workaround for HFS+'s case-insensitivity?

Steve Waltner swaltner at
Thu Nov 6 15:52:29 EST 2003

On Nov 4, 2003, at 4:08 AM, jw schultz wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 29, 2003 at 07:29:59AM +0000, Daniel M. Drucker wrote:
>> I am using Mike Rubel's snapshot-style rsync to do backups from my web
>> server (Linux) to my desktop (MacOS X). Mostly, this works great,
>> except where case sensitivity (or rather, HFS+'s semi-lack thereof)
>> causes problems.
>> Specifically, it seems impossible to successfully back up my Linux 
>> box's
>> /usr/share/terminfo, as it contains directories that differ ONLY in
>> case (e.g., /usr/share/terminfo/X and /usr/share/terminfo/x).
>> Short of repartitioning my hard drive and making a UFS partition, is
>> there any workaround anyone has come across?
> There can be no fix for this.  A filesystem that is case
> insensitive, even if case preserving, is inherently unable
> to support files whose names differ only in case.  Perhaps
> there is mount option for hfs+ to make it case sensitive.
> Otherwise you would be better off with a SUS compliant
> filesystem if you wish to use the hardlinked disk backups.

Panther (Mac OS X 10.3) has case-sensitive HFS+ filesystems. If you're 
running Panther Server, the GUI has the option to activate this 
feature. If you have the non-Server version, you can use the 
instructions in the web page listed to activate the feature. It sounds 
like you need to reformat the partition to activate this feature. 
Unlike Journaled HFS+, which could be (de)activated without even 
needing a filesystem unmount using the diskutil command, this appears 
to only be in the newfs_hfs command.

Steve - Now available for Microsoft Windows

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