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[K12OSN] Supporting Macs on a Linux server

> Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2002 06:37:42 +0700
> From: David Bucknell <david members iteachnet org>
> To: k12osn redhat com, schoolforge-discuss schoolforge net
> Subject: [K12OSN] Supporting Macs on a Linux server
> Reply-To: k12osn redhat com
> I just received this question from a school superintendent --
> the real school policy setter -- asking about experience
> supporting Mac workstations on a Linux server. I use samba
> to support wintel boxes, but have only read about Netatalk
> until now. Could experienced users please respond?

I'll do my best.

> Here's the question, obviously backed up by a tech person
> who's done the basic research:
> "If you do use Linux, do  you use it in a Macintosh
> environment and how do you find the Netatalk solution working
> on your network for older boxes versus OS X?

I have had no real problems with netatalk in my use of it over the past few

> Do you use Red Hat or YellowDog or what ever
> distribution?

I am using the K12LTSP server in one environment, and a RH7.3 in another.  Works

> Do any of you find the NFS a good solution with Mac OS X or
> is it still better for your school to still run an AppleTalk protocol
> versus TCP/IP? "

I do not run NFS to the Macs.  I use either AFP (7.5.X and up) and SAMBA (OS9
and OSX).  This is just about verbatim from a previous post I made on this
subject, but it should give you some insight into what I am doing.

I have one client who has about 15 older Mac terminals (Performa and LC series)
and have a dozen newer IMac's.  We created a minimal 7.5.3 image that will boot
the older Mac's from the local HD and then launch MI/X to connect to the LTSP
server for use as an XTerm.  I ripped out everything from the 7.5.3 image that I
didn't need to run MI/X over the network, and then use a program called OnGuard
to lock down the drive.  Now if it takes more than 15 minuets to repair a
problem on one of these Mac's we just reimage the drive from CD.

For the IMac's (will also work with most newer WorldROM Macs, i.e. any iMac,
iBook, G3s, G4s and the newer E series) we do a network boot from k12LTSP with a
modified version DHCPd.  It works with OSX 10.2, OS9.1 and OS7.5.3.  For most of
the newer mac's in this office I use essentially the same boot image I use on
the older Mac's hard drives to do a network boot and then automatically launch
MI/X to connect to the LTSP server.  Some of the newer mac's netboot a full OSX
10.2 image with all of the toys, again from the K12LTSP server.  These still
have the option of using MI/X to the K12LTSP server for basic apps, but run the
more processor / memory intensive applications (Photoshop, Quark, etc) locally.

At this site the K12LTSP server is a dual PIII 1.8Ghz, 4GB of RAM and 2 180GB
SCSI drives in a RAID-0 array.  We also run a dedicated NT4 print server on a
PII500Mhz, 512MB RAM and 4GB IDE drive, a Win2K terminal server (for the
financial apps), and a backup server (RH7.3 on a PIII 1.1Ghz, 2 180GB SCSI
drives, used to back up the other servers on an hourly basis). It took quite a
bit to get this set up stable, but I have not had to touch it about 5 months,
and it remains very stable.

Anyways, if/since you want to try it yourself the following websites have been
the most useful to me thus far.  Let me know how you do with it. (PS Add more
sites to this list that have been helpful in supporting Macs on K12LTSP!)

This page has all of the basic information, and the DHCPd patch:
(down a lot, mirrored at http://frank.watsons.edin.sch.uk/~ali/nb/)

I found this site to be very useful:

Another site with a lot of good details:

These sites were OK:


You will need this:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/netatalk/ (also has a webmin mod)

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