Why can't our Macs and PCs get along together?
October 11, 2005 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Our PC based network sucks for Mac and unfortunately I do not think that our IT support (external) is up to the job, despite their assurances. Should setting up a reliable network really be that hard?

I would like to find out generally if people who are connecting multiple Mac OS machines (using OS9/ OS10) to Microsoft Server 2003 are having as many problems - is this PC/Mac network stuff really that flakey.

Generally we have problems with connecting to Microsoft volumes, problems with files being locked (cannot be renamed or moved) for 36 hours or so, problems renaming files - IT have recently installed 'Dave' on the Macs which seems to have solved some problems, is this the ideal solution?

Sorry for being light on specfics - more general feedback is appreciated if you have it - thanks
posted by clarkie666 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
I work in an all-PC environment. Our graphic designer is the only person with a Mac and it works nicely. She's running OS X and our servers were just upgraded to 2003, but before that were working as well (2000, I believe).

The only trouble she has is with Entourage and Exchange 2003 -- calendars don't work nicely and other issues.

We do have the occasional truncating of a file name or removal of file type on the Windows server that the Mac has trouble with, but otherwise it's pretty seamless. We have one IT person who doesn't know much at all about Macs and did have to bring in a consultant to make it all run smoothly with 2003, but it was a 2 hour job.
posted by jdl at 10:34 AM on October 11, 2005

If you're talking Samba connections, the only suggestion I can give is to make sure the Macs are running 10.3 or 10.4. Samba support is flaky in the earlier OS X releases, and non-existant on OS 9.

I haven't used DAVE in years but I don't remember it fondly.
posted by Remy at 10:52 AM on October 11, 2005

Try ExtremezIP. It replaces the Services for Macintosh plug in on the Windows server with its own. The problem with SFM on Windows is that its based on a really old Appleshare protocol from the OS 8 days (i.e. you can't copy a 32+ character filename). I haven't tried it but I heard from others that it works pretty well. It's also the only thing that will allow single sign on to appleshare volumes if you ever want to integrate the Macs into your Active Directory (which is another can of worms all together).

The only downside is that it's kind of pricey but at least you can try it out for 3 or 4 weeks for free.

jdl: dunno if you heard, but Microsoft updated Entourage to 11.2 that fixes a whole slew of compatiblity with Exchange problems, such as viewing multiple calendars in an account. They detail the changes in their Entourage blog.
posted by sammich at 11:18 AM on October 11, 2005

Best answer: Dave is an older version of what is now called ADmitMac. It's a client-side solution that basically allows an OSX machine to appear as though it is a Windows machine on a Windows domain. Upon installation (or through the configuration) it will add the machine as an object to the domain, map network folders (as specified in the home directory information in AD) as the user folders on the workstation, and it understands MS's Domain File System (DFS) which is fairly integral to most MS domains.

Two caveats:
1. It's expensive, but it will take away all of the headaches involved with using Mac's in a domain environment. You have to weigh the pro's vs. cost.
2. It will still mount drives using SMB or CIFS which are older protocols and suffer from some of the problems mentioned above. Transferring large files (either in size or filename) can cause potential corruption and neither protocol understands some of the more advanced permissioning available in Windows Server 2003 (ACL's).

Personally, the ideal solution (which is also the most expensive) is to run ExtremeZIP and ADmitMac in tandem. ADmitMac will handle client side authentication using NTLMv2 and Kerboros (which native LDAP libraries on OSX do not support) and mount DFS shares to network drives (eg. home directories). ExtremeZIP is installed on the file servers where it handles Mac shares that are mounted over AFP (the best protocol to use in the OSX environment) and will translate Windows 2003 permissions for Mac clients and bypass the filename/filesize issues inherent in earlier versions of SFM.
posted by purephase at 11:50 AM on October 11, 2005

.. and yes, it really is that flakey.
posted by purephase at 11:54 AM on October 11, 2005

a refurb dell laptop is $500. Maybe you could use one for the mission critical calendaring and your mac for the creative stuff.
posted by craniac at 12:50 PM on October 11, 2005

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