Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

On old Macs before OS X files already could have two "forks" - a data fork and a resource fork.

According to Wikipedia, at some point the HFS+ filesystem of OS X gained the ability to have an arbitrary number of forks, much like Microsofts "Alternate Data Streams" (ADS).

HFS Plus permits filenames up to 255 UTF-16 characters in length, and n-forked files similar to NTFS, though until recently, almost no systems software takes advantage of forks other than the data fork and resource fork.

I want to know what the official term is for these forks or streams. I guess it's possible they're just called "forks" but that terms has several meanings already in computing. I've done some searching but can't find a definitive answer.

share|improve this question
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Apple uses "multiple fork" or the shortened form "multi-fork" consistently through its documentation, so it seems it is the official term. I list here a few examples:

https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/General/Conceptual/SLGlobalGlossary/Glossary/Glossary.html (Last updated: 2010-07-09)

HFS+ Hierarchical File System Plus. The Mac OS Extended file-system format. This format adds support for filenames longer than 31 characters, Unicode representation of file and directory names, and efficient operation on very large disks. HFS+ is a multiple-fork volume format.

https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/Porting/Conceptual/PortingUnix/io_porting/io_porting.html (Last updated: 2012-06-11)

(...) some Mac applications also take advantage of the HFS+ file system’s ability to handle multi-forked files.

https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#documentation/CoreFoundation/Conceptual/CFBundles/AboutBundles/AboutBundles.html (Last updated: 2010-07-08)

Bundles can reside on volumes of many different formats, including multiple fork formats like HFS, HFS+, and AFP, and single-fork formats like UFS, SMB, and NFS.

When talking about "fork" in computing I can only think of either HFS+/HFS forks or the system call for creating a child process.

share|improve this answer
    
What a great answer - thanks for your effort! (-: –  hippietrail Oct 25 '12 at 10:41
    
You're welcome! –  jaume Oct 25 '12 at 10:41
    
Yes there is forking child processes and also forking projects, especially open source projects, as happened to OpenOffice->LibreOffice and WikiTravel->WikiVoyage. There may be other uses I don't know of too... –  hippietrail Oct 25 '12 at 10:44
1  
Oh God, I forgot fork in software development, thanks for pointing that out. –  jaume Oct 25 '12 at 13:03
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.