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Is /home used for anything on Mac OS X ever? It's just an empty directory on my machine.

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If you are thinking of deleting it, I would suggest against it. – Mitch Dempsey May 18 '10 at 0:56
up vote 4 down vote accepted

It's there because the automounter process has been told to put it there.

See /etc/auto_master, the main automounter configuration file, which is likely to contain a line something like the following (10.5):

/home            auto_home       -nobrowse

or (10.6):

/home            auto_home       -nobrowse,hidefromfinder

which tells it to look in /etc/auto_home (I'm simplifying for clarity) for entries for /home.

If that had an entry like:

fred -rw,bg server:/Volumes/Users/fred

then accessing /home/fred would cause server:/Volumes/Users/fred to be mounted (with NFS)

You can actually use that to map locally stored directories to there, and although there's no direct integration with OS X's standard use of /Users/username/ it's obviously possible to change where a user's home directory is kept. (Using the Directory Utility.)

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/Home should be hidden. Do you have Finder set to see hidden files and folders?

Anyway from what I grok from reading the dev docs; /Home is used when sharing your home directory over a network. How, I have no idea. :) A mount point, probably. Personally I think it's a hold over from the base UNIX that Aqua is sitting on. I would not delete it.

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I think it's used as a mount point in managed networks. For most people it's not used for anything, but I would't delete it.

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