HFS+ Bit Rot

HFS+, the filesystem of Mac OS X, is more than 15 years old, based on HFS, which is nearly 27 years old. It’s unsuitable for modern computers. Problems including insufficient timer precision, lack of simultaneous file access, lack of sparse file support, a shaky hidden file methodology, and a lack of case-sensitivity which can cause issues with some cross-platform apps (more detalis on these). As other systems extend the lead with ZFS and btrfs, Apple is firmly stagnant leading to an endless litany of issues.

When I did have my Macbook, I was also struck with random Time Machine complete failures, with the entire backup being deemed corrupt like clockwork every month or two, and of course, constantly having to run ‘Fix Permissions’ in OS X. A change is long overdue, but it’s clear Apple sees OS X and iOS eventually merging into one.

“Most of the corrupted files are completely unreadable. The JPEGs typically decode partially, up to the point of failure. So if you’re lucky, you may get most of the image except the bottom part. The raw .CR2 files usually turn out to be totally unreadable: either completely black or having a large color overlay on significant portions of the photo. Most of these shots are not so important, but a handful of them are. One of the CR2 files in particular, is a very good picture of my son when he was a baby. I printed and framed that photo, so I am glad that I did not lose the original.”

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