MacFuse has changed my life

Spotlight, and metadata search in general (cf. WinFS, the iTunes library, iTunes for PDFs, the iPhoto library; even bibdesk) is still supposed to (read: hasn’t yet but just around the corner!) change the way we store, organize, and interact with our data. And certainly there is a place for metadata search. But files still have to be stored on disks, and regardless of how complicated you make your symlink structure, distinct servers remain distinct. File systems are not going away. They remain “familiar” according to MacFuse developer Amit Singh. His port of FUSE (Filesystems in USEr space) takes the familiarity of a folders-and-files to its extreme.

It has a sheerly practical side too though. It's really nice to mount ssh volumes of remote servers as if they are local. And, for people who have to deal with Windows hardware like external drives, it offers what Tiger left out, NTFS-3g read/write support. Here is Singh’s tech demo video, showing some other cool stuff, like a Picasa file system. (There is one for flickr as well.) The "albums and photos" is a direct analog of "folders and files" and there’s no reason we shouldn't be able to access it like any other volume. I have not yet tested the iPod file system – all filesystems are just plugins for the underlying kernel plugin – but it should be the easiest way to copy stuff from an iPod. Right now I'm mainly using it to work on various remote servers. As nice as cyberduck is, sshfs is the way things should be – and now, at last, are.

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