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Chapter 16. Managing System Services and... > Strong-Arming the System—Brute Force...

Strong-Arming the System—Brute Force Behavior Modification

Sometimes, there just isn't a configuration option available to let you make something work the way you want it to. The GUI tools don't have a button for you to click, the configuration files for the software don't list an option for you, and the Defaults database contains no useful parameters. If you're willing to apply what you've learned so far in this book, there still might be ways for you to make your system do what you want. The key is remembering that underneath it all, Mac OS X is running Unix, and the Unix user experience is fundamentally the product of many programs running simultaneously, each providing specific functionality. If you can localize the behavior you want to modify to a single program, you can approach reaching your configuration goal as an exercise in replacing that program's functionality with something that does what you want, instead of what the current version does.

The Sneaky Way—Inserting Imposters

Depending on exactly what you're trying to change, there are two primary ways to go about this. The less obnoxious way is to interpose some software of your own devising between what the system is trying to do and what it's actually doing. Because most everything is a small, special-purpose program, you can often insert an imposter program that looks and talks to the system like the program it thinks it's calling. The imposter can then call the actual program (or not, if you don't need to) with any modifications to inputs that you want, unrestricted by what the system allows you to conveniently configure.


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