TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Dec 00 Getting Started Volume Number: 16 (2000)
Issue Number: 12
Column Tag: Getting Started - Networking

MacNFS

By John C. Welch

Reviewing Thursby Unix Connectivity Package

Background

This month we will take a look at MacNFS 3.0, from Thursby Systems. MacNFS is an NFS client that allows you to mount Unix NFS shared file systems on your Mac. This is a one way sharing, as MacNFS does not allow you to share your files to Unix users via NFS. With OS X looming large, and NFS being a key type of filesharing under that OS, NFS connectivity for the 'Classic' Mac OS is worth looking at.

MacNFS

MacNFS is a NFS, (Network File System) client for any Mac with at least a 68030 CPU, Mac OS 7.6 or higher, and Open Transport. To access Unix NFS shares, or file systems, the Unix box needs to be using NFS version 2 or greater, PCNFSD, (this is the daemon, or process that allows MacNFS to log in to the Unix box to mount drives) version 2 or greater, Network Lock Manager version 3 or greater, and Mount program version 1 or greater. For my tests, I ran MacNFS on a variety of G3, G4, and other PowerMacs and PowerBook G3s. Unix servers were a mix of Sun boxes running Solaris 7, and SGI boxes running the current version of Irix, 6.5.X.

The installation of MacNFS is straightforward, with your options consisting of which parts of MacNFS to install. The entire package is a User's guide, the MacNFS Chooser extension, and online help, which consists of Mac Help files and an Apple Guide file. Once you install, you restart your Mac and serialize your copy. To initially use MacNFS, you open the Chooser, and select the MacNFS icon. You are then presented with a dialog requesting your name, company, and license number. This is my first minor beef with MacNFS, and Thursby in general. The license numbers that Thursby uses are some of the more complex ones I've seen in the Mac market. This by itself is not bad until you buy 30 copies of MacNFS, and get a page of labels, each with its own license number. A single license number for multiple copy purchases would be a good idea, especially if you remotely install MacNFS on multiple Macs at different locations.

Once you have entered the license number, you can then start setting up MacNFS. The initial presentation in the Chooser shows you a listing of all machines on your subnet that are exporting NFS shares. This is shown in Figure 1.


Figure 1. MacNFS Server List.

This list looks like any other server list you would see in the Chooser. You have the 'OK' button, which allows you to select the server you want to log into. The other button takes you into the MacNFS client setup. As you can see in Figure 2, the setup for MacNFS is fairly straightforward.


Figure 2. MacNFS Client Setup.

The options allow you to configure the basic behaviors of the client. For the most part, the default options will work. Most administrators will want to configure the create permissions, which control how the NFS filesystems apply file access rules to files created using the MacNFS client. The 'Show hidden UNIX files' option controls the visibility of Unix .files, which are normally configuration files, and not viewable by non-administrators. 'Translate End of Line' automatically handle converting Unix line-end characters to the Mac line ends. The 'Info...' button shows the statistics for the client, and allows you to change the license code for that client if needed. Once you have made the necessary changes, clicking 'Save' commits those changes, and returns you to the server list.

Picking a server to access disks from is similar to doing it via AppleShare. You select a server, and either double-click, or click 'OK'. You are then presented with a login screen, shown in Figure 3.


Figure 3. Login Screen.

The login has one unique feature, that being the 'Security:' pulldown menu. This is a listing of all visible servers that are running the PCNFSD authentication daemon. This allows the user to authenticate against different servers if the primary is down, or a specific set of NFS shares can only be authenticated by a specific server. Also, the user does not have to authenticate to the same server that they are trying to mount, so a single authentication server can be used for all NFS shares.

Once the user has authenticated, a list of default shares for that server is displayed. This screen, in Figure 4, is where the user selects the share(s) they wish to access, and to set share-specific options.


Figure 4. Default Shares.

This screen has many of the same options as the main settings screen, but any options set here, only apply to a specific share or shares. Like other network clients, the user can set certain shares to automatically mount on system startup. Unfortunately, this version of MacNFS does not allow for the KeyChain to be used to store the passwords for these shares. The 'Options' button toggles the options section of the screen on or off, (shown ON in Figure 4.) The 'Add Path' button brings up a dialog that allows the manual entry of a share that does not appear in the window. These shares must be entered using Unix path conventions, and the entire path must be entered manually. An ability to browse to the desired share would make this option easier to use, as Unix paths can be quite complicated. The 'Add Path' dialog is shown below in Figure 5.


Figure 5. Add Path Dialog.

Once the share has been selected and mounted, it behaves as any other network share would. Since Unix does not use dual streamed filesystems, MacNFS keeps the resource fork information in a separate file, that has the same filename as the data fork, but preceded by a percent sign. File access and usage is as fast as the network allows, but in general, it is speedy over 10Mbps Ethernet.

Thursby has done an excellent job in making MacNFS easy to use on a wide range of Macs. Although there are some minor issues with the manual path addition process, lack of KeyChain integration, and the serial numbering process, these are relatively minor quibbles, and are not bad enough to cause second thoughts about using MacNFS..


John Welch <jwelch@aer.com> is the Mac and PC Administrator for AER Inc., a weather and atmospheric science company in Cambridge, Mass. He has over fifteen years of experience at making computers work. His specialties are figuring out ways to make the Mac do what nobody thinks it can, and showing that the Mac is the superior administrative platform.

 
AAPL
$101.32
Apple Inc.
+0.74
MSFT
$45.15
Microsoft Corpora
-0.07
GOOG
$582.56
Google Inc.
-0.81

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Garmin Express 3.2.17.0 - Manage your Ga...
Garmin Express is your essential tool for managing your Garmin devices. Update maps, golf courses and device software. You can even register your device. Update maps Update software Register your... Read more
Audio Hijack Pro 2.11.1 - Record and enh...
Audio Hijack Pro drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio with Audio Hijack... Read more
calibre 2.0.0 - Complete e-library manag...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital... Read more
Apple iMovie 10.0.5 - Edit personal vide...
With an all-new design, Apple iMovie lets you enjoy your videos like never before. Browse your clips more easily, instantly share your favorite moments, and create beautiful HD movies and Hollywood-... Read more
Apple Keynote 6.2.2 - Apple's prese...
Apple Keynote makes it simple to create and deliver beautiful presentations. Powerful tools and dazzling effects bring your ideas to life. You can work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices. And... Read more
Apple Numbers 3.2.2 - Apple's sprea...
With Apple Numbers, sophisticated spreadsheets are just the start. The whole sheet is your canvas. Just add dramatic interactive charts, tables, and images that paint a revealing picture of your data... Read more
OpenOffice 4.1.1 - Free and open-source...
OpenOffice.org is both an Open Source product and a project. The product is a multi-platform office productivity suite. It includes the key desktop applications, such as a word processor,... Read more
Pages 5.2.2 - Apple's word processo...
Apple Pages is a powerful word processor that gives you everything you need to create documents that look beautiful. And read beautifully. It lets you work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices. And... Read more
Quicken 2015 2.0.1 - Complete personal f...
The new Quicken 2015 helps you manage all your personal finances in one place, so you can see where you're spending and where you can save. Quicken automatically categorizes your financial... Read more
CleanMyMac 2.2.7 - Delete files that was...
CleanMyMac makes space for the things you love. Sporting a range of ingenious new features, CleanMyMac 2 lets you safely and intelligently scan and clean your entire system, delete large, unused... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Trolls vs Vikings Update Adds Over One H...
Trolls vs Vikings Update Adds Over One Hundred Levels, Reduces Item Cost, and More Posted by Ellis Spice on August 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
SNK Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of T...
SNK Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of The King of Fighters With a Big Sale Posted by Ellis Spice on August 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
It Came From Canada: Star Wars: Commande...
With a brand new Star Wars trilogy on the horizon, prepare yourselves for Disney and George Lucas’s space fantasy throwback to be more omnipresent than ever before. So it should come as no surprise that new adventures in that galaxy far, far away... | Read more »
Swing Copters Review
Swing Copters Review By Jordan Minor on August 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: DIE TRYINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The creator of Flappy Bird is back with a vengeance.   | Read more »
Beam Me an Update Scotty – Star Trek Tre...
Beam Me an Update Scotty – Star Trek Trexels Receives its Biggest Update Yet Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
The Outcast Review
The Outcast Review By Nadia Oxford on August 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: HANDS OFF. WAY OFF.Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad It’s easy to see what The Outcast is trying for, but its execution needs a lot of work.   | Read more »
HeroCraft Unveils New iOS Game, Marble D...
HeroCraft Unveils New iOS Game, Marble Duel Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] HeroCraft is developing a new chain popper game called Marble Duel, wh | Read more »
Brain+ Review
Brain+ Review By Nadia Oxford on August 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: DIM BULBUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Brain+ is just another entry in an over-saturated brain-training marketplace – and not a particularly fun entry... | Read more »
The Witcher Battle Arena – New Gameplay...
The Witcher Battle Arena – New Gameplay Trailer Revealed Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Based in the Witcher universe, | Read more »
Max Gentlemen Review
Max Gentlemen Review By Jennifer Allen on August 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: OUTSTAYING ITS WELCOMEiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Max Gentlemen seems pretty quirky initially but that appeal wears thin... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Updated Mac Price Trackers
We’ve updated our Mac Price Trackers with the latest information on prices, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers: - 15″ MacBook Pros - 13″ MacBook... Read more
Leftover 15-inch 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pros a...
B&H Photo has leftover previous-generation 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pros now available for $1599 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $400 off original MSRP. B&H... Read more
Pro.Calendar – New Productivity App for iPad...
Austin, Texas based mobile business and productivity app developer LightArrow, Inc. has announced Pro.Calendar, a powerful and intuitive calendar app with eight versatile calendar options including... Read more
SanDisk Ultra II SSD — Supercharge Your Syste...
SanDisk Corporation has announced the new SanDisk Ultra II SSD with enhanced SSD Dashboard. The new drive is designed to deliver a cost-effective and easy upgrade solution for PC owners looking to... Read more
Samsung and Barnes & Noble Introduce New...
Samsung Electronics America and NOOK Media, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc. have announced the introduction of the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK, a 7-inch tablet combining Samsung’s leading... Read more
21-inch iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software: - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $... Read more
27-inch 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1698, save $...
Abt has the 27″ 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1698 including free shipping. Their price is $101 off MSRP. Read more
Mac Backup Guru 2.0 Drive Backup/Cloneing Uti...
Mac Backup Guru developer MacDaddy has released Mac Backup Guru 2.0, offering new and enhanced advanced features, such as bootable backups, synchronised volumes and folders, and a Snapshot mode that... Read more
Operate GE’s New Free-Standing KItchen Range...
Think you accidentally left the oven on? Switch it off while on the go. The new free-standing Profile™ Series gas and electric ranges are GE’s second cooking appliances, following their wall oven, to... Read more
Parallels Announces Parallels Desktop 10 for...
The no. 1-selling software for running Windows applications on a Mac becomes an even easier choice for millions of consumers and IT professionals worldwide with the launch of the most powerful... Read more

Jobs Board

Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…customers purchase our products, you're the one who helps them get more out of their new Apple technology. Your day in the Apple Store is filled with a range of Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** As businesses discover the power of Apple computers and mobile devices, it's your job - as a Solutions Engineer - to show them how to introduce these Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** At the Apple Store, you connect business professionals and entrepreneurs with the tools they need in order to put Apple solutions to work in their Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.