Daring Fireball has a typically brilliant article on the voodoo cult surrounding ‘repair permissions’.
A phrase caught my eye — “Repairing permissions is zapping the PRAM for the twenty-first century” (from Rosyna via Jason Harris).
There was a step in between.
There was a good 3+ year period where updating prebinding on the system was the cure-all for any kind of random system problem or slow down.
Somewhere in there, I made the “mistake” (it was actually a lot of fun) of releasing a little chunk of Cocoa code that demonstrated how to use the (then cool, no longer so) authorization APIs to run the prebinding update command and log the output into a text view.
From the start, it was documented as having the sole purpose of demonstrating a piece of API. That the actual act of updating prebinding was totally useless.
That didn’t stop anyone from downloading the damned up and running prebinding on a regular basis. I got email from people claiming that using Xoptimize (my stupid prebinding app) every week helped their system, that they had advised their mother to use it every day, and that — I’m not kidding — updating prebinding somehow made Finder window resizing faster.
That damned app had over 150,000 downloads. More than pretty much anything else except pyobjc. I almost wished I had charged money for it. Almost. It was useless and I have a hard time charging people for useless things (I’m trying to get over that).
Instead, I wrote an article that gave a high level overview of prebinding. Actually, a few people at Apple thanked me for doing so during the hiring process, so it wasn’t entirely for naught.
In any case, prebinding was definitely the voodoo fix-all between zapping pram and repairing permissions.