Create New Account
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Yeah, This is nice
Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 28, '01 10:44:17PM

THIS MEANS:
A third-party developer can write a COCOA finder, that works, and we can all use that.

So, there you go.



Ha ha, that's the easy part ;)

No seriously, I am learning cocoa development for the sole purpose of writing a finder replacement... It will probably just take me a few years.

-kevin

[ Reply to This | # ]
what about the dock? :)
Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 29, '01 11:32:34AM

could we use another app for the dock in the same manner? just wondering...



[ Reply to This | # ]
what about the dock? :)
Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 29, '01 02:42:36PM

Yeah, it's totally possible. I just replaced my dock with dragthing, worked fine. the window manager even restarts it when you try to quit it, just like it does with the dock.

it's simple enough to do through the terminal, as root. Make a backup of your dock.app somewhere, like the desktop or whatever, then delete /system/library/coreservices/Dock.app and replace it with a copy of drag thing, or whatever other app you like, just name it Dock.app too and put it in coreservices.

It's fun, but I'm going to switch it back now, I actually like the dock.

-kevin



[ Reply to This | # ]
Better, more
Authored by: bombich on Mar 30, '01 12:10:56AM

Hey guys, I found this little morsel in Apple's OS X developer documentation <http://www.devworld.apple.com/techpubs/macosx/SystemOverview/SystemOverview/BootingLogin/Customization_Techniques.html#CJBBAIAB>, but it didn't work for me:

from the terminal, su to root and type: defaults write loginwindow Finder <path to new .app folder>

This command supposedly substitutes the new app for Finder, and should be a heck of a lot easier that other methods, not to mention one line of code can switch it back, too. If anyone gets this to work, please post.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Better still!
Authored by: Xeri on Apr 16, '01 10:11:27PM

As suggested by the comment before, try:

defaults write com.apple.loginwindow Finder <app path>

It appears that this can be set on a per-user basis (in quick testing.) Finally a system where things are configurable! :) This opens a whole host of possibilities for custom user shells and interfaces.



[ Reply to This | # ]