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.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Apple GarageBand 10.1.4 - Complete recor...
The new GarageBand is a whole music creation studio right inside your Mac -- complete with keyboard, synths, orchestral and percussion instruments, presets for guitar and voice, an entirely... Read more
Alfred 3.2.1 - Quick launcher for apps a...
Alfred is an award-winning productivity application for OS X. Alfred saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more productive with hotkeys, keywords, and file actions at... Read more
Adobe Lightroom 6.8 - Import, develop, a...
Adobe Lightroom is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $9.99/month bundled with Photoshop CC as part of the photography package. Lightroom 6 is also available for purchase as a... Read more
Backblaze 4.2.0.990 - Online backup serv...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac. With unlimited storage available for $5 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more
OmniPlan Pro 3.6 - Professional-grade pr...
With OmniPlan Pro, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success... Read more
OmniPlan 3.6 - Robust project management...
With OmniPlan, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success,... Read more
Little Snitch 3.7.1 - Alerts you about o...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activity As soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more
iMazing 2.1.3 - Complete iOS device mana...
iMazing (was DiskAid) is the ultimate iOS device manager with capabilities far beyond what iTunes offers. With iMazing and your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod), you can: Copy music to and from... Read more
AppDelete 4.3.1 - $7.99
AppDelete is an uninstaller that will remove not only applications but also widgets, preference panes, plugins, and screensavers along with their associated files. Without AppDelete these associated... Read more
FileZilla 3.23.0.2 - Fast and reliable F...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface. Version 3.23.0.2: Bug Fixes and Minor Changes Speed up icon... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Galaxy on Fire 3 and four other fantasti...
Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore brings the series back for another round of daring space battles. It's familiar territory for folks who are familiar with the franchise. If you've beaten the game and are looking to broaden your horizons, might we... | Read more »
The best apps for your holiday gift exch...
What's that, you say? You still haven't started your holiday shopping? Don't beat yourself up over it -- a lot of people have been putting it off, too. It's become easier and easier to procrastinate gift shopping thanks to a number of apps that... | Read more »
Toca Hair Salon 3 (Education)
Toca Hair Salon 3 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Winter comes to Darkwood as Seekers Note...
MyTona, based in the chilly Siberian city of Yakutsk, has brought a little festive fun to its hidden object game Seekers Notes: Hidden Mystery. The Christmas update introduces some new inhabitants to players, and with them a chance to win plenty of... | Read more »
Bully: Anniversary Edition (Games)
Bully: Anniversary Edition 1.03.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.03.1 (iTunes) Description: *** PLEASE NOTE: This game is officially supported on the following devices: iPhone 5 and newer, iPod Touch... | Read more »
PINE GROVE (Games)
PINE GROVE 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A pine grove where there are no footsteps of people due to continuous missing cases. The case is still unsolved and nothing has... | Read more »
Niantic teases new Pokémon announcement...
After rumors started swirling yesterday, it turns out there is an official Pokémon GO update on its way. We’ll find out what’s in store for us and our growing Pokémon collections tomorrow during the Starbucks event, but Niantic will be revealing... | Read more »
3 reasons why Nicki Minaj: The Empire is...
Nicki Minaj is as business-savvy as she is musically talented and she’s proved that by launching her own game. Designed by Glu, purveyors of other fine celebrity games like cult favorite Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, Nicki Minaj: The Empire launched... | Read more »
Clash of Clans is getting its own animat...
Riding on its unending wave of fame and success, Clash of Clans is getting an animated web series based on its Clash-A-Rama animated shorts.As opposed to the current shorts' 60 second run time, the new and improved Clash-A-Rama will be comprised of... | Read more »
Leaks hint at Pokémon GO and Starbucks C...
Leaked images from a hub for Starbucks employees suggests that a big Pokémon GO event with the coffee giant could begin this very week. The images appeared on Reddit and hint at some exciting new things to come for Niantic's smash hit game. | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refurbished, n...
Apple has restocked a full line of Certified Refurbished 2016 12″ Retina MacBooks, now available for $200-$260 off MSRP. Refurbished 2015 models are available starting at $929. Apple will include a... Read more
Holiday sale: 12-inch Retina MacBook for $100...
B&H has 12″ Retina MacBooks on sale for $100 off MSRP as part of their Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1199 $100... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air: $849 $... Read more
Apple refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: - 21″ 3.... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free: -... Read more
Back in stock: Apple refurbished Mac minis fr...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
Twenty-Five Years Of Apple Laptops – A person...
Among many other things, the often tumultuous 16th year of the new century marked the 25th anniversary of Apple laptop computers, not counting the optimistically named 16-pound Mac Portable of 1989.... Read more
Landlordy iOS App Adds Support For Appliances...
Riga, Latvia based E-protect SIA is releasing major update (version 1.8) to its Landlordy app for managing rental business financials on the go. Landlordy is iPhone and iPad app designed for self-... Read more
Holiday sale, Apple iMacs for up to $200 off...
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ Apple iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2099 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $... Read more
Holiday sale: Mac minis for $50 to $100 off M...
B&H Photo has Mac minis on sale for up to $100 off MSRP free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $449 $50 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac mini: $629 $70 off MSRP - 2.8GHz Mac mini: $899 $... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Trumbul...
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
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Philade...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- San Ant...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Products Tester Needed - Apple (Unit...
…we therefore look forward to put out products to quality test for durability. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.