Mac Users:Filing 101

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If you are on the CSE network, you can use any of the department's SAMBA-enabled file servers using the Macintosh's built-in SAMBA file client. Practically, this means you can get to nearly any Windows machine, or file server, and nearly all Unix NFS servers. Although the Mac does support NFS directly, the rather weak security properties of the protocol make it a poor choice for Macintosh users (it's also much more difficult to integrate in with the departmental infrastructure).

WARNING: SAMBA and NFS behave badly on your Mac if you have mounted volumes but then disconnect from the network (for example, leave the building). I recommend that you disconnect any shared volumes before leaving the network. It is possible to do this afterwards, but it is painful.

One thing to ask yourself before you start importing and exporting files to your Mac is: Why am I doing this? You won't find any useful Mac binaries on departmental servers, so there's no win there. Moreover, if you are using your Mac as your primary machine, then you should be able to use http or scp to handle most of your work. Not importing is much simpler than importing, since it reduces your dependencies on some other machine over which you have no control.

Accessing your home directory from within the department

  1. SSH into your box.
  2. mount | tail -n1. You are looking for server:/mount/folder/username.
  3. Go into the Finder. Cmd-K, or select "Go | Connect To Server"
  4. smb://server/homes/
  5. Login. CSERESEARCH is the domain.

Accessing your home directory from outside of the department

You can also achieve this solution from your house, but not directly, since SMB ports seem to be blocked by most ISPs. You need to use an SSH tunnel to forward port 139 (a privileged port) from your mac to your fileserver at school. This requires you to know the root password for your mac box.

  1. Setup the ssh tunnel: sudo ssh <some_uwcse_machine> -L139:<yourfileserver>:139 -l username
  2. You will be prompted for two passwords. The first is your root password on your mac, the second is your cse password.
  3. Once you have a prompt to the machine you've just logged into, you need to leave that connection open (just minimize the window, or whatever).
  4. Now, complete steps 3 to 5 above using as the servername. The line (for everyone, regardless of server) looks like this: smb://

Accessing the CSE Distributed File System Infrastructure

NOTE: The Mac does not ship with a DFS client preloaded. The following assumes you are using a third-party client. It's hard to keep track of all the different servers that various file system volumes are kept on. CSE uses Microsoft's Distributed File System (DFS) to make nearly all departmental servers available through a single interface. See CSE NTDFS for many many more details. But, you really don't need the details. All you need to know is that you can mount the entire departmental file system infrastructure directly through the finder with a single operation:

  1. Go to the finder.
  2. Select "Go | Connect To Server"
  3. Use smb:// for the address to connect to.
  4. You'll then be asked to authenticate. Set domain to CSERESEARCH or CSEPCLAB, depending on which domain your account exists in. Set username to your username IN the specified domain. Supply your password.
  5. Choose the "CS" volume.

You should now be able to go to your top level file system view in the finder and see a mounted network volume called "CS". From the shell, you can get here via /Volumes/

So, why shouldn't you just use NTDFS for everything, including your home directories? For some reason, NTDFS access from the Mac to Unix and NT home directories doesn't quite work properly (permissions problem?). This may change in the future, but until then, use explicit imports for your home directories (if you need them directly), and rely on NTDFS for everything else.

Accessing your Mac file system from a Windows PC

Importing your Mac file system to a Windows PC is very straightforward. Under "System Preferences|Sharing" enable "Windows File Sharing." Then, from the PC on which you wish to import the file system, name the file by means of your Mac's host name or IP address as in: \\ You should be asked for a username and a password. Enter them. That's it. Your Mac files are now available on the windows box.

Accessing your Mac file system from a Unix machine

This is a little trickier. If the Unix machine you are on supports Samba, then the easiest thing to do is import as described for a PC (smb_mount under most Unix systems). If your Unix box only supports NFS, then you'll need to hack your Mac's NFS exports table, or play around with Network Utility and NetInfo Manager. I wouldn't recommend this however.