March 21, 2019

Appleshare IP on Linux


  • August 26, 1999
  • By Ian Wilkinson

Mac hardware has been around for over twenty years now, providing a great workstation and dominating the publishing and prepress market, but it has always lacked a server with a great price/performance ratio. High end Macs cost a lot and so do Netware licenses. And Netware has never supported AppleTalk on the kernel level, only as an NLM that is getting a little long in the tooth. But the free software community uses Macs, too, and over several years a lot of work has been done on writing a free open source program that will run on Unix-like systems with good performance. There are several commercial applications that will implement the AppleTalk networking stack on non-Apple hardware, but I found myself in need of access via AppleTalk to my webserver and I had no money for one of the new Blue and White G3's and OSX.

Enter Netatalk. With Netatalk, Macintosh computers can mount Unix volumes and print to Unix print spools as if they were standard Appletalk network devices. Linux has compiled support for AppleTalk by default. At least it does on my RedHat 5.2, kernel 2.0.x. Check to see if it is on your machine by typing "dmesg | grep Apple" at the command prompt. You should get something like "Appletalk 0.17 for Linux NET3.035" back. If not, it may have been added as a module. Type "lsmod" and see if Appletalk shows up there. If neither of these statements show Appletalk, then you have to compile Appletalk into the kernel and reboot, or compile Appletalk as a module and insmod appletalk.o I am not going to go into the details of how to do this, that information is elsewhere, and besides, I've never had to do it.

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