5 Replies Latest reply: Aug 4, 2013 10:49 PM by Divebus
Ronald C.F. Antony Level 2 Level 2 (435 points)


- Computer 1 (which experiences the problem): iMac, OS X 10.8.4, Aperture 3.4.5, ZEVO ZFS driver

- Computer 2 (which does not experience the problem): MacBook Air, used to have OS X 10.8.4 installed, Aperture 3.4.5, ZEVO ZFS driver

- Aperture Library on an external, locally mounted drive that is attached to whatever computer I work on with Aperture at the time, the drive is formatted with the  ZFS file system using a third party ZFS driver (ZEVO by GreenBytes, Inc.)



my Aperture library is on an external drive formated with the ZFS file system. Recently, what happened, if I attach that drive to my iMac, and import photos, there are no previews built for them, all I see is the thumbnails being blown up to full size, and the pictures are thus extremely blocky. However, previews generated on another computer, or before, show up just fine.


If I attach the same drive to my MacBook Air, it updates the previews just fine. I tried copying over the preference file from the MBA to the iMac, but no change in behavior.


This issue is relatively new, because going back and forth between the two computers was never an issue, so it could be related to the latest Aperture 3.4.5 update.


Unfortunately, the MBA is no longer available to test and troubleshoot this issue for reasons that Apple prohibits me from mentioning here. Some drivers don't like to surf.


So at this point the only computer I can access my pictures on is the iMac, and that's the machine that doesn't process previews!


E.g. when I select eg. a 1000 freshly imported 24MP raw images and use the generate previews command on them, I can see in the Activity window that Aperture "processes" all these images within a few seconds, which of course is impossible, and accordingly are the results: same blocky images, which are just scaled-up thumbnail images.


So for whatever reason, the iMac refuses to process the pictures. Anyone had a similar issue? Anyone having an idea as to what might cause this? The puzzling thing is, that the same library works/worked just fine on another computer...

iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.4)
  • 1. Re: extremely blocky previews
    Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (23,840 points)

    One more time ZFS is an unsupported file system as far as Aperture is concerned


    Putting Aperture libraries on unsupported file systems will give erratic behavior. Put the library on a properly formatted file system and then the problem can be addressed  

  • 2. Re: extremely blocky previews
    Ronald C.F. Antony Level 2 Level 2 (435 points)

    I don't need answers that are not helpful.


    ZEVO's ZFS implementation is put on top of OS X' VFS driver and supports all relevant functions that Aperture needs. Many programmers use ZFS with Aperture, and for good reasons, because we can't afford to entrust our valuable data to an outdated file system like HFS+ that has no built-in data integrity check and bit-rot recovery functionality like ZFS does.


    ZFS for my pictures is non-negotiable. You might as well tell me to use Photoshop Lightroom, or just not say anything, if you can't provide constructive help FOR MY SETUP.


    Besides, if Apple's Aperture really were using such crappy code that it breaks down when it's running on another file system type that supports the full set of semantics, or if Aperture, as a high-level, non-system application were using such low-level APIs that it would break running on another file system type, then the programmers should be fired, particularly if despite using such stunts the software is as slow as it is.


    Application-level software is supposed to "just work" regardless of the file system type, as long as the regular semantics are supported. After all, we're talking about ZFS here, not FAT16 or something with ridiculous naming or feature limitations.


    And no, ZFS is not the issue. Been using it for over a year, and the same library on the same disk with the same ZFS file system worked just fine on another machine until I did something to that machine I'm not allowed to write here, even though all I would be saying is public information.

  • 3. Re: extremely blocky previews
    léonie Level 9 Level 9 (51,740 points)

    ZEVO's ZFS implementation is put on top of OS X' VFS driver and supports all relevant functions that Aperture needs.

    It is up to the developer of a software to specify the rquirements to operate a software - the software is designed based on these requirements. If you risk using a software outside its specifications, don't be surprised, if it is not working all of a sudden, if you move it to a different platform or update a system.


    This is what the developers are requiring:

    Aperture: Use locally mounted Mac OS X Extended volumes for your ...


    Format external drives to Mac OS Extended before using with Aperture


    ZFS for my pictures is non-negotiable.

    Any work-around will never be a secure fix and break over and over again.

  • 4. Re: extremely blocky previews
    Ronald C.F. Antony Level 2 Level 2 (435 points)

    ZFS is not the issue. The links provided warn people about not using the brain-dead FAT (read: MS-DOS) file system, which has file naming limitations and doesn't support the full POSIX file system semantics (permissions, symlinks, hardlinks, ACLs, EAs, etc.) non of which is an issue that has any relevance to ZFS, because it supports the full set of semantics, and then some. To quote from ZEVO's web site: http://getgreenbytes.com/solutions/zevo/


    ZEVO’s file system is fully integrated into the Mac’s unique OS environment and implements quotas, ACLs, and the HFS+ programming interfaces like search-fs, id lookups, bulk access calls and resource fork stream access.


    So what developers "specify" is not what is required, but what they happen to test on, because they can't test every possible permutation. However, sanely programmed application software will not assume anything but standard file system semantics.


    To conclude that just because a particular file system is the default file system and the one the software is tested on, using a different file system that supports the full set of semantics software like Aperture is supposed to use is the cause for any problem is non-sequitur.


    I'm a software developer myself, have a Sc.M. in computer science, so I don't need someone else to read me the writing on the software box. I can assess myself what is or isn't relevant to the problem. ZFS is not the problem. ZFS is only mentioned because it's the indirect cause for not being able to use my other computer anymore, because the direct cause is unmentionable on this forum.


    Please, unless you have something relevant and helpful to say, don't post a reply.


    I don't need another five people to chime in that ZFS isn't supported. It's widely used among photographers and well known to work just fine with Aperture; it also worked just fine for more than a year on two computers, until suddenly that particular library stopped working on one computer, while the very same library on the very same disk with the very same ZFS continued working on another computer.


    For the sake of completeness, I just created a new library on the same ZFS drive and imported the same pictures, and it builds the previews properly.


    So what we have is an issue specific to a particular library, but external to what's on the ZFS drive, because the same ZFS drive with the same library worked on another computer.


    Chances are that something in ~/Library/Application\ Support/Aperture/ is gunked up, because what's in there is machine specific, while the Library itself is movable because I can attach the drive to a variety of computers, and only one of them has the issue.


    Logical thinking looks at the variables when analyzing a problem, not at the constants, when comparing a broken scenario with a functional one. ZFS and the library are the constant, variables are the two different computers, two sets of preferences (elimiated by copying the preferences from the good computer to the bad), and two sets of Application Support folders, and two sets of who knows what, that's specific to a particular machine, such as e.g. iLife media caches, and other such things that are external to the library.

  • 5. Re: extremely blocky previews
    Divebus Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm looking to set up a ZFS system myself with 30TB of storage under my desk at the mercy of HFS+. It's a little terrifying. Once I do that, I wouldn't dare reveal my results to you for fear of getting hammered by your razor sharp tongue in case I didn't give you the answer you wanted to hear. I've never seen a diatribe as rude as yours on an Apple forum. If you wish to continue telling everyone how smart you are and how stupid everyone else is for suggesting you follow instructions, you'll never get an answer. Now I can tell you to get support from Greenbytes. They're the ones who say it works, not Apple.