Aliases not properly sync'd in Mac OS X

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I've been using bittorrent sync for a few months now and it is a lifesaver, but I recently discovered that when OS X aliases (similar to Windows shortcuts) are sync'd they are no longer recognized as aliases and do not work properly. For example, I have a folder sync'd between 2 Macs (both running OS X 10.8.4). When I create an alias to a .pptx file on Mac A, Mac B sees it as just a .pptx file (not an alias to a .pptx file) when it receives the sync. Therefore, when I try to open it, Powerpoint is launched and gives me an error that the file is bad, instead of the original file (that the alias should point to) being opened. This happens with all aliases I have, not just to .pptx files. I believe this is a bug in which some piece of information is stripped from the alias file when it is sync'd.

BTW I'm using version 1.0.134 of bittorrent sync.

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Another clue: on the Mac the alias was created on, if I ls -l in the terminal for that directory, it lists the alias files' attributes as "-rw-r--r--@", but on the Mac the alias is sync'd to, the attributed are "-rw-r--r--".

Looked into it a lot more and found that the "alias bit" gets turned off somehow on syncing. Using Path Finder (from cocoatech), the alias bit can be turned back on. The icon changes from a normal pptx to a blank icon, but the alias works again.

So, the bug is that somehow the alias bit gets turned off when an alias is sync'd. Please let me know if there's any other information I can provide to help fix this.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Alias did not work for me when created through the finder, but with the terminal. Use "ln -s path/to/source path/to/target" on the command line and everything runs smooth. Be careful though, the alias source should be present on all Macs, thus make sure it is either within the same syncshare, available network share or other sources accessible with all your macs.


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Thanks for the tip, Alex. Creating aliases is quick and easy, so I prefer them over symbolic links. But good to know the links work.

FYI, I had emailed support about the issue with Aliases as well and it's been put on the bug list to be fixed.



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  • 4 months later...
  • 2 months later...

In case anyone else is having this issue and is tired of waiting for a fix that may never come...  

Attached is an Automator workflow I put together.  It adds a service to the contextual menu that will toggle the alias bit on any file in the Finder. It works on multiple files at once. Just select what you want, right click, and choose "Toggle Alias Bit".  I made it a toggler rather than a setter so you can undo it if you accidentally turn a regular file into an alias.  


To install, unzip it, double click it, done (sort of).  If you don't have Xcode installed, the first time you try to use it there will be a short pause, then you'll be prompted to download and install Xcode developer tools. This will happen automatically, you just need to OK it.  The reason for the developer tools requirement is the use of the GetFileInfo and SetFile commands, which are part of that.

Toggle Alias

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  • 2 years later...

Yes, i finally got an answer from the help desk.  


You can change/edit the settings of the IgnoreList and remove the .DS_Store from the ignorelist so that it will be sync as well. You need to open .sync/IgnoreList and delete .DS_Store and ._* strings. Additionally, you need to also add "" string into .sync/SteamList file. Doing all this allowed me to properly synchronize aliases and maintain the alias bit.

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