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iPhoto 11: Avoid possible data loss
Authored by: babbage on Oct 28, '10 09:02:08AM

Wait, is that right? You're basically just running this command in an obtuse way:

chmod -RN 777 ~/Pictures/iPhoto\ Library

Which is to say, give full read/write/execute permissions (that's what the "7" means) to the owner, group, and everyone else, for every file under your "iPhoto Library" folder. This is done recursively ("R") on all files under that folder, and it also strips out all ACL info ("N").

Except two or three big problems jump out at me here:

• Photos & associated metadata files are not software programs, so it seems wrong to grant these files execute permissions, which is the bit that tells the system that it is valid to try to run these files as software programs. That seems wrong to me. Possibly harmless, but I can't see why it would be useful, and I can see scenarios where it would end up being a bad idea.

• You want to give full read/write (and execute) permission to everyone? Surely it should be sufficient to just set this for the owner, and maaaaybe the group, but not everyone else, right? This may be splitting hairs, as the vast majority of Mac users have a single user account on the computer anyway, but if you have multiple users and, hypothetically, you do not 100% trust each other, then you're making it possible for any other user on the computer to access, modify, and delete anything in your iPhoto library. You may regret that level of trust later.

• Stripping out the ACLs may or may not be overkill. In at least some cases, Apple uses custom ACLs to enforce "magic" behavior for certain files & folders, and it may be the case that deleting this information could have adverse effects with the iPhoto library. Or it might not, I haven't tried monkeying with it to find out, but there is that risk.

I suspect the safer permissions setting would be "664" permissions, or even "664", where the "6" means that the user (and maybe the group) has read/write access, the "4" means that others (and maybe the group) just has read-only access, and nobody has execute access.

So, with that Unix arcana out of the way, back to the original proposal: is it *really* necessary to give wide-open permissions on *everything* in your iPhoto library to make the conversion to '11 work properly, or is it sufficient for the user to have full access?

If you truly need wide-open permissions, that would seem to be an enormous bug on Apple's part, and while it wouldn't be the first time such a bug has made it into the wild (cf. the bug in the early iTunes updater that wiped out whole hard drives for some people), it would be the first one of this nature in several years.

Personally, I think this "fix" is overcorrecting the original problem, and introducing new problems. It really ought to be enough to just open up the permissions to the file owner, not everyone else.



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iPhoto 11: Avoid possible data loss
Authored by: crarko on Oct 28, '10 09:19:01AM

That's most likely true. I wonder if we can find a test case.

For what it's worth, my iPhoto library is set to global read/write, and I don't recall changing it. Whereas my Music library is read only to all but me, as owner.

It seems as if iPhoto has/needs some screwy permissions.

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