Mac and Linux compatibility

Larry Grover lgrover at
Sat Sep 3 15:11:23 UTC 2005

Charles Yao wrote:
> Is mac and ubuntu compatible? Is it possible to share files and printers?
> Charles

Yes it's possible, assuming you're running OSX on the mac (I don't 
know about OS9).  Depending on what you want to do, it may even be 
fairly easy.

We share files and a printer among 4 system on our home network:  an 
x86 linux box (ubuntu/kubuntu), an imac G5 (OSX 10.3.x), an ibook G3 
(ubuntu) and an ancient PII dell laptop running slackware linux (home 
web server/audio server which is connected to our home stereo).

Shared printer:

We have one printer, an HP deskjet 722C, an old, slow, color inkjet 
which just keeps chuggging along.  The printer is connected via 
parallel port to the the x86 linux/kubuntu system and shared locally 
across the network by cups-ipp.  Setting up the linux systems to print 
using cups and ipp was a breeze.  Getting OSX to print to a cups 
printer on a linux system over ipp was painful.

In theory, OSX supports ipp, but I was never able to set up printing 
using the OSX gui -- I spent several fruitless hours trying.  To get 
printing working from OSX, I had to create /etc/cups/printers.conf 
manually ( and vi, yea!) using the file created by ubuntu 
on my ibook as a model.  My guess it that it's easier to share a 
printer the other way around:  have the printer connected to the OSX 
system, and connect to it across the network from the linux systems.

Sharing files:

We use a combination of ssh, scp and sftp to move files around.  You 
need to have a ssh server running on both linux and OSX and you need 
ssh/scp/sftp clients on the individual systems. This is very easy to 
do:  I think OSX installs ssh server & client by default, you just 
need to turn the service on.  I'm not sure if ubuntu does, but the 
installs are trivial if you use synaptic or apt-get.

If you're working on a linux desktop, the easiest way to transfer 
files is by using nautilus or konqueror, both of which support the 
sftp protocol and allow you to drag & drop seamlessly between two 
different systems in exactly the same way as between two different 
directories on the same system.

Unfortunately, the file browser ("finder") in OSX does not have this 
same ability, but you can achieve almost the same thing with third 
party applications.  We use "fugu" and "cyberduck", both of which are 
available for OSX free of charge.

It's possible to share files using samba or nfs, but we don't use 
either.  I will only use samba if I have to cater to a windows pc, and 
we don't have one of those in the house.  In theory, OSX supports nfs, 
but I've never been able to get nfs working well between linux and OSX 
(I've spent hours trying -- OSX is the problem, not linux/ubuntu).


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