Will File Sharing EVER Start?

Will File Sharing EVER Start?
A funny thing happened on my way to file sharing on my G4 cube – it wouldn’t share! Had it missed this important lesson from its mother? 🙂

I picked up my G4 Cube on eBay some time back and have been slowly renovating it and ultimately loading it with all of Mac OS 9.2.2, Mac OS X 10.4.11 and Mac OS X 10.5.8. With this all in place, I decided to try sharing files between it and the Quadra 660AV I have mentioned in previous posts, as a means of not having to share files manually, via Zip 250 disks (my travails with Mac OS Standard in this area are recorded in an earlier post). Mac OS 7.6, and in particular Open Transport 1.1.2, which is running on my Quadra 660AV, isn’t compatible with the version of AFP on my Cube’s Mac OS X 10.4.11, so I booted the Cube into Mac OS 9.2.2, reasoning that it was the same “family” of OS … surely this would work. Well, perhaps not…

After booting the Cube into Mac OS 9.2.2, I went to the File Sharing control panel and clicked the button to enable file sharing. It dutifully said that File Sharing was starting up and the little network icon started to blink. This would all have been excellent progress except that nothing further happened! I waited and I waited and still file sharing never finished “starting up”. I tried rebooting with the File Sharing control still checked, but when the Cube was booted, File Sharing was still “starting up”. I finally gave up, thinking I must have messed up something in the software configuration.

I resolved to start Googling around, and eventually I came upon an astonishing fact. The FIRST time you enable Mac OS 9 File Sharing on a Mac that has both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, it can take up to 45 MINUTES to start up! This was the case with my Cube and this was the explanation. I re-enabled File Sharing in the control panel and walked away. An hour or so later I came back, and sure enough, File Sharing was on!

I am not sure who at Apple thought that a 45 minute wait with no user feedback at all was a good idea, but I suppose that when that code was written for Mac OS 9, Mac OS X did not yet exist, and so whatever causes the delay was not a case they had taken into account.

Anyway, patience is the order of the day. If you have a Mac with both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X on it, and you attempt to enable File Sharing on the Mac OS 9 side, go out and get yourself a latte – it is going to take a while!

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