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Cross-Platform Networking Solutions

A List of Networking Products from Third-Party Developers for Integrating Macs and Windows PCs

Updated March 20, 2011

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Active Directory/Mac integration solutions

Company Product Line Description
Apple Mac OS X Server

Mac OS X clients come with a Active Directory plug-in for single sign-on and authentication, which can be used to connect to Active Directory Networks in one of two ways: use of Mac OS X Server running Open Directory on the network, or modifying the schema on the Windows Server. Mac OS X Server also provides a number of other services for Mac and Windows clients, including AFP and SMB file service, email, DNS, client management, and many others.

Centrify DirectControl

DirectControl Express (free version)

DirectControl is part of the Centrify Suite and is a network-based system for integrating Mac, Linux, and Unix clients into Active Directory networks with Active Directory-based authentication and access control. DirectControl includes an Active Directory plugin for the Mac OS X clients and centrally secure and configure Mac and Unix/Linux through Windows Group Policy. Delegated administration enables creations of collections of Mac systems that can each have their own set of authorized users and administrators, useful in setting up security boundaries around groups of Macs (such as labs). Supports secure Mac OS X log-in with CAC, PIV and .NET smart cards. DirectControl Express is free version, similar to Likewise Open (see below). It authenticates Macs to Active Direct, but doesn't include the group policy features.

Does not require Mac OS X Server or schema changes.

Likewise Software Likewise Enterprise

Likewise Open (free version)

The company offers two versions, a free Likewise Open, and the commercial Likewise Enterprise. LikeWise includes an Active Directory plugin for MacOS X, which, like Apple's plugin, provides for Kerberos, NTLM, and SPNEGO authentication and single sign-on. The Enterprise version offers group policy management of Mac and Linux/Unix clients, with full integration with the Group Policy Management Console and Group Policy Object Editor, as well as with Apple's Workgroup Manager, a tool for Mac OS X Server.

LikeWise Enterprise also features audit and compliance tools. Likewise Enterprise includes the Likewise Administrative Console, which enables administrators to manage Active Directory from a Mac or Linux PC. A Likewise Software representative said that the company's Mac plugin is easer to use than Apple's. Policies are stored in Active Directory. Does not require Mac OS X or schema changes.

Thursby Software Systems ADmitMac

ADmitMac is a full-featured Mac Active Directory and Windows network integration solution that installs on Mac OS X clients. Single sign-on identity and access management (IAM) for Macs can be supported from either Microsoft Active Directory/Group Policy Objects (GPO) or Apple's Mac Workgroup Manager. Other features include single sign on over VPN and support of the Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP). ADmitMac enforces Mac-relevant Windows Group Policies. It comes with Windows group policy templates that can be used to add to the number of Mac attributes that can be managed with Active Directory. It can also encrypt all network traffic to and from the Mac.

ADmitMac also enables Macs to access Microsoft DFS. ADmitMac also installs Thursby's own SMB/CIFS file and print client/server in Mac OS X, which typically has fewer problems than Mac OS X's built-in SMB/CIFS client. These and other feartures are also avaliable separately as the product DAVE. A description of the file/print sharing features in ADmitMac and DAVE is located below. (Thursby coauthored the Mac SMB/CIFS standard but with Microsoft in 2002.)

Nothing is installed on the servers. Schema changes are not required; nor is a Mac OS X Server.

ADmitMac PKI ADmitMac PKI is a version designed for direct connection to government or high security enterprise networks. Supports US government CAC and PIV (Personal Identity Verification) smart cards, including Oberthur ID One 128 v5.5 and Gemalto TOP DL GX4 144K cards. Compliance with 2007 NETCOM/JITC certifications.

Other features include single sign on over VPN and support of the Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP). It can also encrypt all network traffic to and from the Mac.

AFP file/print servers for Mac clients in Windows networks
Company Product Line Description
Microsoft Windows Server Microsoft no longer provides any special services for Mac clients. Windows Server 2003 was the last version to include Services for Macintosh, which was a native AFP (Apple File Protocol) file/print server. Macs can access file services in Windows 2007 and later through the Windows-native SMB/CIFS protocol.

Microsoft also does not provide a way for Mac OS X clients to access Distributed File System (DFS).

Apple OS X Server Includes an AFP file and print server for Mac clients and SMB/CIFS for Windows clients, and can act as a Windows PDC; as well as NFS (UNIX and Linux) file sharing (NFS), and FTP. Includes Web server, e-mail server, DHCP server, DNS server, SLP server, LDAP and NetInfo directory services, and management of Mac and Windows clients.
Acronis ExtremeZ-IP ExtremeZ-IP is an alternative to using SMB for file sharing. ExtremeZ-IP is an AFP file/print server that runs in Windows to support Mac clients. It also provides a set of other features to enable Macs to take advantage of Windows networks. The server is discoverable using Mac OS X's Bonjour and supports displaying and manipulating ACL permissions.

ExtremeZ-IP also provides access to DFS for Mac clients. It supports full DFS replication and, when authenticating against Active Directory at login, provides support for Mac clients to DFS-based portable home directories (for Mac OS X 10.5 or later). An add-on called DFSConnect adds support for DFS referrals to ExtremeZ-IP's AFP server as well as to Microsoft's Windows SMB servers for mixed environments. ExtremeZ-IP is the only solution on the market that enables AFP file sharing protocol to work in a DFS environment.

File name policies can prevent Mac users from creating filenames using characters that cannot be used in Windows filenames, and can suppress the creation of .DS_STORE file on the Windows server. The File Name Policy Reporter can search through shares and to find previously created files and folders that violate the filename policy.

Support for Apple's Network Spotlight (Mac OS X 10.5 and later) full-content file searching feature works with Microsoft's Windows Search built into Windows Server 2003 and later. Mac clients can use Spotlight to search an index created by Windows Search on the server, which returns a list of relevant files. This technique lightens the load on the Windows Server when Mac users search for files, since the files themselves aren't searched or download.

An add-on called ShadowConnect enables Mac users to access Microsoft VSS snapshots in order to browse and restore previous versions of files and deleted files and folders.

Helios EtherShare UB+, which is part of Helios UB+ EtherShare is an AFP file/print server that runs on Unix systems for support of Mac clients. It provides authentication via LDAP, AD/PDC, NIS and local server users is fully supported by the HELIOS Authentication server included in HELIOS UB+. Mac OS X Time Machine backup is supported. Helios says that the file service is "extremely fast." TCP/IP printer drivers support Bonjour discoverability by Mac clients. The print server supports PPD files per spool queue to enable exploiting special printer features. Administrators can do remote server administration from Mac OS X, Windows, and UNIX via HELIOS Admin.

Helios UB+ also includes PCShare, which includes services for Windows clients, including SMB/CIFS file sharing.

EtherShare UB+ and Helios UB+ run on Apple Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server, Linux, Sun Solaris, and IBM AIX

Netatalk open source project Netatalk An open source implementation of the Apple File Protocol (AFP) for Unix/Linux servers for support of Mac clients. Originated with BSD-derived servers. Netatalk includes support for routing AppleTalk, serving files over AFP (AppleShare), serving Unix printers and accessing AppleTalk printers over PAP (printer access protocol).
Novell Novell Open Enterprise Server (OES) Novell's Linux-based network server includes an AFP server for Mac clients for native-Mac file sharing support.

Novell OES provides integration of AFP clients with Novell eDirectory. Consolidation of user management through eDirectory simplifies network administration. All users who need access to the network are represented in eDirectory through User objects, which enables you to easily and effectively assign trustee rights, control access, and manage all user objects from a single location on the network. Includes auditing capabilities.

File sharing/transfer solutions that run on Macs
Company Product Line Description
Group Logic MassTransit MassTransit is a proprietary point-to-point file transfer product that is a secure, fast alternative to FTP tools, targeted at moving very large files and batch transfers, including over 100 GB at a time. The company says MassTransit is up to 20 times faster than FTP. The user interface is web based. Works person-to-person or server-to-server.

MassTransit also automatically handles Macintosh file properties. This means that users don't need to zip files before sending them to preserve Mac file forks.

MassTransit can be tightly integrated with Microsoft's Active Directory to automate user provisioning and delivery permissions. Simply assigning a user to a MassTransit group within Active Directory triggers a user to be provisioned within MassTransit with role-based access rights.

Object Development Sharity Sharity is a replacement to the SMB/CIFS file client/server in Mac OS X. Sharity includes several features not in Apple's implementation, including support for Microsoft DFS and implementation of NTLM, NTLMv2, NTLMSSP and Kerberos authentication. Network drives are not disconnected after an extended sleep. Sharity includes tools to read and modify Windows Access Control Lists (ACLs).

The developer claims that Sharity provides browsing of workgroups and servers that is more reliable than Apple's implementation.

Also available for other types of Linux and Unix.

Thursby Software Systems DAVE

(All of DAVE's features are also included in ADmitMac)

DAVE includes an SMB/CIFS file and print client and server for Mac OS X. It replaces the native SMB/CIFS support in Mac OS X, and is generally more stable and has more features. DAVE gives Macs access to Microsoft DFS. DAVE includes NTLMv2 secure authentication, kerberos, and other security options, and supports Domain Login Support. Thursby Software says that DAVE is optimized for working reliably with networked Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Creative Suite, Avid and Office for Mac documents. It also supports files larger than 2GB.

DAVE can mount volumes automatically when users log on. Allows "one-click" mounting of multiple shares Includes setup assistant for both Mac and PC Allows for Windows network password changes. Supports Microsoft standard browsing, including WINS. Supports Microsoft standard NTFS file format. When sharing files on the Mac, DAVE enables the user to select which folders or drives to share.

Unlike Sharity (above) DAVE also includes a print server to enable Windows to print to Mac-connected printers, and a print client for better access to PC printers.

(Thursby not only complies with the Mac SMB/CIFS standard but co-authored it with Microsoft in 2002.)

UniBrain FireNET Inexpensive software for two or more Windows and Macintosh machines that creates an Ethernet-compatibile network over FireWire. It uses the 400 Mbit/sec bandwidth of FireWire. The company's test results show that Ziff Davis's Windows NetBench yield more than twice the throughput speed of 100BaseT Ethernet. FireNET and Ethernet can coexist in the same environment. However, as of December 2010, the last update was version 1.2 for Mac OS X 10.2.

Groupware: Products related to MS Exchange Server, Entourage Outlook, and alternatives

Company Product Line Description
Microsoft Exchange Server Product Description product description product description product description product description product description product description product description product description product description product description
Derman Enterprises Sync'Em Sync'Em is a sync hub for Macs that's designed to multi-sync Microsoft Exchange Server, Google and Apple contact and calendar information. Includes a Meeting Agent to check Exchange for meeting invites and responses and respond directly via Exchange. This enables users to send invitations from iCal directly to Exchange. The company said that all the normal Exchange-based features will be updated on the Exchange server, including attendee tracking and Free/Busy calendar.
CME Software Support Outlook to Entourage Outlook to Entourage is an inexpensive utility called that transfers email, address book, contacts and calendar from Outlook for Windows to a Mac's Entourage account. Outlook to Entourage converts the Outlook PST file into an Entourage-compatible format, and will create an Entourage account just like the Outlook account. The company also offers similar products, Outlook to Mac Mail, Outlook Express to Mac Mail and Outlook Express to Entourage.
Kerio Kerio Connect Kerio Connect is a cross-platform groupware serverthat is a full alternative to Exchange Server alternative for small networks to medium-sized, multi-office organizations.It Includes mail, calendar, and notes, and supports multiple clients on multiple platforms, including Outlook, Entourage, Apple's Address Book, iCal, and Apple Mail, and Kerio's own WebMail.

Kerio Connect supports multiple servers working as a distributed domain cluster: multiple servers in a single domain. It also includes CardDAV address book synchronization for computers, support for mobile devices, as well as other features. The Kerio servers in the domain share contacts in global address lists (GAL), and can see each others users, groups, and shared resources, such as conference rooms. Administrators manage the Kerio domain using a web-based Administration Console. Kerio Connect 7 can sync with the Snow Leopard client's Address Book.

The CardDAV support goes beyond that of Snow Leopard Server's Address Book server, in that it enables users to change the GAL, more like Exchange Server than Address Book server. Phones can also access the GAL. The server supports push syncing of contacts and calendars iPhones, Blackberries, and Windows Mobile 5 and 6 devices. It also supports Exchange ActiveSync, so that devices that can sync to Exchange Server can sync to Kerio Connect 7. This includes the Palm Pre and Palm Pixi and Android OS phones, such as the Droid and Nexus.

Kerio Connect 7 runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, and supports clients of any platform. Kerio also offers a preconfigured virtual appliance version installed on a Linux guest OS, in a VMware virtual machine.

Teamsoft Team Agenda TeamAgenda is a real-time, cross-platform, group scheduler and resource manager that enables work groups to coordinate their activities, set up meetings and optimize their time management. Provides project management windows and automates timesheet production. TeamAgenda supports Palm PDA synchronization, and its group calendar solution can be integrated with your FileMaker Pro databases.

TeamAgenda software runs on Mac and Windows PCs and is available as an iPhone app.

Softhing Entourage Email Archive X Entourage Email Archive X (EEAX) is a Mac OS X utility that archives email and attachments received or sent by Microsoft Entourage 2008 and Web Services Edition (WSE). It has the ability to merge email database archives that come from different users. The database archives are now compatible with FileMaker Pro versions 7, 8, and 9. It enables users to archive message in different formats, including the native Entourage file format (.eml) and tab-delimited text. Version 5.0 adds addition fields in tab-text exports. Archives are searchable by Spotlight.

EEAX also adds a new feature to generate MBOX files starting from .eml files (the native Entourage file format) that have been archived with any previous version of Entourage Email Archive X.

Softhing Entourage Exchange Accounts Optimizer
Entourage Exchange Accounts Optimizer automatically moves old mail an Exchange account to a replicated structure within Entourage. A log that can show session information, and a feature let's you move forward in 10-day increments with the Option key and 50 days with the Command key.
Softhing Entourage Time Machine

An inexpensive Mac OS X utility for backing up, restoring, and exporting Entourage email messages. The software enables a user to search and browse backed up email, which is also searchable by Spotlight. Users can also read backed up email and open attached files. Entourage Time Machine can export selected email messages as a .mbox file.

Miscellaneous Mac-and-Windows Network Integration tools

Company Product Line Description
Equinux VPN Tracker A nearly "universal" virtual private network client for Mac OS X, VPN Tracker works with over 300 VPN gateways and devices.
Laplink Software PCsync PCsync is file transfer and syncing software for Windows PCs. In addition to adding support for all versions of Windows 7, PCsync 6 enables syncing and transferring files and folders between Windows PCs and Macs. A Mac Migration Wizard that assists users in moving some or all documents, media files, and other data from a Windows PC to a Mac. The company claims that PCsync is the fastest way to sync files between computers because of its SpeedSync technology that only transfers the portions of files that have changed, and not the entire file. PCsync can move files over a network connection, or a LapLink USB cable or LapLink Ethernet cable connected between two computers, as well as using USB flash drivers, memory cards, and external hard drives. the software can backup, mirror or replicate files from one computer to other computers. It can automatically compare and merge files and folders, and can provide unattended, automated syncing between multiple computers running Mac OS X, Windows XP and Vista, and Windows 7.
Laplink Software Switch & Save

Switch & Save can move or synchronize files and folders and settings from a PC to a Mac, and converts email, contacts and calendars to Mac formats. Switch & Sync can convert Windows Mail, Outlook Express 6 and later, and Outlook 2000 and later to Mac Mail and Address Book and Microsoft Entourage formats. The product consists of a USB cable and software that installs on both Mac OS X and Windows.

Users can also perform two-way syncing of files and folders, either manually or automatically with a schedule. Drag-and-drop copying of files is also supported. The Switch & Sync software only copies the portions of files that have changed since the last sync. This results in fast syncs of large amounts of data, according to Laplink. The software can also recognized when files have been renamed, replaced, or deleted.

Syncables Syncables 360, and Syncables for Workgroups

Syncables 360 is software that can sync data between Mac, Windows, and Linux computers, as well as share data and stream music and video between computers. It will also sync to Blackberry and Android phones. Syncables 360 can sync files, bookmarks (Internet Explorer and Firefox), music, and photos. It can also sync email message between Outlook and Windows Mail on Windows and Thunderbird on Mac OS X. Syncing options include two-way syncing and one-way migration of data.

Syncables can also stream music and video from one computer to be viewed on another over a local network. Users can also view files located on another computer. Cross-platform file sharing comes with password protection. For Internet sharing, Syncables can upload and playback content to Facebook, YouTube and SmugMug from within the application.

Syncables 360 is the version that supports Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. (Sycables Desktop is Windows only.) Volume licences available.

Thursby Software Systems PKard for Mac

PKard for Mac is software that enables U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Mac users with Common Access Cards (CACs) to access secure web sites across the Internet, such as from home or while traveling. PKard is a simpler, web-only version of Thursby Software's ADmitMac PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) Active Directory integration software. Thursby said the new software supports all US Government CAC smart cards.

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Terminal Emulators for Mac (3270, 5250, other)




David Alverson


Venerable old Mac terminal emulator, now available for both OS 8/9 and Mac OS X.

Brown University
Computing and Information Services

Peter DiCamillo

Tn3270 for Macintosh


Allows a Macintosh computer with a TCP/IP network connection to negotiate a Telnet session emulating an IBM 3270 terminal. (Also supports line mode Telnet connections as a VT52 terminal.) Features of the emulation include color, extended highlighting, APL and 3179-compatible graphics. Can act as an FTP server for file transfer and supports file transfer as part of a terminal session when IBM VM/CMS is being used on the host computer.


CelView (for Mac OS 9 and earlier)

Apple's old SNAps, which was sold and eventually become MacRumba, is now Celview from Celcorp. TN 3270 and TN 5250 versions.



MacEmulate will work on any computer that can accept one of the supported terminal types (Wyse, TeleVideo, Hazeltine, etc.). It has been used with a wide variety of host operating systems including Unix, Xenix, PICK, SuperDOS, Alpha Micro, Basic 4, IRIS, HP, A/UX, and many others.


DataComet (sharware pricing)

Telnet and TN3270 terminal emulation. AppleScript and macro support. Compatible with Mac OS X Beta Classic; supports PowerBook dialup links

Ericom Software

PowerTerm Interconnect

A commercial 3270 and 5250 mainframe terminal emulator for Mac OS X, released in April 2002 (see this press release). Includes customizable function keys, multiple concurrent sessions, menu bar, scalable and selectable fonts, intelligent copy & paste, FTP client, scripting. Connects over over network, modem or direct serial links.

Mocha Soft

Mocha TN5250 for Mac OS X

TN 5250 emulator for connecting to an IBM AS/400. Free 30-day trial.


5PM Term

5250, 3270, and other terminal emulators (Originally from White Pine Software.)

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