Fishin' for permissions

I write today from Chico, California, home of MacChUG, the local Macintosh users group, to which I spoke last night. During the evening we talked troubleshooting and, when the subject of repairing permissions came up, so too did the question of why widgets seem to unfailingly have a problem. This is a common enough misconception that I thought I’d deal with it here.

When you launch Disk Utility, select a volume, click the First Aid tab, and click either Verify Disk Permissions or Repair Disk Permissions you will see a long series of entries that begin “We are using special permissions for the file or directory X ,” where X is a widget.

If you’re a long-time OS X users who’s repaired permissions on a regular basis, you may believe that anything that First Aid reports to you should be dealt with. Not in this case.

With the advent off widgets, First Aid has become chattier, much like a barroom companion who drones on and on without ever getting to the point of his long-winded story. In this case, First Aid lists widget after widget, offering that each is using a special permission (33188). The problem is that it fails to sum up the report with a “Oh, and you needn’t worry a tinker’s damn about these special permissions. You can bang on that Repair Permissions button from her until doomsday and you’ll see this same list of entries every time.”

In short, feel free to ignore any entry that begins “We are using special permissions.”

By the way, if you’re looking for information on the ways and means of permissions, be sure to take a look at Brian Tanaka’s Take Control of Permissions in OS X, an excerpt from his same-named $10 Take Control guide.

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