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Old Nov 6, 2007, 10:05 AM   #1
roland.g
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Best way to share libraries across users?

In an effort to keep my wife's web surfing and email separate from my own, I would like to set up a separate user account for her. However, we currently share one iPhoto library and one iTunes library for all our photos and music. Both of our iPods connect to the same iTunes and all of our photos are in place.

I would like to share these libraries along with all the albums/playlists in them on both user accounts. I understand that only one user can have the application active at a time (at least with iPhoto), but the idea is that any additions/deletions/changes appear to both users by sharing both the files as well as the library file.

From what I have read in the following OS X Hints threads: Share an iPhoto library among multiple users, Allow shared write access to any directory, and Set the global umask default value, there are a few ways it can be done. However I am not too familiar with Terminal and wasn't sure the best way to do it. Not to mention some of the instructions seemed a bit unclear, maybe b/c I don't use terminal.

I would prefer to leave the iPhoto and iTunes libraries where they are and give the 2nd user access to them/point their accounts to those locations one they are shared and permissions are set. - which seems to be how the 2nd hint works. I also thought I might achieve the same thing using TinkerTool to allow access and set read/write ability, but have not used that either. Ideally I would probably also add the iMovies folder as well so that we both have access to the iMovie files.

I am currently on 10.4 but plan to upgrade to 10.5 in the next week.
Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

I am not sure how subfolders/inheriting attributes from parent are affected especially with the creation of new folders i.e. new artists/albums, new photos of folders or how this process affects already existing libraries.
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Old Nov 6, 2007, 10:40 AM   #2
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im not entirely sure but could you try making the itunes music folder and pictures folder in your account read/write to your wife's account? get info on each the two of those folders and set the permissions down the bottom of the get info window. in leopard you can just select an account and then choose if it can read/write to the folder. cant remember how to do it in tiger i think leopard's a but simpler in this aspect. You might also have to make the account able to read your pictures and music folders.
then when in your wive's account make sure her iphoto and itunes libraries are empty and then hold option while launching the two apps and choose your libraries. if youd like you can then set whether you want that account to write to your libraries by selecting "copy to the itunes/iphoto library" in the preferences.
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Last edited by richard.mac; Nov 6, 2007 at 10:46 AM.
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Old Nov 6, 2007, 11:03 AM   #3
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On my machine I just keep iTunes sharing turned on and make sure iTunes is always running. Then if you just switch users the other user can "stream" the iTunes from the other user even though they are on the same computer. It might also work with iPhoto.

The other way would be to move the main iPhoto library to the Shared user. When iPhoto starts up it will ask where the iPhoto library went... point it to the new location. On the 2nd account, move the empty iPhoto library somewhere, it will ask where it went, and point it to the one in the shared folder.

In iTunes tell it to store tunes in the shared folder. Then choose to consolidate the library. On the 2nd account just tell it to store tunes on the shared folder and it should use the new tunes area.

At least... in my head this should work. Backup your stuff before you follow my 2nd string of advice.
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Old Nov 6, 2007, 11:10 AM   #4
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On my machine I just keep iTunes sharing turned on and make sure iTunes is always running. Then if you just switch users the other user can "stream" the iTunes from the other user even though they are on the same computer. It might also work with iPhoto.

The other way would be to move the main iPhoto library to the Shared user. When iPhoto starts up it will ask where the iPhoto library went... point it to the new location. On the 2nd account, move the empty iPhoto library somewhere, it will ask where it went, and point it to the one in the shared folder.

In iTunes tell it to store tunes in the shared folder. Then choose to consolidate the library. On the 2nd account just tell it to store tunes on the shared folder and it should use the new tunes area.

At least... in my head this should work. Backup your stuff before you follow my 2nd string of advice.
Not just sharing (option 1), I want both users to be able to rip CDs, make playlists etc.

As far as the shared options, I was under the impression from the Mac OS X Hints articles that simple moving stuff to the shared folders wasn't enough. You also had to use terminal to affect the permissions for read/write/execute for those libraries/files so that each user could use it. And I'm pretty sure (once you get it set up) that even if you use fast user switching you have to close iPhoto on one user to launch it on another.
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Old Nov 6, 2007, 09:48 PM   #5
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i tested my method for iphoto and it works fine in another user account but i cant seem to get it working in iTunes. you definitely have to make your music and pictures folder readable to another user and your iTunes and iPhoto library read/write. i couldnt get the itunes library read/write for another user in Leopard.
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Old Nov 7, 2007, 02:31 AM   #6
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I think I solved the problem.

1. Set up 2nd user account with admin priv.
2. Right click in sidebar and using get info change both Music & Pictures folders Ownership & Permissions for Group to Admin and Access to Read & Write. Do this in the primary user who you want to have the main libraries shared from.
3. Make sure to Apple to enclosed items... as well. Each of these two phases will prompt you for password.
4. Make sure both iPhoto and iTunes are not running.
5. Log into 2nd user account.
6. Launch both iTunes and iPhoto holding down the option key. Prompt will ask to create or find library. Find library and navigate to HD -> Users -> Main User -> Music/Pictures folders -> subsequent folders for iTunes library file or iPhoto library folder. You will notice that both the Music and Pictures folders do not have the red circle indicating not shared.
7. At this point you should be able to see the complete libraries as they existed on the main user account. As well as add photos, make albums, edit, etc, make playlists, import CDs, you name it.
** Only one user can log into the Application at a time. If you switch users using fast user switching, and try to launch iTunes while it is still open on the other user it will give you a restricted error message. You must quit first.
8. At this time if you do not want to give Admin priv. to the 2nd user. You can go back to the Accounts system pref (log 2nd user out completely, otherwise you cannot modify account) and uncheck administrator status.
9. Then go to each of the Music and Pictures folders and repeat the permissions process to change the Ownership & Permissions from admin to everyone. At this point, the 2nd user still has access and read/write capabilities, but no admin priv. to install software etc.
10. If you have more than 2 users and did not want to include everyone but still want to turn off admin for 2nd user, you would have to then use Net Info Manager to create a group for the 1st 2 users that could then be selected instead of everyone. I tried doing this but couldn't quite figure it out.

There are other ways to accomplish this, specifically it seems the best way may be to change the umask settings in Terminal as described in the Allow shared write access to any directory link in my OP, however I didn't quite understand it, not being a Terminal user, and found that this solution worked in my test case. I was also able to share the Movies folder for iMovies projects and replaced the sidebar shortcut for the 2nd user with one that points directly to the folder in my home folder.

I did do all this in Tiger as I will be getting Leopard this week. But I expect that it will work in Leopard as well. I didn't want to move my existing libraries to the shared folder, and found it easier to use this method.
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Old Nov 30, 2007, 06:38 PM   #7
Mr C
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Originally Posted by roland.g View Post

3. Make sure to Apple to enclosed items... as well. Each of these two phases will prompt you for password..
it's at this point that my attempt stops in Leopard

I can add an admin user and the named account to the priveleges for the folder but when I try to add a user to the priveleges for the iphoto library by clicking on the "+" button (as previously) it just closes the window with no action - like a bug


aaaarrrggg
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Old Aug 23, 2012, 03:52 PM   #8
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it's at this point that my attempt stops in Leopard

I can add an admin user and the named account to the priveleges for the folder but when I try to add a user to the priveleges for the iphoto library by clicking on the "+" button (as previously) it just closes the window with no action - like a bug


aaaarrrggg
For a Machine OS that is supposed to be so easy why does't Apple have an app or option to share libraries amongst users? I have fought with this for some time and now we have duplicate pictures on our machine that I don't know about. Smarten up apple and allow people to share a machine!!!!!!!
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Old Aug 23, 2012, 04:46 PM   #9
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Well it's a five year old thread. Maybe it's time to ask the question again?

If you want to share across all users, just drag the library to /Users/Shared. Then create an alias to it from the default location in each account.

If there are multiple users and it is desired to share only among a subset, the best thing to do is create a Group, put the subset of accounts into the group, make a folder in Shared that is owned by that group and then put the library into that.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 09:53 AM   #10
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Well it's a five year old thread. Maybe it's time to ask the question again?

If you want to share across all users, just drag the library to /Users/Shared. Then create an alias to it from the default location in each account.

If there are multiple users and it is desired to share only among a subset, the best thing to do is create a Group, put the subset of accounts into the group, make a folder in Shared that is owned by that group and then put the library into that.
Just what I have been looking for, now how do I create and alias to it from the default location in each account?
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 10:06 AM   #11
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Just what I have been looking for, now how do I create and alias to it from the default location in each account?


Its ok, Think ive cracked it now!
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