Apple vs. downloaded code: quarantined libraries

i do the majority of my work on OSX based machines – which means that i consistently run into a problem that looks like this:

osx file permissions

the context always throws me for a bit of a loop – usually, i’ve just downloaded some sort of library, or tool, file, and i can’t seem to be able to use it as i intend to. today, for example, i’d downloaded a javascript library and tried serving it via the osx version of apache, as part of an ongoing project – leading to strange looking 404 errors.

almost always (today is no exception), i find hints suggesting some sort of read permission related problem, and i eventually end up listing the file:

bash: ls -al some_file.ext

only to find that i do have read permissions, but the file has that pesky ‘@’ indicator (or, sometimes, a ‘+’ indicator) at the end.

so i’ve learned to associate the ‘@’ or ‘+’ symbol in a permission listing with ‘read permissions denied’, (despite knowing it’s actual meaning: the file has ‘extended permissions’, which is apple-speak for permissions which do not easily map to the unix-like permission system you’ll see at a bash shell)

at any rate, if you run into this kind of problem, there are two easy things you can do to get unstuck:

  1. use the finder to look at the file, and its access permissions – right click on the file, go to “Get Info”, and then expand the “Sharing and Permissions” tab. whatever problem you’re faced with, is almost always fixable from there.
  2. try finding the same info, only from the bash prompt – try running:
bash: xattr -d com.apple.FinderInfo

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