Object Filesystems

2005-05-15 14:15:27 GMT

In the near past, a lot of things happened in the area that I call object filesystems. I consider a filesystem to be "objectified" if it treats its objects (i.e.: files) as entities that have a set of attributes. Of course this simple structural description has not much advantage alone.

The current solutions do the following:

1) Extract metadata from files.
2) Index the extracted metadata into some kind of database.

By indexing the metadata, one such system is able to search in a very fast manner using the indexes.

The biggest related event regarding object filesystems is the release of Mac OS X 10.4, Tiger which includes a search functionality, called Spotlight. A couple of nice reviews appeared on the net about it. I liked John Siracusa's review on Ars Technica the best. It's a fascinating read that describes the metadata aspects of the OS in depth. I especially enjoyed the parts "Spotlight analysis and potential" and "Filetypes revisited".

There are more reviews on Tiger at AndanTech, MacInTouch, OSNews, and kawiai's Blog, but compared to Ars Technica, they seemed to be rather short and unprofessional. Another good resource on Spotlight is Apple's dedicated page. It features a nice movie on the feature that you should also check out.

Another related event is that SkyFS is arrived to a usable point and getting stable soon. It's a filesystem, that improves upon OpenBFS, the open derivative of BeOS's BFS which is developed within the Haiku (formerly named OpenBeOS) project. You can watch a nice movie on SkyFS in action.

Regarding WinFS, the best article is probably Introducing Longhorn for Developers: Chapter 4: Storage on its structure.


Have you ever wanted to explore some new musics of your taste, but didn't know where to look for them? In this case you should give Audioscrobbler a try. It's basically a web service which makes statistics of your musical taste and relates to other fans of the music you like. This way you can easily discover new artists. Technically, it eats the data sent by your music player's plugin (if it has one). Amarok certainly has.