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Cross-Platform Network Basics: Part 2

Network Services

Note: the information on this page is Pre-OS X.

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Cross-Platform Network Services

Network services are the reasons for networks exist in the first place. The services are the user features, such as file sharing, printer sharing, email, and access to Web servers. Internet and intranet services are usually completely cross-platform. However, other types of networks can also run services for both Mac OS and Windows users.

Network services can be provided in two ways: on a peer-to-peer basis, without the use of a server computer, or on a client/server basis, which uses a server computer to store files or other information.

File Sharing

File sharing is the ability to access a set of files residing on another user's machine or dedicated file server. Mac OS and Windows come with software to enable peer-to-peer file sharing with similar computers as well as with certain types of servers. Mac OS 8 also allows Windows users to access Macintosh hard drives with features called Personal Net Finder and Personal Web Sharing. There are also third-party products that allow Windows and Mac users to access each other's machines (see Windows Solutions).

Mac-Based File Sharing

For years, Macs have had the ability to make folders available to other users over an AppleTalk network. Mac OS 8 extends file sharing to TCP/IP, so that any Windows machine can access designated shared folders on a Mac using a Web browser.

AppleTalk-based file sharing is easier to set up and has more capabilities, but requires Windows users to install third-party software in order to participate (these products are described in MacWindows Solutions). TCP/IP file sharing allows Windows users to view and download Mac hard drives with any Web browser, but they can't transfer files to the Mac. There are also products that allow Macs to access Windows machines over TCP/IP networks (see MacWindows Solutions).

Enabling a Mac to be Accessed by Other Computers

Enabling other computer users to access a Mac's files and folders entails turning on the file sharing software, selecting folders to share, assigning access privileges (deciding if users can read and/or write data to the folder), and optionally creating a list of users with passwords.

Some of the steps are the same for AppleShare (AFP) file sharing and for IP-based Web Sharing. For instance:

We'll first discuss enabling AppleTalk-based File Sharing, followed by TCP/IP Web Sharing. Following these sections is a discussion on how to access Macs with File Sharing enabled.

Enabling AppleShare File Sharing

Open the File Sharing control panel (called the Sharing Setup control panel in versions before Mac OS 8.) Type in an owner name, password, and computer name. Now click on the Start button to turn File Sharing on. File Sharing can also be turned on in the Control Strip.

Next, go to the Finder to select a folder to share. You can also share an entire hard drive, CD-ROM, or any other volume. Select the folder or drive icon and choose Get Info>Sharing from the File menu. Check the box labeled "Share this item and its contents."

Here, you can limit the access privileges for the Macs "owner" (the user of the Mac), for all users on the network, and for certain users or groups of users. (You create users and passwords in the Users and Groups tab of the File Sharing control panel.) From the pop-up menus, you can choose Read and Write, Read Only, or Write Only. (Prior to Mac OS 8, these choices were were check boxes instead of pop-up menus.) A write-only folder is called a drop box-users can copy files into it, but they can't open the folder to see what's inside.

Close the Sharing window, and you're finished. You can share additional folders the same way.

Enabling IP Web Sharing

There are two ways Mac OS 8 users can make files available over TCP/IP:

--Personal Web Sharing, which turns a folder containing HTML files into a mini Web server. Users view HTML pages in a Web browser.

--Personal NetFinder. Network users can use a Web browser to view a Finder-like list of Mac folders and files in a Web browser. Users can open folders and download the files from the Mac. These includes non-HTML files, such as word processor, graphics, and desktop publishing documents.

Enabling Personal Web Sharing or Personal NetFinder starts with the Web Sharing control panel. You first select a folder to share with the Select button.

If you want to create a mini-Web server via Personal Web Sharing, choose a folder containing HTML pages (such as the Web Pages folder that Mac OS 8 can install). You then use the Web Sharing control panel to select one of your HTML files as a home page. Next, select the "Give everyone read-only access" option and click the Start button to publish the Web site.

If you want to share files via Personal NetFinder, you can select any folder to share. Press the Home Page Select button and select "None." Next, select the button that says "Use File Sharing to control user access."

Now you'll have to turn open the File Sharing control panel and turn File Sharing on, just as you would to enable AppleTalk File Sharing (see above). It doesn't matter if AppleTalk is turned on or off in the Chooser.

With File Sharing turned on, you now have to share the folder you have selected using the Sharing command in the Finder's File menu, as you would to enable AppleTalk File Sharing. The setting of read and write access privileges and creation of users is also the same as for AppleTalk File Sharing (see above).

With Personal NetFinder enabled, Web browser users see your files with a Finder-like interface. (See illustration below).

One warning: With either type of Web Sharing, the host Mac must have an IP address. If the TCP/IP control panel of the host Mac is set to get an IP address from a server on the Internet or local intranet, the Mac will log on when Web Sharing is activated via the Web Sharing control panel. If your are getting your IP address from a dial-up PPP server and the connection goes down, the host Mac will automatically redial and reconnect until you turn off Web Sharing.

Personal Web Sharing and Personal NetFinder can run on Mac OS 7.6 with Open Transport 1.1 or later. Mac OS 8 comes with Open Transport 1.2, which fixes some problems, including a crash-causing bug known as the Ping of Death.

Accessing Files via AppleTalk File Sharing

Mac users can access other Macs or AppleShare-compatible file servers, such as a Mac running AppleShare server software or Intel-based servers such as Windows NT Server and Novell Netware. Mac users can access Windows machines through this same AppleTalk mechanism if the Windows machines are running third-party AppleShare-compatible software (see MacWindows solutions). Windows users can access Macs with File Sharing turned on and Macs running AppleShare server software using third party software. The procedure for logging on from Windows differs according to which product you're using.

On a Mac, all computers running AppleShare-compatible software are selected in the Chooser (in the Apple menu), regardless of what the operating system the host computer runs. To log on,click on the AppleShare icon in the Chooser. A list of computers will appear in the field on the right, including users' Macs or Windows PCs, Mac servers, or Intel-based servers. The name appearing for each user's machine is the Computer Name entered in a Mac's File Sharing (or Sharing Setup) control panel, or the Computer Name of a Windows machine entered into the appropriate place in the third-party AppleTalk software. (Windows NT Servers call this a Macintosh volume name.)

Next, double-click a computer name, type in a user name and password, or click Guest (if enabled), and click Okay.

Another window will come up listing shared items on the computer you've logged into. These items can be Mac or Windows hard drives, Mac folders, or Windows directories. Select one or more items and click Okay. The selected items will appear as drive icons on the Finder's desktop. The mounted network volumes will act as ordinary hard drives, allowing you to copy files to and from them using drag on drop, unless your read or write access privileges are restricted.

Accessing Files Via IP File Sharing

Any Mac and Windows users with a browser can access a Mac with Personal Web Sharing or Personal NetFinder enabled. You first need to type in the Mac's IP address into your Web browser. Personal Web Sharing will appear as an ordinary Web site. A Mac folder shared with Personal NetFinder will appear as a list of files and folders with icons. Click on a folder icon, and the browser displays the contents of that folder. Clicking on a file link copies the file to your hard drive.


Windows-based File Sharing

Windows workstations do not have a provision to allow Macs to access them without the addition to software on the Macs or PCs. One solution, Thursby's DAVE, installed on Mac OS, puts Mac OS systems on Windows 95 or NT networks using Windows' NetBIOS over TCP/IP services on a peer-to-peer basis. Several other vendors install AppleTalk file sharing on Windows machines (see MacWindows solutions.)

On a client/service basis, Windows NT Server and Novell Netware can directly support Macs.

Windows NT Server

Windows NT Server comes with built-in file and print sharing support for Macintosh clients over AppleTalk. This is called Services for Macintosh. Windows NT Services for Macintosh allows Macintosh users to access a volume on the Windows NT server through the Chooser and to access printers connected to the NT server. (Microsoft requires a Windows NT Server Client Access License for each client computer accessing Windows NT.)

According to Microsoft, Windows NT Services for Macintosh will support an unlimited number of simultaneous AppleTalk connections to a Windows NT server, and Macintosh sessions will be integrated with Windows NT sessions. The per-session memory overhead is approximately 15K.

Mac and UNIX users can manage a Windows NT Server with Microsoft's Web Administration, part of NT Server that enables anyone with a Web browser to remotely administer Microsoft Windows NT Server over a TCP/IP network.

Mac users can also access a Windows NT Server remotely via a PPP connection to NT's Remote Access Server. Richard Birchall has a web page describing how to do this.

NOTE: Although other files servers (AppleShare IP and UNIX) can serve files to Macs over TCP/IP, Windows NT Services for Macintosh cannot; It requires AppleTalk. (Macs and NT can do other things with TCP/IP, however.) Windows 2000 Server DOES serve files to Macs over TCP/IP. There are several products for the Mac or NT Server that enable you do file sharing of TCP/IP, including Thursby's DAVE and MacServeIP. (See the MacWindows Network Solutions page for more info on specific products.)

Installing and Setting up NT Services for Macintosh

Services for Macintosh consists of three parts:

1. The AppleTalk Protocol is the layer of AppleTalk Phase 2 protocols that delivers data to its network destination. The AppleTalk Protocol can be configured through the Network icon in the Windows NT Server Control Panel.

2. File Server for Macintosh, also called MacFile, allows you to designate a directory as a Macintosh-accessible volume, ensures that Macintosh filenames are valid Windows NT file system (NTFS) names, and handles permissions. When set up, File Server for Macintosh commands appear in the Windows NT Server File Manager and Server Manager under the MacFile menu.

3. Print Server for Macintosh, also called MacPrint, allows all network users to send print jobs to a spooler on the computer running Windows NT Server and continue to work, rather than wait for their print jobs to complete. Windows-based users can also review the print jobs in Print Manager.

For instructions on how to install and configure Windows NT Services for Macintosh, see the MacWindows Tutorial description with screen shots. (Or, you can view the French version of the same page.)

When you set up Services for Macintosh on a computer running Windows NT Server, the AppleTalk Protocol, File Server for Macintosh, and the Print Server for Macintosh are started, or enabled.

More information on running Windows NT and Macs together

MacWindows has several other pages devoted to help you run Windows NT/2000 Server with Mac clients:

Also check the MacWindows Site Map page for further MacWindows information on this topic.

MS Exchange and Outlook for Mac
- Problems with Time and Time Stamps
NT Service Pack 4
NT Server tips page

Novell NetWare

For many years, Novell has been in the client/server enterprise networking business with its NetWare network operating system and IntranetWare product line. Both have supported Macintosh clients. The Client for Mac OS is Mac software that gives Mac OS users complete access to NetWare 4 through Novell Directory Services (NDS). NDS enables users to locate NetWare file and print services.The Mac OS client can use the IPX protocol to access NetWare services. The NetWare 4 and earlier server also supports AppleTalk for Macs.

In 1998, Novell discontinued its support of Macintosh. Prosoft Engineering took over Mac support and released NetWare Client 5.12 for Mac OS . It fixed some bugs as well as added features. For instance, you can now access IPX volumes and printers from the Mac Chooser. Previously, Mac users had to use a special application to access IPX resources.

NetWare 5 moved to TCP/IP as its main protocol. At this point, there is no way for Macs to access NetWare 5 through TCP/IP. However, the Prosoft NetWare Client 5.12 for Mac OS does work with the IPX-enhanced version of NetWare 5.0. Prosoft is planning a NetWare 5 TCP/IP solution for Macs.

See our NetWare and Macintosh Issues page for more information, as well as tips and troubleshooting reports.

See MacWindows Solutions for a further description of the NetWare Client for Mac OS. See MacWindows Tips for information about Netware and Mac OS 8.

Cross-platform Network Printing

The biggest barrier to cross-platform printing is the page description language used by the computers and printers to communicate. Macintosh and many Windows systems use the Postscript page description language. Macs and Windows machines can both print to Postscript printers if they are both using the same network protocol (such as AppleTalk) or are both connected to a printer server. However, many PC printers use Hewlett Packard's Printer-Command Language (HP PCL). Macs can't ordinarily print to HP PCL, but there are products you can use that enable Macs to communicate with PCL printers (see MacWindows Solutions). Other printers are bilingual, and can recognize what page description language an incoming print job is using.

As with file services, network printing can be peer-to-peer-with computers communicating directly with network printers-or use a print server. Stand-alone network printers are available that connect directly into LocalTalk, Ethernet, Token Ring, or 100BaseT networks. If the computers are communicating directly with the network printer, Mac and Windows computers must use the same network interface. Many networkable printers contain a slot that can accept a network interface card, including LocalTalk and Ethernet 10/100BaseT. Network printers also use a network protocol, such as AppleTalk or TCP/IP, to communicate. Some printers can use multiple network protocols.

Other printers are connected to a networked PC or Mac, and are shared using print-sharing software running on that computer. In this case, the host computer could be a user's machine or a dedicated server. Printer servers can also control and manage stand-alone network printers. Some Intel-based server solutions, such as Windows NT Server and Novell Netware, enable Macs to print to PC network printers. Most of the products that allow Macs and Windows to share files also include cross-platform printer sharing (see MacWindows solutions).

For more on cross-platform networking, see Part 1 of the Networking Tutorial:

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