Services for Macintosh SFM

by Wayne Maples [Published on 20 April 2004 / Last Updated on 20 April 2004]

Windows NT's Services for Macintosh ( SFM ) gives NT server AppleTalk Filing Protocol ( AFP ) support so that Mac users can then access the NT server just like a Mac AFP server. If you have a a few Macs and want to add file and print sharing using your existing NT infrastructure, then this is a good approach. Once SFM is installed you can create Mac-accessible volumes through the MacFile option added to Explorer.

A gotcha! for NT admins is the no-nesting rule for macintosh-accessible volumes. You can not net mac volumes. Create any shares at the same level as in c:\mac\macshare1, c:\mac\macshare2, ... You can not nest shares as in c:\mac\maclevel1share and c:\mac\maclevel1share\level2share. When you create a mac-accessible volume, you specify a password which an Mac client must use to gain access to the share. You can also apply Mac permissions which map to NT permissions:

Mac Permission NT Permission
See Files Read
See Folders Read
Make Changes Write and Delete

Another issue is partition type. Macintosh files use a data fork and a resource fork. The data fork contains the content of the file whereas the resource fork contains Macintosh OS info including icon, font, menu, and code. NTFS supports both a data forks and resource forks whereas FAT/FAT32 only supports the data fork. Thus file sharing for Macintosh has to be on an NTFS partition. Mac print sharing can be installed on a FAT partition since only the data fork is the only fork used for printing.

There is a network issue in supporting Macintoshs. Older Macs have LocalTalk ports which is SLOW 230Kbps. If cost is no issue, you can add EtherTalk support. If it is an issue, you can link to the Ethernet domain by adding a LocalTalk / EtherTalk router.

SFM can be used for data sharing between Macs and PCs. SFM does not do data translation. The files are stored in Mac formats, it emulates a Mac AFP server. PCs can access the data if they have an application that does data-translation. Microsoft Word is an example of a cross-platform application that would work. A gotcha! if you try this is long file name support. Mac clients support up to 32 characters in file names whereas Win9x and NT support up to 256 character file names. If all documents are created by Mac clients and PC clients access only, there should be no problem.

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