Finding where to store application data portably

Steven D'Aprano steve at
Thu Sep 22 13:32:02 CEST 2005

On Thu, 22 Sep 2005 02:14:57 +0000, Ron Adam wrote:

>>>Don't all file managers have an option to hide files beginning with '.'?
>> I don't want to hide them. I just don't want them in my face when I open
>> my home directory.
> +1
> This has been a gripe of mine on windows as well, and hiding files (or 
> extensions) is definitely not the answer.
> Personally I think hidden files do more harm than good. It's not a 
> substitute for good file management, and it not an acceptable 
> alternative to good security either.

Agreed. If "hidden files" are under the control of the user, then they
aren't really hidden, they are merely filtered from the current view.
Filtering may be useful in many circumstances, but if you are filtering
the same files all the time (eg "don't show me files starting with a
period" or "don't show me files with the invisible flag set") then you
should stick them in a subdirectory.

And if hidden files aren't under the control of the user (as certain
obscure ways of hiding files under Windows aren't), then it is a serious
security risk. You, the user might not be able to hide the files, but you
can bet some virus will. Eg if you drop an executable file in the Windows
XP font directory, it will not show up in the file explorer.


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