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Activity Forums Apple OS X Terminal Front-End for Simple Copy/Cut/Paste Operations?

  • Terminal Front-End for Simple Copy/Cut/Paste Operations?

     Loring Weinkauf updated 12 years, 3 months ago 4 Members · 8 Posts
  • Mark Walczak

    December 8, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Hi Everyone,

    I was wondering if anyone could suggest any dead-simple programs for copying, cutting, and pasting documents within OSX. I’ve found Bridge to sometimes work better than Finder for these operations, but both programs insist on taking time to draw thumbnails, etc.

    I often find myself needing to move hundreds, sometimes thousands of TIFF sequence files, and cannot stand the bottleneck imposed by the aforementioned programs. I have moved files in Terminal before, but find this to be a somewhat clumsy and risky way to work.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreicated.

    Thank you!

  • Chris Gordon

    December 9, 2010 at 3:23 am

    Can you clarify exactly what your issue is? Is it just the speed at which files are actually copied? Are these copies to different locations on the same machine or across a network?

    You could look at some of the Finder alternatives (like Path Finder), but I’m not sure if any of them will fundamentally be any better than Finder or Bridge — I’ve not used any of them.

    I’m fundamentally a UNIX geek, so I do many/most things from the command line. What exactly do you mean that doing things from the command line are “clumsy” or “risky”? I’m not trying to be combative, but just trying to better understand the problem so I can try to help with a solution.

  • Mark Walczak

    December 9, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Hi Chris; thanks for the reply!

    Copying speed is definitely an issue, but even listing all of the files in a particular directory can be difficult at times. For instance, if Cinema 4D renders all of its frames (because it can’t render different passes to different folders) to a single directory, it can have, say, 1000 frames in it. Since Finder insists on drawing thumbnails for everything, it takes a while to chug through and show all of the files in a given folder.

    I’ll definitely take a look at Path Finder, as it seems to be an interesting option, but my main concern is speed.

    I realize that people who know command line might see it being extremely elementary for me to be whining about copying files in Terminal, but I work in a primarily creative environment in which such tools bring with them certain risks and very slow adoption. It’s just not how we typically work.

    Thanks, again, for recommending Path Finder: I’ll take a look!

  • Chris Gordon

    December 10, 2010 at 2:33 am

    Thanks, I better understand the issues, so hopefully I can provide some help.

    First, in Finder, you can turn off the preview/thumbnail generation. In Finder, go to View -> Show View Options. There is a button in there to disable the icon preview. Now why this isn’t in Finder preferences, I don’t know….

    Your next challenge is just the pure number of files in the directory. When you view the directory in Finder, some other tool or even do an “ls” at the CLI, the OS has to crawl the file system and stat every file in there. The more files, the longer it can take. 1000 shouldn’t be a significant issue but noticeable, 10,000 I would expect some slowness. Depending on your exact work flow adjusting the number of directories and number of files per directory may help.

    Similar to the number of files in a directory, the entire file system (volume) does have limits to the number of files you can place in it. There are the absolute limits (HFS+ is something around 4 billion) but the practical limit is smaller and where you would start to see performance issues doing things such as you are. I don’t know what the limits for HFS+ are, but the solution to this type of problem would be to partition your disk into smaller volumes and break up the files across those so that you end up with fewer files per volume. I doubt this is your problem, but figured I’d throw it out for general education.

    If turning off the preview doesn’t solve the problem and you want something GUI, you could look into writing something in Apple Script as a GUI front end to a cp or mv CLI command. For instance something that let you just choose a source and destination directory, but never lists the actual files in those dirs. Then just call the cp or mv.

    Hope this helps some. If it doesn’t, let me know any more details or issues so I can see if i can come up with something else.

  • Thie Thomsen

    December 10, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Also, learning all of the keyboard shortcuts of the Finder will really speed stuff up. The only thing the Finder does not do is ‘Cut->Paste’ files, but if you are on a roll, switching back after a successfull copy/paste and hitting the backspace really won’t slow you down.

    Bridge is fun, but for files only, I still like Finder better.

    I can see your spot colours…

  • Mark Walczak

    December 10, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Chris and Thie:

    Thank you both so much for your help. I have disabled thumbnail previews, and hope to see how it improves things over the next couple of days. I have a feeling that it will help tremendously.

    Scripting is not one of my strengths, as I only know enough JavaScript to get me by in After Effects, but I am definitely open to learning something new, especially if will help my workflow.

    Just out of curiosity, Thie, what do you mean by Bridge being “for files only”?

    Thanks again!

  • Thie Thomsen

    December 12, 2010 at 8:37 am

    I’ve reread that sentence, and in retrospect i could have been a little clearer :).

    What i meant was: I like Bridge, but for pure file operations i think the finder is much more streamlined.

    I can see your spot colours…

  • Loring Weinkauf

    December 14, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    I like muCommander for some things. Multi-platform, dual-pane viewing, built in support for FTP, HTTP, SFTP, NFS, SMB, etc….

    Plus, it’s free:

    Loring Weinkauf
    Systems Administrator / Media Manager
    90 Degrees West
    St. Louis, MO

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