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Create sets of desktop images without duplication UNIX
I like the way Mac OS X lets you choose any album from iPhoto to use as a set of desktop background images. In particular, using iPhoto albums to create sets of images saves disk space because the same image can be displayed in multiple sets ("albums") even though it's only physically stored on disk just once. I had a number of images that I didn't want to store in iPhoto, but that I did want to use as desktop backgrounds in some sets and that I didn't want to duplicate.

The solution turned out to be to simple but a little tricky. Using the Desktop & Screen Saver System Preferences panel, you can select any arbitrary folder to use for desktop backgrounds. If you fill this folder with Unix symbolic links that all have an absolute POSIX path specified for the link, Desktop & Screen Saver finds and follows each image. However, only symbolic links with an absolute path (or hard links, of course) work. Notably, Mac OS X "aliases" do not work.

So, by way of example, if I have five pictures, 1.jpg through 5.jpg, that I want to display in two sets of background images, set A and set B, I can simply do this in Terminal: Those commands will have define Set A as containing 1.jpg, 2.jpg, 3.jpg, and 5.jpg, but not 4.jpg. Set B will also contain 1.jpg, 2.jpg, and 5.jpg, but will also contain 4.jpg and not 3.jpg. Just like an album, because we're using Unix links, the re-used images (1, 2, and 5) are only physically stored on disk once, even though they're in both sets of desktop backgrounds.
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Create sets of desktop images without duplication
Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 31, '08 08:28:13AM

I've been using aliases without any problem. At least I assume they're aliases when I drag my pictures holding option and command keys.



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Create sets of desktop images without duplication
Authored by: Dr. T on Mar 31, '08 10:22:41AM

For static desktop pictures, aliases work fine. For desktop pictures that change at timed intervals, you need a folder containing actual images or unix hard links.



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Create sets of desktop images without duplication
Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 31, '08 11:35:01AM

Just tested. My desktop pictures folder containing aliases seems to change every 5 seconds.

Am I missing something?



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Create sets of desktop images without duplication
Authored by: boxcarl on Mar 31, '08 06:58:23PM

Don't be a chintzer. How many megs are these photos? 5 tops? Just friggin' copy them. Waste 100 megs, save an hour of your life.



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Create sets of desktop images without duplication
Authored by: msadesign on Apr 01, '08 06:51:53AM
Get a little app called ChangeDesktop and all of your problems go away. It's a lovely and powerful thing.

http://www.bergstrand.org/brian/software/changedesktop/


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