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Anyone had any success using Apple's portable home directory feature without OS X server or a linux server?
June 20, 2008 4:09 PM   Subscribe

I've read this, this, this and a bunch of other sites. I've got a Mac Pro and a Powerbook I'd like to share home directories over, but I'd rather not purchase OS X Server or get a small machine up and running Linux to deal with authentication (LDAP). Anyone authenticate locally, but still use the portable home directories? Alternatively, anyone just unison their entire /user/ directory? Thanks!
posted by Brian Puccio to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you're after synchronization between accounts, have you looked into rsyncx? You can do that without OS X Server or Linux. Regular old OS X runs ssh just fine. Here are some helpful instructions to get you started.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:18 PM on June 20, 2008


I first thought of rsync, but then it seems that rsync doesn't handle OS X's resource forks as well and I see that sometimes people reccomend unison over rsync for two-way syncing.

Thanks, though!
posted by Brian Puccio at 5:53 PM on June 20, 2008


It may help to clarify what you're actually looking for.

In Apple enterprise parlance, a "portable home directory" is one that synchronizes back and forth between a server and the desktop you're on. There's a distinct local copy made.

There's a difference between that and a "network home directory", which is what a few of your links reference. A network home is one that mounts a network volume every time you log in, and all the data lives on the server. There's no local copy made.

That definition out of the way, if you're looking to do just a "network home", that should be doable without OS X Server. You may find some joy if you're using Leopard by going to the System Preferences "Accounts" pane, unlocking the pane, and then right clicking on an account to pick "Advanced Options", where you can manually set the home directory to some other location.

Portable homes, though - that requires a number of components (mostly relating to Open Directory) that'll be harder to replicate without OS X Server.
posted by Remy at 8:22 PM on June 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


A tip: the next time you post an AskMefi question, don't bury the important question in the title field. Put it in the description. The title field is only seen after someone clicks into the thread, or by the few people who are reading AskMefi via RSS.

In other words, the paragraph that appeared on the AskMefi home page didn't really lead with the basic question. People just don't get drawn into a question like that.

In fact, because of this, you'll see folks putting jokey stuff in the title. The description is where you need to shine.
posted by intermod at 9:44 PM on June 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Remy, I'd do the network home thing if I was never taking my Powerbook out of the apartment, I think I would need the portable home because I would need a local copy of everything on the laptop, no? Thanks!

Intermod: Wow, you know I've been reading MeFi for years but never realized that because I do it almost exclusively by RSS? Lesson learned. Sorry!
posted by Brian Puccio at 11:57 PM on June 20, 2008


I first thought of rsync, but then it seems that rsync doesn't handle OS X's resource forks as well and I see that sometimes people reccomend unison over rsync for two-way syncing.

The rsyncx I linked to handles resource forks just fine, but if you want to use unison I suppose you could do that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:06 AM on June 21, 2008


For future reference, I've got a post here about syncing two Macs without .Mac or MobileMe, using Unison instead.
posted by Brian Puccio at 7:30 PM on June 30, 2008


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