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Linux Machine as File Server for Macs

2006-02-08 15:33:33

I'm not sure exactly why I want to try this, but it seems like a good idea. I have this super cheap Dell file server I built for less $1/GB. It has 1TB of disk storage (on 4 250GB disks), and was about $900, including the server itself. It's some low-end model that has 4 SATA slots. The key is not buying the disks from Dell. You can get 250GB SATA disks for about $110 now, and the server is like $399 or something. I'll bet you could get one even cheaper if you tried.

In any case, the only way I have been using the server is do network backups of my Macs at home: an new one (mac mini), a sort of old one (2003 G5) and a wicked old one (2000 G4 Cube). Each mac is pretty isolated otherwise, and there is a lot of overlap, and the small one (the mini) is always low on disk space. So I wanted to be able to use that big file server to do something like store all my music files and iMovie projects in one place (not counting backups). But I've had bad luck in the past mounting network file systems on a Mac (samba or NFS). It seems like the lack of resource-fork stuff almost works, but not quite. Things get weird, and break in odd ways.

So my hope was that I could have the Linux machine serve up Apple shares more "natively" and that would make things better. I did some research and found netatalk, which is a full implementation of an Appletalk file server for unix. So far, it's worked like a charm. I installed the RPM, and was able to connect to my home directory on the linux machine without any problem. I'll have to try more things later tonight, like editing an iMovie project over the network and see how that goes.