I'm going to be getting a refurbished machine and rather than keep my current OS (10.6.8), I need to upgrade to at least 10.8, in order to be able to communicate with devices that use iOS 9 (since you need a newer version of iTunes).

My current install is Case-Sensitive and Journalled, and it works well for me. The issue is, I will also need a newer version of Adobe Acrobat (9 or higher), and everything I've read says it requires a Case-Insensitive file system.

So here's my question: if Acrobat is so popular and often used, does this mean that installations of OS X are by default Case-Insensitive, or does everyone have to reformat and reinstall OX S after the purchase Acrobat?

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    The fact that Adobe Acrobat would need a case insensitive filesystem is an urban legend. I have many versions of this software running on MacOS X from Mountain Lion to El Capitan. -------- What is a fact is that Photoshop and Illustrator require a case insensitive file system because these softwares don't maintain coherent file names internally. After a read of file file_a they feel normal to open it again with name FILE_A. This is a symptom of low quality software, and nothing else. – dan Jan 10 '16 at 21:42
  • @danielAzuelos I can't speak for Mountain Lion to El Capitan, but I know for certain that Acrobat 9 and up will not install on 10.6.8 with a case-sensitive file system, because I've tried this several times. Only Acrobat 8 (and below) will work on 10.6.8 with case-sensitive file systems. – iwantmyphd Jan 10 '16 at 23:09

By default, HFS+ in OS X is case-insensitive. You have to specifically erase a partition and select case-sensitive for a partition to be case-sensitive.

It's not that common, but there is software which requires case-insensitive HFS+. It's more common for legacy software to require case-sensitive HFS+. Of course, software should work on both, and most newer software does. The Acrobat restriction feels like a way to avoid unreproducible bug reports from users using (awkward) case-sensitive volumes.

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  • Thanks, good to know. I'll be posting a follow up question separately, and that is, can migrate from one machine with 10.6.8 case-sensitive, journalled, to another machine with 10.8+ case-insensitive, journalled? I might as well install 10.8 on the new machine with the correct file system rather than converting later, but need to know if the Migration Assistant will be able to pull it from the Time Machine backup correctly even though the machines have different case-sensitivity. – iwantmyphd Jan 10 '16 at 23:13
  • @iwantmyphd Quite possibly. HFS+ filesystems can be formatted case-sensitive or case-insensitive, but in both cases HFS+ is case-preserving, meaning that it stores the case of each character untouched on the file-system, despite ignoring it when making accesses. An easy demonstration is that on the default install, you have mixed-case folder names like /Applications and HFS+ doesn't squash that to /applications, yet it won't allow you to create /applications besides /Applications. – Iwillnotexist Idonotexist Jan 11 '16 at 3:13

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