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
$105.22
Apple Inc.
+0.39
MSFT
$46.13
Microsoft Corpora
+1.11
GOOG
$539.78
Google Inc.
-4.20

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Ember 1.8.2 - Versatile digital scrapboo...
Ember (formerly LittleSnapper) is your digital scrapbook of things that inspire you: websites, photos, apps or other things. Just drag in images that you want to keep, organize them into relevant... Read more
Tonality Pro 1.1.2 - Professional-grade...
Tonality Pro gives you the power to create stunning and dramatic black & white images. This is a complete monochrome image editor with more than 150 one-click style presets, totally unique... Read more
VueScan 9.4.49 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
OS X Server 4.0 - For OS X 10.10 Yosemit...
Designed for OS X and iOS devices, OS X Server makes it easy to share files, schedule meetings, synchronize contacts, develop software, host your own website, publish wikis, configure Mac, iPhone,... Read more
TotalFinder 1.6.12 - Adds tabs, hotkeys,...
TotalFinder is a universally acclaimed navigational companion for your Mac. Enhance your Mac's Finder with features so smart and convenient, you won't believe you ever lived without them. Tab-based... Read more
BusyCal 2.6.3 - Powerful calendar app wi...
BusyCal is an award-winning desktop calendar that combines personal productivity features for individuals with powerful calendar sharing capabilities for families and workgroups. BusyCal's unique... Read more
calibre 2.7 - Complete e-library managem...
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
Skitch 2.7.3 - Take screenshots, annotat...
With Skitch, taking, annotating, and sharing screenshots or images is as fun as it is simple.Communicate and collaborate with images using Skitch and its intuitive, engaging drawing and annotating... Read more
Delicious Library 3.3.2 - Import, browse...
Delicious Library allows you to import, browse, and share all your books, movies, music, and video games with Delicious Library. Run your very own library from your home or office using our... Read more
Art Text 2.4.8 - Create high quality hea...
Art Text is an OS X application for creating high quality textual graphics, headings, logos, icons, Web site elements, and buttons. Thanks to multi-layer support, creating complex graphics is no... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Rami Ismail Opens Up distribute​() for D...
Rami Ismail Opens Up distribute​() for Developers Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] Rami Ismail, Chief Executive of Business and Development at indie game studio | Read more »
Great Hitman GO Goes on Sale and Gets Ne...
Great Hitman GO Goes on Sale and Gets New Update – Say That Three Times Fast Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Rival Stars Basketball Review
Rival Stars Basketball Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: RESTRICTIVE BUT FUNUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Rival Stars Basketball is a fun mixture of basketball and card collecting but its... | Read more »
Rubicon Development Makes Over a Dozen o...
Rubicon Development Makes Over a Dozen of Their Games Free For This Weekend Only Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
I Am Dolphin Review
I Am Dolphin Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: NEARLY FIN-TASTICUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Swim around and eat nearly everything that moves in I Am Dolphin, a fun Ecco-ish kind of game... | Read more »
nPlayer looks to be the ultimate choice...
Developed by Newin Inc, nPlayer may seem like your standard video player – but is aiming to be the best in its field by providing high quality video play performance and support for a huge number of video formats and codecs. User reviews include... | Read more »
Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Wi...
Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Witch Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CLASSY STORYTELLINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Witch is a sterling... | Read more »
A Few Days Left (Games)
A Few Days Left 1.01 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.01 (iTunes) Description: Screenshots are in compliance to App Store's 4+ age rating! Please see App Preview for real game play! **Important: Make... | Read more »
Toca Boo (Education)
Toca Boo 1.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.2 (iTunes) Description: BOO! Did I scare you!? My name is Bonnie and my family loves to spook! Do you want to scare them back? Follow me and I'll... | Read more »
Intuon (Games)
Intuon 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Join the battle with your intuition in a new hardcore game Intuon! How well do you trust your intuition? Can you find a needle in a... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Weekend sale: 13-inch 128GB MacBook Air for $...
Best Buy has the 2014 13-inch 1.4GHz 128GB MacBook Air on sale for $849.99, or $150 off MSRP, on their online store. Choose free home shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Price valid... Read more
Nimbus Note Cross=Platform Notes Utility
Nimbus Note will make sure you never forget or lose your valuable data again. Create and edit notes, save web pages, screenshots and any other type of data – and share it all with your friends and... Read more
NewerTech’s Snuglet Makes MagSafe 2 Power Con...
NewerTech has introduced the Snuglet, a precision-manufactured ring designed to sit inside your MagSafe 2 connector port, providing a more snug fit to prevent your power cable from unintentional... Read more
Apple Planning To Sacrifice Gross Margins To...
Digitimes Research’s Jim Hsiao says its analysts believe Apple is planning to sacrifice its gross margins to save its tablet business, which has recently fallen into decline. They project that Apple’... Read more
Who’s On Now? – First Instant-Connect Search...
It’s nighttime and your car has broken down on the side of the highway. You need a tow truck right away, so you open an app on your iPhone, search for the closest tow truck and send an instant... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $949,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $949.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $150 off MSRP. Price is... Read more
Save up to $125 on Retina MacBook Pros
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $125 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels... Read more
Apple refurbished Time Capsules available sta...
The Apple Store has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for up to $60 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $255... Read more
Textilus New Word, Notes and PDF Processor fo...
Textilus is new word-crunching, notes, and PDF processor designed exclusively for the iPad. I haven’t had time to thoroughly check it out yet, but it looks great and early reviews are positive.... Read more
WD My Passport Pro Bus-Powered Thunderbolt RA...
WD’s My Passport Pro RAID solution is powered by an integrated Thunderbolt cable for true portability and speeds as high as 233 MB/s. HighlightsOverviewSpecifications Transfer, Back Up And Edit In... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple Inc. (U...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple 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...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.