Category Archives: sysadmin

Showing hidden files in Finder in Apple OS X 10.9

One of the minor annoyances with Apple OS X is that there is no convenient way to display hidden files in Finder. As I recently noticed, after an upgrade to OS X Mavericks (10.9), there was a slight change in the command. What used to work in 10.5 to 10.8 no longer has any effect in 10.9. You don’t even get an error message.

The correct command to show hidden files in the Finder in 10.9 is the following:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -boolean true
killall Finder

To undo those changes, just invert the value of the parameter ‘boolean’:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -boolean false
killall Finder

This is mainly a note for myself, which I wrote up because one of the first hits in Google on that issue leads to an SEO-optimised blog post that falsely claims that the same method works from 10.5 to 10.10.

A Quick Fix to properly set up Virtualbox

The HDD in my Macbook recently died, so I put in an SSD. Consequently, I had to reinstall OS X, but an update was overdue anyway. Because I strongly prefer using Linux for serious work, I installed Xubuntu 14.04 on Virtualbox. The installation was a breeze. I like that Virtualbox now prompts you for an ISO image. The default settings are good enough, so the installation is highly streamlined.

There was just one issue I had to fix. By default, the Xubuntu desktop, as rendered by Virtualbox, is displayed in 640×480, and does not automatically adjust itself if you enlarge the window it runs in. The quickest way to fix this is to execute the following command in the console:

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-guest-dkms 

This also installs all required dependencies. After restarting Virtualbox, the desktop of the guest OS will nicely be resized to any change of the window size in the host OS.

On a side note, it seems that the performance of the latest version of Virtualbox under OS X 10.9 is a bit faster than it was under OSX 10.6.