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Mac OS X for Java Geeks by Will Iverson

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Apple’s JVM Directory Layout

Even if you’re an experienced Java developer, it can be a bit difficult to understand exactly where and how the Apple JVM is installed and configured. Apple has carefully hidden some of its files and libraries to keep users from accidentally wiping out their data and to manage the complexity of upgrading the Mac OS X operating system.

Tip

Although its philosophy is unlike that of Windows, Mac OS X tries to maintain a high level of integration between the OS and the programs that run on it. Java is no exception, and the Apple JVM was created with integration and ease of upgrade in mind.

Begin your system tour by opening the Terminal application and going to your hard drive’s root directory (or folder). The quickest way to get there is to open a new Finder window and click Computer in the toolbar, and then double-click on the Hard Drive icon. This is the Mac OS X “root” location, which is what you would see from the terminal by typing cd / and then ls:

[Wills-Laptop:/] wiverson% ls
AppleShare PDS            SimpleClass.java          etc
Applications              System                    mach
Desktop DB                TheVolumeSettingsFolder   mach.sym
Desktop DF                Trash                     mach_kernel
Desktop Folder            Users                     private
Developer                 Volumes                   sbin
IE Install Log File       automount                 tmp
Library                   bin                       usr
Network                   cores                     var
Office X SR1 Updater Log  dev
[Wills-Laptop:/] wiverson%

Libraries

You’ll find a folder called Library immediately inside the root directory. This folder contains several default directories. When you install Mac OS X, these ...

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