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Software for Apple Computers

Macintosh AppleShare client

AppleShare client software is provided on the system software installation disks for System 6 onwards. A separate AppleShare client installer is required for earlier versions of the system software. Unfortunately system software for the original compact Macs is not available for download from Apple so you will have to ask around on the vintage Mac newsgroups or mailing lists for a copy.

Mac 128, 512K and 512Ke

The original Macintosh 128 does not have enough memory to run any version of the AppleShare client software. A Mac 128 with a third party RAM upgrade can be treated as a Mac 512K.

The Mac 512K (first model with the same 64KB ROMs as the Mac 128) requires the "System 1.0" boot floppy and the "Workstation Installer for 512K v1.1" floppy; these two floppies are used to create a new boot floppy containing System 3.3, Finder 5.5 with support for an AppleShare 1.x server. I have successfully connected to modern Macs running peer-to-peer file sharing on System 7.x and Mac OS 8.6 from this configuration. A later version of the AppleShare client is required for some third party AppleShare servers.

In spite of what Apple might say, it is possible to make a Mac 512K boot floppy containing the AppleShare 2.0.2 client software. Working on a later Mac (eg Plus, SE, SE/30), copy the contents of the boot floppy described in the previous paragraph onto an 800K HFS format floppy. Run the installer utility for System 6.0.2 and perform a custom installation of the AppleShare workstation software to create an HFS disk containing System 3.3, Finder 5.5 and AppleShare client 2.0.2. Copy this system back onto a 400K MFS format floppy disk. This configuration allowed me to connect to a Windows 2000 server running Services for Macintosh.

The Mac 512Ke uses the 512K motherboard fitted with Mac Plus ROMs, allowing it to use an 800K floppy drive. It is possible to use a heavily cut down version of System 6 with this model in addition to the system software for the standard Mac 512. A Mac 512Ke with a third party memory upgrade can be treated as a Mac Plus without a SCSI port.

System 6 Macs and later

System 6 has the AppleShare client software built-in but you may need a later version for some third party or newer AppleShare servers. Several updates of the "Network Software Installer" (NSI) are still available from Apple for different versions of System 6.

Older Macs running System 7 should update to the final version of the "Classic networking" AppleShare client. This requires Network Software Installer 1.5.1 (NSI 1.5.1) which can be downloaded from Apple.

Newer Macintoshs use Open Transport (OT) networking which was introduced with the first PCI bus PowerMacs. Early versions of OT tended to be buggy so you should make sure that you are using version 1.1.2 for a Mac running any version of System 7. Nowadays, OT 1.1.2 works well with a Macintosh with a 68040 or PowerPC processor and lots of RAM (OT will also run on 68030 Macs but performance may be sluggish). OT is also easier to use for conecting a Mac to the internet via a PPP modem connection or a cable/ADSL link.

Macintosh peer-to-peer file sharing

Peer-to-peer file sharing has been provided with all versions of the Macintosh operating system since System 7. You can share files to any computer which has a suitable AppleShare client, so sharing to a PC or Apple II (or Mac running older system software) is possible.

Naturally there are limitations with any "free" software. File sharing is great for quick and dirty sharing to one or two other computers (but don't be tempted to use it in place of a dedicated server if you want to minimise administration). There is a maximum of ten concurrent connections and the "server" Mac slows down horribly when others are accessing it.

A limited version of file sharing with System 6 is possible using a piece of software called "Public Folder". This software was once available from the Claris web pages but nowadays you'll have to ask around -- try doing a web search for the Macintosh 512 User Group (mac512ug). The software is quite tricky to configure -- I'll sort out instructions some time.

Older computers may not work with the Mac OS X implementation of peer-to-peer file sharing "out of the box". Instructions for Mac OS X are provided at System 6 Heaven

TOPS peer-to-peer file sharing

Before System 7, TOPS software provided a popular file sharing solution for Macintoshes, PCs, Sun workstations and others. Pre-System 7 versions of TOPS did not use a standard AppleShare client. For the Mac, the software comprised a system extension (INIT) and desk accessories for mounting and sharing folders and for email. The system extension was serialised so you need at least two copies before you can actually try it out.

Surprisingly, it was possible to mount an AppleShare server volume on a Mac client and then use TOPS to serve the volume to a PC running the TOPS client. This saved the significant cost of purchasing the AppleShare client software for the PC.

The TOPS products were marketed by Sun Microsystems and later by Sitka. Other products include Tops Terminal (Telnet/FTP/Modem communications package), LocalTalk cards for the PC and Flashcard networking (an incompatible but faster version of LocalTalk).

Macintosh AppleShare server

The AppleShare server is commercial software and, unless purchased second hand, you're unlikely to be able to afford it. There are lots of gotchas with the AppleShare server -- different versions have different hardware requirements, for example -- but with AS2 and AS3 you can boot a diskless Apple II over the network.

The latest versions of AppleShare (5 onwards) support faster file serving using the IP protocol. Generally, these versions are too modern for discussion here but it should be noted that there is no suitable AppleShare/IP client software for Apple IIs, older PCs or System 6 Macs. However, such clients should still be able to access the server using the older AppleTalk protocol.

Apple II software

Apple IIs can only use the AppleTalk protocol on a LocalTalk network to connect to an AppleShare server. Apple IIs can only act as clients and there are no peer-to-peer or server products. Marinetti (TCP/IP for the IIgs) now supports LocalTalk and MacIP. The LanceGS ethernet card does not support AppleTalk.

Apple IIgs

System 6.0.1 includes the AppleShare client but it is not installed as part of the default installation. System 5 also includes the AppleShare client but I am not familiar with this release. Marsha modified a copy of the AppleShare IIgs CDEV to support a number of third party AppleShare servers. You should be able to find a link to the CDEV by asking in the comp.sys.apple2 Usenet newsgroup or try my Networking Links page.

Note that the Apple IIgs is unable to see NT4 and 2000 AppleShare servers on a flat network with one Appletalk zone (*). To make servers visible, you must use a hardware router (eg GatorBox or Fastpath) with Appletalk seed routing enabled or you must enable the AppleTalk routing service on your server. I don't know if this problem exists with NT 3.1 or 3.5 servers. Windows Server 2003 has not been tested by me for Apple II support.

A nice guide to configuring a ROM 3 IIgs as a remote boot AppleShare client used to be be found at -- a copy of the document is provided on this site. A number of people reported on comp.sys.apple2 that they were unable to remote boot a ROM 01 IIgs using this procedure and that they were forced to use System 6.0.0.

Apple IIe

The AppleShare client software is not downloadable (in 3.5" disk format) from Apple at the time of writing but you should be able to get a copy by asking on comp.sys.apple2. If you are unable to use 3.5" disks on your IIe, don't worry; it is possible to transfer the required files onto a 5.25" ProDos format disk. A copy of David Empson's instructions for creating a 5.25" client disk is provided on this site.

The Apple IIe can also remote boot from a AppleShare 2 or 3 server.

LocalTalk software bridges on the Macintosh

A software bridge is a Mac system control panel that can be used to join a LocalTalk network to an Ethernet or TokenRing network. There have been several commercial products (eg Sonic LocalBridge, Apple's LocalTalk Bridge) plus free versions (eg limited version of Sonic LocalBridge that suports just one LocalTalk device).

The unrestricted version of Apple's LocalTalk Bridge can now be freely downloaded from Apple's ftp servers. Two articles in Apple's Tech Info Library (#s 30774 and 60290) cover most of the issues when using this software. Note that there are limitations when using this software with Mac OS 8.5 onwards. The bridge only supports the AppleTalk protocol; a different type of router is required to support TCP/IP.

TCP/IP software routers on the Macintosh

A Macintosh connected to the internet can run a software TCP/IP router to provide internet access for other Macintoshes on a LocalTalk network. AppleTalk is the only network protocol that can run natively on LocalTalk. Third party vendors of LocalTalk hardware developed a mechanism to include TCP/IP data inside AppleTalk to overcome this limitation. The original KIP (Kinetics Internet Protocol) was adopted by Apple and is now known as MacIP.

The basic TCP/IP client for the Macintosh (MacTCP for older Macs or Open Transport for more modern Macs) supports MacIP, so any Mac TCP/IP software (Telnet, FTP clients, web browsers etc) can use it automatically. MacIP data (TCP/IP inside AppleTalk packets) are transparently converted at the TCP/IP router. MacIP is only available for Macintoshes although the Marinetti TCP/IP protocol for the Apple IIgs could be extended to include it.

Hardware routers such as the Kinetics Fastpath or Cayman Systems GatorBox have traditionally been used as MacIP routers. Software routers have gained popularity recently, notably IPNetRouter and VicomSoft Internet Gateway. IPNetRouter is cheaper than the alternatives and runs comfortably on an older Mac with a 68030 processor. I have successfully used IPNetRouter running on a Mac SE/30 to connect a Mac Plus (1Mb RAM) running System 6 to the internet; LocalTalk Bridge was run on the SE/30 simultaneously to give access to AppleShare servers on the local network.

This page last updated: 16 October 2005

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