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Take Control of Sharing Files in Leopard
Don't buy this book!
Even if you are using Leopard, you should instead buy Take Control of Sharing Files in Snow Leopard. This Leopard book was great when it was released, covering all the latest Leopard details with a 2007 outlook. 2007 was about a century ago in Internet years, so when we created the Snow Leopard edition in 2009, we created it with an eye to including Leopard users. The changes in Mac OS X between Leopard and Snow Leopard are not that large, but the changes in the world overall make the Leopard ebook somewhat obsolete.
iPad & Kindle
About the Author
Glenn Fleishman was trained as a typesetter, received a degree in art, and works as a journalist and programmer. Glenn is a regular contributor to the Economist, where he has filed hundreds of online stories, including a four-year stint as one of the lead writers of its Babbage blog, and dozens of print features. He also appears regularly in Boing Boing, TidBITS, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, Macworld, and Six Colors. His blog is http://glog.glennf.com, and he overshares on Twitter at @glennf.
Reviews of Previous Editions
Table of Contents
Read Me First
This book helps you share documents among computers and over the Internet safely, using the file-sharing options available in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. This book was written by Glenn Fleishman, edited by Tonya Engst, and published by TidBITS Publishing Inc.
In the late 1980s, when only a few million academics and governmental types had easy access to a very slow Internet and even most business users couldn't afford pricey Ethernet gear, we hoi polloi had two ways to share files: sneakernet and snail mail. The algorithm for sneakernet was to insert a floppy disk, copy files to the floppy, eject the floppy, walk (in sneakers) across the room, insert the floppy, and copy files from the floppy. A little tedious, but it got the job done.
For distances beyond the reach of sneakernet, the algorithm changed. Instead of walking across the room, you inserted the floppy in a padded envelope and walked it to the post office or called FedEx.
Even today, sneakernet and snail mail are useful for transferring huge quantities of data—imagine the gigabits you can "transmit" when you send a bunch of hard drives by overnight mail or walk a DVD-R across a room—but most people share files through multiple accounts on the same computer, over local area networks comprised of wired Ethernet and wireless Wi-Fi links, or over the Internet using dial-up modems, broadband connections, and high-speed dedicated lines.
In Take Control of Sharing Files in Leopard, I help you identify the right computer setup for exchanging files among users in your situation, with a particular emphasis on users working on networked computers. I focus on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard as the hub of these activities, but the principles are the same on all platforms, and many specifics are identical or quite similar in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.
I also explain how to connect to a Mac running Leopard from Windows XP and Vista and from Mac OS X 10.2 through 10.4.
Note: To keep this book focused on file sharing, we broke out two related topics into full-length titles of their own:
This book contains many details, not all of which may be relevant to your situation. You do not need to read every word before sharing files, but you should be familiar with the overall process first.
There are lots of great ways to read our ebooks on these devices. For more details, please read our latest Device Advice.
Feel free to ask us if you have a question about this title!
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October 2009 -- We have no plans to update the Leopard edition of this book, but the Snow Leopard edition is now available.
—Tonya J Engst
November 2, 2009 --
Apple has publicly acknowledged a rare but nasty data-destroying bug related to using the Guest account in Snow Leopard. The bug appears to be associated with having a Guest account already set up before you upgrade to Snow Leopard. While there is currently no fix available, we hope to see one in 10.6.2. To learn more, check out my TidBITS article, Apple Acknowledges Guest Account Data Loss Bug. [This bug was fixed in 10.6.2.]
October 16, 2009 --
Home Sharing, a new feature in iTunes 9, makes it possible to easily share media among family members (or any group where everyone is authorized on the same iTunes Store account). While the feature is a clear win for sharing iPhone apps, several Take Control authors have been perplexed by Home Sharing, either because the feature didn't perform as they'd expected, or because it's difficult to concisely explain the differences between it and the old iTunes Sharing feature. Thankfully, Take Control author Ted Landau's recent Mac Observer article tackles the subject. If you're interested in gaining a deeper understanding of how to share media in iTunes, check it out!
October 1, 2009 --
In this excerpt from Take Control of Sharing Files in Snow Leopard, author Glenn Fleishman discusses a new way to share iTunes Library media, the Home Sharing feature in iTunes 9.
—Tonya J Engst
February 19, 2009 --
Earlier this month, Apple announced a new iDisk sharing feature. Working on the www.me.com Web site, a user can select a file stored on their iDisk, and then just fill in a few simple options to send an email message containing a download link for that file and a custom message. All the recipient need do is click the link in the received email message. You can read more about it, and get directions, in Joe Kissell's TidBITS article Apple Adds iDisk Sharing Feature to MobileMe.
—Tonya J Engst
February 18, 2009 --
Dropbox is a new option that might appeal for sharing files among multiple computers you own and among work groups of varying people. It's an Internet-hosted offering that provides 2 GB of storage for free, and 50 GB for $9.99 per month or $99 per year.
To use Dropbox, you install a small program under Mac OS X or Windows, as well as several flavors of Linux. The program creates a folder where you tell it to that looks just like a regular folder or directory. However, any items placed into, removed from, or modified within that directory are immediately and automatically securely synchronized with all other copies.
For an individual trying to keep certain files up to date among multiple computers, Dropbox is a simple way to avoid having to set up archives. While iDisk within MobileMe ($99 per year for all MobileMe services) can achieve this, it's not a good option for non-Mac users, and it has delays in synchronizing. It's also, frankly, not very clever about how it performs updates.
Dropbox also shines for workgroups. You can, via the service's Web interface, take any folder and share it to a group of people you select. On accepting an invitation to share the folder (via email notification and then the Web site), the folder appears in their Dropbox folder and, again, works like any other folder.
Dropbox also archives files as you modify them, allowing you to download older revisions via their Web site. It also hosts simple photo galleries, and more. You can read more about Dropbox at TidBITS in Dropbox: A Collaborator's Dream.
September 15, 2008 --
Apple made a minor change to how the File Sharing service displays shared volumes, along with the accompanying explanation, in its Mac OS X 10.5.5 update that incorporated Security Update 2008-006 on 15-Sep-2008. Before this update, the list of Shared Folders excluded Public Folders in other user's home directories. Those now appear.
Apple also improved the text that explains what's shared. An user account with administrative access enabled can access any mounted volume, including the hard drive from which Mac OS X started up. This wasn't indicated prior to 10.5.5, and is a minor security flaw by omission.
The view before 10.5.5:
The view starting with 10.5.5:
June 16, 2008 --
I'm embarrassed to say that I just now noticed that PureFTPd Manager, a Mac OS X package that allows you to install and work with a great FTP server, was updated last fall to work with Leopard. The software, which is donationware, lets you use PureFTPd, a high-quality FTP server with an enormous number of configuration options. PureFTPd Manager gives you a control-panel-like interface to set each of these many options. If you're planning on setting up any Mac as an FTP server, I cannot recommend Leopard's built-in FTP server due to its limitations. PureFTPd I recommend wholeheartedly.
December 14, 2007 --
I just learned a few facts which might aid readers of this book regarding a few semi-related areas. These are noted below.
In the current edition of the book, I don't made it clear that Sharing Only users can only access volumes over a network via AFP (Apple Filing Protocol). Only full account users can access volumes via FTP and Samba, as well as AFP.
While this might be obvious, I never stated in the book that Leopard's FTP server doesn't limit access to those users connecting via FTP to just the volumes and folders specific in the Shared Folders list. FTP doesn't have a mechanism that allows a selection from among multiple volumes. Thus FTP users who connect can traverse all hard drives and mounted volumes on a system through paths that they have at least read-only access to.
This is another reason to not use Apple's FTP server - or to use FTP at all, in my book (figuratively and literally).
While mentioned in the book in passing, I have confirmed with Apple
that the lack of access to a computer via FTP using the password-free
Guest account is not a bug; it's intentional.
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