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Make a PC Look Like a Firewire or USB Drive?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the optionally-attached-storage dept.

Data Storage 122

buckinm asks: "Here's the problem: I have a Windows laptop that I use for work. When I'm at home though, I much rather use my Mac. Since we use Cisco's VPN client at work, I can't mount the drives on the PC from the Mac. What I'd like to know, is there any software out there that would make the PC act like a Firewire or USB drive? I'd want to be able to mount it read/write. I know I could do some sort of rsync of thing when not connected to the VPN, but that seems like too much trouble. I wouldn't be against writing something like that, if I could get some idea of what is required to listen / respond to traffic on the Firewire or USB ports."

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I just submitted the same question!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11770567)

Seems like smart minds think alike. I just submitted a simular post in my case for my laptop to be used as a thumb drive on the lab machines at school.

Hope we hear something good!!!

Re:I just submitted the same question!!! (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771134)

Wouldn't the "smart mind" be the one who solves the problem, not the one that poses the question?

Re:I just submitted the same question!!! (1)

Tomahawk (1343) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775283)

The phrase 'great minds think alike, and fools seldom differ' springs to mind here. Not sure why? hmmm

T.

Mac Mini Killer! (2, Funny)

musselm (209468) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770580)

At first glance I thought this was an article about cramming PC parts into a Firewire drive enclosure, along the lines of the stories that proliferated after the release of the Mac Mini:)

Possible, I think (2, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770582)

I see no reason that it shouldn't be possible. Macs can do this. You boot them while holding "F" or "D" or "Command-F" or "Command-D" or something. They sit there and act like a firewire disk. I think you can even access the CD drive in them.

As for the PC side, I don't know. It's obviously possible, but I haven't heard of it. The Tinkerer in me says make a switch that disconnects the HD from the computer and connects it to a IDE->Firewire adaptor you hide in the case. Switch in one position it's a normal computer. Switch in the other it's a firewire disk.

Good luck.

Re:Possible, I think (4, Informative)

nuxx (10153) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770712)

For what it's worth, you hold T and it puts it in 'T'arget disk mode. This is so damn handy for when you've got a b0rked OS install, but you want to recover the data. It's so much easier than pulling the disk and sticking it in an external enclosure, especially in laptops...

Re:Possible, I think (0, Redundant)

peragrin (659227) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770802)

You press and hold the T key during boot.

No you can't do it with x86 bios.
No you can't do it with the cheap hardware.

Target disk mode as i understand it loads up the kernel and just enough hardware/software to operate the drives, as an external drive enclosure.

The only reason Apple can giveyou cool features like that is because they have a tight control of their systems.

Re:Possible, I think (2)

Joseph Vigneau (514) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770918)

The only reason Apple can giveyou cool features like that is because they have a tight control of their systems.

What's stopping an x86 motherboard manufacturer from providing the exact same feature? I would hope they have tight control of their systems, too.

Re:Possible, I think (1)

eht (8912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771195)

Because the motherboard manufacturer's only control the motherboard, and in some cases either the video card or the CPU, not the memory, hard drive, sound card, TV tuner card, Firewire card, network card or pretty much anything else that Apple keeps tightly under their control.

You'll only see this in items like laptops where the manufacturer does keep tight controls over the entire product, like the ones that can play CDs or DVDs without booting up into an OS for example.

But then again you won't be able to use a non approved whitelisted mini pci card.

Re:Possible, I think (2, Interesting)

Joseph Vigneau (514) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771336)

Because the motherboard manufacturer's only control the motherboard, and in some cases either the video card or the CPU, not the memory, hard drive, sound card, TV tuner card, Firewire card, network card or pretty much anything else that Apple keeps tightly under their control.

More and more motherboards have this stuff on board, particularly Firewire and USB controllers. With a smarter BIOS (maybe even LinuxBIOS [linuxbios.org] ), those manufacturers could provide a service similar to Apple's Target Disk Mode.

FWIW, Apple doesn't have tight control over drives and memory; these are commonly swapped out with commodity parts with higher capacity by end users.

And, as someone else mentioned here, there's at least one PC laptop manufacturer that has this feature.

Re:Possible, I think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11771984)

> Because the motherboard manufacturer's only control the motherboard

The chipsets includes the (S)ATA controller, which is the key part of this. The problem is that in the PC world Firewire is a "value add" feature and not built-in to standard chipsets. But it would certainly be possible to do with USB.

> But then again you won't be able to use a non approved whitelisted mini pci card.

Umm, that discussion was about WiFi.

Re:Possible, I think (3, Informative)

Ster (556540) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771152)

Actually, the kernel isn't involved at all. It's all done in OpenFirmware.

Back when PowerBooks used SCSI, it turned the 'Book into a SCSI drive. I believe there was a Control Panel you could use that would set the SCSI ID that it would use.

It's not just for PowerBooks anymore, though. Any[*] Mac with built-in FireWire can do Target Disk Mode.

[*] I'm pretty sure it's "Any", but it might just be "Most". Certainly works for old "Sawtooth" PowerMac G4s on up, and iMac DVs on up, in addition to the laptops.

-Ster

Re:Possible, I think (1)

beerits (87148) | more than 9 years ago | (#11773956)

I don't think you can use a Blue and White G3 or Yikes! G4 in Target Disk Mode

Re:Possible, I think (1)

Tux2000 (523259) | more than 9 years ago | (#11774490)

On a PC, it could be possible to implement some kind of micro-OS, probably fitting on a floppy disk, that contains drivers for firewire and IDE and behaves just like the little chip inside external Firewire-to-IDE cases. It does not need to be very smart: There is no need to know anything about partitions or filesystems, this is the job of the machine mounting the drive via firewire. Accessing a single IDE drive on the primary master connector is easy, just simple port-I/O (unless you want performance). I don't now about low-level firewire access, but AFAIK, it is pretty standardized (OHCI). To find the PCI device with the firewire controller, you can use BIOS services, as well as for video output and keyboard input. All that needs to be done is to translate the firewire protocol for disk access to IDE commands. I think 640 KBytes and x86 real mode should be sufficient for this task. The popular Oxford FW911 chip has just 64 KBytes Flash and a small ARM7 core [oxsemi.co.uk] .

Tux2000

ive only used firewire 3 times in my life but... (2, Interesting)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770586)

the firewire interface has a tcp/ip stack.

Re:ive only used firewire 3 times in my life but.. (1)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772377)

so i read it again 4 hours later, and that was ambigious.
i mean
on my laptop running ex pee, the firewire shows up under network connections as having a tcp/ip stack.

Grump

Re:ive only used firewire 3 times in my life but.. (1)

itwerx (165526) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772838)

This is totally OT and moderators can mod me down to the 9th level of hell but your sig "still looking for a wife..." caught my eye.
To wit, if you are looking, you will project that state of being and have little luck.
If instead you become/behave/act/think like a husband your chances will improve greatly!

Re:ive only used firewire 3 times in my life but.. (1)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772898)

I don't consider sig comments to be OT, because there is no private message system on /.

Anyway, don't take the sig too seriously (because I don't). Its just a running joke.

I'm 21 so not *too desperate* yet.

Grump

Re:ive only used firewire 3 times in my life but.. (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 9 years ago | (#11773785)

"still looking for a wife..."

Anyone's in particular?

Re:ive only used firewire 3 times in my life but.. (1)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11773946)

not really.

have someone to intorduce?

Re:ive only used firewire 3 times in my life but.. (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 9 years ago | (#11774090)

Nope. The right woman hasn't found me yet.

Or enough of the wrong ones, either. :-)

You'll want .... (3, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770609)


...the gadget device driver and API [linux-usb.org] . From the linked page:
The API makes it easy for peripherals and other devices embedding GNU/Linux system software to act in the USB "device" (slave) role. The drivers implementing and using that API combine to make a useful driver framework for Linux systems that implement USB peripherals.

not USB (1)

klossner (733867) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771581)

The gadget driver operates a USB *peripheral* port. It's meant for use in embedded systems like printers. Your PC does not have a USB peripheral port, it has only host ports. The USB protocol is asymmetric; you're not going to connect an Apple and a PC using their USB host ports.

Re:You'll want .... (2, Informative)

enigmatichmachine (214829) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772878)

firewire != USB.
mac fanboys: yes, firewire drive mode is great, but has nothing to do with this problem. he wants a way to access the files over USB. I looked into it myself when i had a bad case of mac envy, but usb is a master/slave model, devices are classified either as masters, or slaves, not both, and as far as i know, 2 of the same type are not able to communice via the usb protocol. it looks like the above poster has software to allow a server to emulate a slave device, but firwire is more of a peer to peer technology, and any device can issue command to any other device, which is why it can implement tcp-ip over it.

p.s. i wish USB were more like firewire, as i've always wanted my pda's (palm or ppc) to be able to use other slave usb devices (really just joysticks) but alas...

Re:You'll want .... (1)

enigmatichmachine (214829) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772951)

I just went and took a look see at the USB gadget device driver page, and it looks like in fact, master/slave is set set set in hardware, and that little bit of software is for embedded devices that run linux and have slave style usb hardware. So I guess the answer to this ask slashdot is no, there is no possible way to hook up his laptop as a USB hard drive.

Re:You'll want .... (1)

beerits (87148) | more than 9 years ago | (#11774321)

firewire != USB.
Very Ture


mac fanboys: yes, firewire drive mode is great, but has nothing to do with this problem. he wants a way to access the files over USB.


The question also mentions Firewire as an option.

Make a PC Look Like a Firewire or USB Drive?
Posted by Cliff on 02-24-05 04:16 PM
from the optionally-attached-storage dept.
buckinm asks: "Here's the problem: I have a Windows laptop that I use for work. When I'm at home though, I much rather use my Mac. Since we use Cisco's VPN client at work, I can't mount the drives on the PC from the Mac. What I'd like to know, is there any software out there that would make the PC act like a Firewire or USB drive? I'd want to be able to mount it read/write. I know I could do some sort of rsync of thing when not connected to the VPN, but that seems like too much trouble. I wouldn't be against writing something like that, if I could get some idea of what is required to listen / respond to traffic on the Firewire or USB ports."

Re:You'll want .... (1)

Tux2000 (523259) | more than 9 years ago | (#11774414)

Also from the linked page, right at the top of the page:

The <linux/usb_gadget.h> API makes it easy for peripherals and other devices embedding GNU/Linux system software to act in the USB "device" (slave) role. The drivers implementing and using that API combine to make a useful driver framework for Linux systems that implement USB peripherals.
Many Linux systems will not be able to use it, since they only have PC-style USB Host (master) hardware in a PC, workstation, or server. But when you're putting together embedded Linux systems, a USB peripheral controller option is routine; it's often integrated into processors.

Or short: Your average PC simply does not have the right hardware to use this API.

Tux2000

Re:You'll want .... (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775923)


I read that - I had assumed that slave mode controllers were available as PCI cards and that he could slap one in and go. I guess not.

Simplest way: (1)

man_ls (248470) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770614)

Simplest way:

Share the drive with SAMBA. Windows (and probably every other modern OS) supports Ethernet-over-Firewire.

Mount SAMBA share with IP-over-Firewire.

Problem solved.

Re:Simplest way: (4, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770669)

This probably WON'T work, for the same reason he cannot use Samba over normal Ethernet.

Most VPN clients, in order to protect the network you are VPN'ing into, will shut down all other connections - they set the VPN interface to be the default route, and then they remove any other routes.

So doing IP over Firewire will work, right up to the time the VPN client kills it.

I'd suggest finding a small Linksys/Dlink (but NOT BELKIN) router that has Cisco VPN client support - the router will handle the VPN, and you can plug both your Mac and your PC into it.

Re:Simplest way: (1)

man_ls (248470) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770701)

Doh.

That's a pain...although I suppose it makes sense.

Thanks for clarifying.

Re:Simplest way: (3, Informative)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770884)

they set the VPN interface to be the default route, and then they remove any other routes.

Too true. and adding a host route or two resolves the issue.

route add mac'sIP mask 255.255.255.255 eth0'sIP

It may also be necessary to add a host route for the local eth0 interface as well, depends on how far your VPN client goes. I'd put it in a batch file so that I could run it each time I bring up the VPN.

Re:Simplest way: (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770967)

they set the VPN interface to be the default route, and then they remove any other routes.

Too true. and adding a host route or two resolves the issue.

Some VPNs do more than just change routing; they block all non-VPN traffic, route or not. Checkpoint can do this, for example (it can also be configured not to do this).

Re:Simplest way: (2, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771164)

A Google search turned up this document that shows that the Cisco VPN client is cabable of split tunneling [cisco.com] .

The AskSlashdotter needs to RTFM.

Re:Simplest way: (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771251)

A Google search turned up this document that shows that the Cisco VPN client is cabable of split tunneling [cisco.com].

The AskSlashdotter needs to RTFM.

From that link: You enable split tunneling and configure the network list on the VPN device.

In other words, the admin who controls the VPN device (not the client) controls whether the client can do split tunnelling. It's probably off - it should be to be prevent the VPN client being a conduit for the outside world into the company.

Assuming he is not allowed by company policy and/or technical enforcement to do split tunneling, the AskSlashdot question is valid - how does he access data residing on a Windows machine without using the network?

Re:Simplest way: (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771100)

That won't work with the Cisco VPN client, as one example. It does some weird kernel shit to stop local LAN access from userspace. Even root can't get around it.

Yeah, you could hack their kernel module to disable this "feature" but that's a real bitch.

Re:Simplest way: (3, Informative)

Tintivilus (88810) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771757)

adding a host route or two resolves the issue.

This likely won't work either... the Nortel client, for example, automatically disconnects if *any* routing table changes are made after the client connects. Makes it a real pain to use networked printers at home, too.

That doesnt work... but this does (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11773736)

The Cisco client does some low level stuff that if I understand it correctly, actually installs a new low level IP stack under the OS's that you have no control over or access to. The OS's stack is fully under the control of the VPN client since all traffic has to pass through it's private stack. It's funny, you can't even ping your own defaut gateway, the one the VPN traffic is traveling through.

The way around it is to use another stack. IPX might work but the simplest one i've found the IPv6 stack. It's completely separate from the V4 stack and the Cisco client I've used doesn't touch it. You can use all kinds of fun tricks with that. Hmm... better post this as AC. We all know "freedom of speech" doesn't mean what it used to these days.

Hack the damn thing (2, Informative)

JackAsh (80274) | more than 9 years ago | (#11774029)

The Cisco client does some low level stuff that if I understand it correctly, actually installs a new low level IP stack under the OS's that you have no control over or access to. The OS's stack is fully under the control of the VPN client since all traffic has to pass through it's private stack. It's funny, you can't even ping your own defaut gateway, the one the VPN traffic is traveling through.

The way around it is to use another stack. IPX might work but the simplest one i've found the IPv6 stack. It's completely separate from the V4 stack and the Cisco client I've used doesn't touch it. You can use all kinds of fun tricks with that. Hmm... better post this as AC. We all know "freedom of speech" doesn't mean what it used to these days.


AC, you are absolutely right. This is exactly what he needs to do. I've done the IPX trick on the Cisco VPN client many times to print from my work laptop to my home printer (via a second windows box). I'm not sure about IPX support in the Mac (or even worse Netbios over IPX) so I'd go with the IPv6. A second trick that no longer works that well (used to work on older Cisco clients) was to add a second NIC (i.e. a PCMCIA 802.11 card) after the tunnel was established, or to have it deactivated at least, don't remember the exact details.

As a funny note, I notified Cisco of this problem with the Split Routing protection about 5 years ago (through the proper support channels, being as my company were customers of the product). They claimed it wasn't a bug or vulnerability.

Last but not least, you can always just go and get the damn VPN client for the Mac, and share the files the long way - over your tunnel into the office :).

-Jack Ash

Re:Simplest way: (1)

genzil (663526) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771384)

sheesh, the number of people that haven't understood this and have posted some networking file sharing mothod is amazing.

Mod the parent up please.

Re:Simplest way: (1)

Karma Farmer (595141) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772956)

Instead of going through TCP/IP, is it still possible to use NetBEUI on newer versions of Windows? Is it possible to use NetBEUI on Macs? And, does the Cisco VPN kill NetBEUI too?

Re:Simplest way: (1)

Old Uncle Bill (574524) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772072)

ssh tunnel home from work on port open through firewall (80/443/etc). run nfs over ssh tunnel. No need for vpn tunnel. Not that I have done this. No sirree.

Extra UTP port (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770620)

Not sure, but adding a 2nd ethernet card might help. You could run a network separate from your main uplink, only between the Mac and the PC.

Re:Extra UTP port (1)

bluelip (123578) | more than 9 years ago | (#11773940)

That shouldn't work. Any worthwhile VPN setup will disallow network connections that don't travel trough the tunnel. This is why the submitter needs a 'network-less' connection to share the information.

Dance the Samba (0, Redundant)

DanThe1Man (46872) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770631)

Have you looked into doing a Samba share [samba.org] . You can use it on a mac. [macdevcenter.com] .

Some people might scare you with security issues, but that only applies to earlier versions. If you get the latests build, you will be safe.

Re:Dance the Samba (1)

Undertaker43017 (586306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770713)

The problem is the VPN client won't allow connections to any other network once the VPN is up (in order to protect the network you are connecting to).

Make sense man!! (0, Troll)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770688)

What is the problem?

You want to mount drives form a Mac?
Share the drives and mount them.

You want to mount vpn mapped drives from a Mac?
Same deal, share them and mount them. If you can't share them, them subst them and share the subst.

You want to access your network from the Mac via the laptop?
Enable routing on the laptop.
Better yet, why not install the VPN client on the Mac and leave the laptop out of the question?

What do you want?

Re:Make sense man!! (3, Informative)

hawkstone (233083) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770880)

> You want to mount drives form a Mac?
> Share the drives and mount them.


He can't, because VPN usually shuts off the other network connections.

> You want to mount vpn mapped drives from a Mac?
> Same deal, share them and mount them. If you can't share them, them subst them and share the subst.


Sharing won't work at all over TCP/IP while VPN is in use.


> You want to access your network from the Mac via the laptop?
> Enable routing on the laptop.
> Better yet, why not install the VPN client on the Mac and leave the laptop out of the question?


He did install VPN on the Mac -- his data is on the Windows laptop.

> What do you want?

He wants to get at all his work data, which is on his work laptop, while using his home desktop machine to connect with his servers at work. Since he can't use a normal TCP/IP connection to have the two machines talk to each other, but they are both at home with him, he thought using USB or Firewire to connect them would avoid the issues with trying to share data between them while the Mac is hooked up to VPN.

Re:Make sense man!! (1)

wolf31o2 (778801) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771137)

Actually, one can simply edit the .pcf file from the Cisco VPN to keep it from breaking the local networking. There's an option in the file that disables the local LAN.

Re:Make sense man!! (1)

hawkstone (233083) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771583)

Really? That's good news. I assume if I'd RTFM I might have known that.....

Re:Make sense man!! (1)

_LORAX_ (4790) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772069)

/etc/ppp/peers/

nodefaulroute

That's all folks. I use it all the time.

Re:Make sense man!! (1)

_LORAX_ (4790) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772087)

that should be /etc/ppp/peers/[VPNName]

External drives are t3h bomb. (0, Offtopic)

dauthur (828910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770699)

You could always get an external HDD shell from Maxtor. They're quite useful. I used to use a thumbdrive, and then I figured "why not have an external drive?". It's inexpensive too.

Re:External drives are t3h bomb. (1)

Undertaker43017 (586306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770890)

The only problem with this is I'm not sure if OS X supports FAT32 or NTFS filesystems, and Windows won't support HFS. Otherwise it's a great solution...

Re:External drives are t3h bomb. (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770965)

OS X reads NTFS - but it won't write. It doesn't know enough about security descriptors for authorization - ACLs and SIDs.

Re:External drives are t3h bomb. (1)

Undertaker43017 (586306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771031)

Which is where Linux was/is, haven't researched that lately though, correct?

Re:External drives are t3h bomb. (1)

NetNifty (796376) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772961)

Linux can write NTFS [jankratochvil.net] , but uses MS files to do so. Tried it a few months ago but couldn't get it to work (on a Knoppix live CD anyway), but no idea how far it has came since then.

Re:External drives are t3h bomb. (1)

dauthur (828910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771526)

Why not try a Windows Emulator? I'm not sure what they have for OSX, but I'm sure they have something along the lines of Wine, right? Does it read NTFS?

Re:External drives are t3h bomb. (1)

NetNifty (796376) | more than 9 years ago | (#11773011)

Wine Is Not an Emulator. It just reimplements the Windows API under different OSs, so you still need an x86 compatible CPU for it to work. Bochs [sourceforge.net] OTOH is an emulator, and apparently supports MacOS (as well as other machines). No guarantees upon performence though!

Re:External drives are t3h bomb. (1)

Undertaker43017 (586306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11773502)

You could use VirtualPC, which runs ok. I have never tried a FW drive with it, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.

VirtualPC isn't free so you would be giving MS some money. ;)

Easy on a mac (1, Informative)

elliotj (519297) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770725)

Hold down COMMAND+T when you boot for "target disk mode". Makes your computer into a firewire drive.

This is great if you want to use the HDD of your Powerbook G4 on your friend's G5 tower. I think you can even set it to be the boot disk.

Macs rule.

The windows laptop has a different disk format (0)

nganju (821034) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770795)


Don't forget that the disk in your windows laptop is FAT32 or NTFS or whatever, so you have the added step of making that mountable from OS X, in addition to all your firewire hoopla.

Does the VPN software preventing you from just simply connecting to your home LAN and mounting via Samba? If so, I suggest you make your laptop dual boot, so you can run Fedora or Mandrake linux and then share the drives after booting to one of those. If you don't want to dual boot, just boot from a Knoppix CD and run Knoppix linux.

Re:The windows laptop has a different disk format (1)

derrith (600195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770920)

OS X already has native read/write support for both fat32 and NTFS. I have no trouble manipulating corrupted/damaged pc drives on my mac.

Re:The windows laptop has a different disk format (2, Informative)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770998)

OS X doesn't WRITE to NTFS! FAT32 - Yes.

You're making the Doctor happy/not happy.

Seriously, Macs just work. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11770878)

SCSI and FireWire Disk Modes
2000.11.29
Paulo Rodrigues

Our Fair Computer Company has released some quirky yet useful features in its computer systems and OS, and then advertised them very little, if at all. Apple's SCSI Disk Mode, and it's modernized offspring, FireWire Target Disk Mode, are excellent examples.
SCSI Disk Mode

SCSI Disk Mode, introduced way back in October 1991 on the PowerBook 100, allowed you to mount your PowerBook's hard drive on another Mac using a funny $30 cable made called PowerBook 100 Seriesthe SCSI Disk Adaptor. (Apple changed its name to HD Target Mode starting with the 5300 and 190, since they used IDE hard drives, but it works the same way. For consistency I'll refer to them both as SCSI Disk Mode.)

While today you can do the same thing with File Sharing and a $15 ethernet "crossover" cable, on most models you're limited to the relatively poor bandwidth of 10 megabit per second ethernet. Also, if your PowerBook has no ethernet port, you'd need to buy either an expensive PC Card ethernet adaptor or a speed-squashing LocalTalk-to-Ethernet bridge.

I'll refer to the Mac acting as an external hard drive as the "target" Mac, like Apple does, and the connecting computer as the "host" Mac.

Setup of SCSI Disk Mode

1. Shut down both machines.
2. Connect your SCSI Disk Adaptor between the target PowerBook and the host Mac.
3. Start up the target PowerBook. A SCSI icon and ID number should appear on the screen.
4. Turn on any other SCSI devices if the PowerBook is not the only device on the SCSI chain.
5. Start up the host Mac.
6. The PowerBook's hard drive icon should mount on the desktop of the host Mac. You can use it like you would use an external drive with little speed loss over using the PowerBook's drive in the PowerBook.

Okay, so it's not true plug-and-play ease, but it's a really convenient feature if you have an older PowerBook and another Mac with SCSI and can get your hands on the hard-to-find SCSI Disk Adaptors.

* Note that the PowerBook 140, 145, 145b, 150, and 170 do not support SCSI Disk Mode.

FireWire Target Disk Mode

Apple stopped including SCSI with the 2000 PowerBooks, replacing the SCSI port with two of Apple's more-Indigo iBookmodern FireWire ports. So you're in the dark if you wanna drop a huge file onto a new PowerBook's hard drive at full speed, right?

Of course not! Apple cleverly designed a new FireWire-based technology, called FireWire Target Disk Mode, which lets you connect your new PowerBook to another FireWire-equipped Mac. When Apple announced its new iBooks last September -- which also come with FireWire -- it included FireWire Target Disk Mode on them as well. As with its SCSI counterpart, the vast majority of 2000 PowerBook and iBook don't know such a feature exists!

Setup of FireWire Target Disk Mode is almost too easy:

1. Shut down the target Mac, leaving the host computer running.
2. Connect an ordinary 6-pin to 6-pin FireWire cable to a FireWire port on both computers. (These can be bought for around $15.)
3. Start up the target Mac and hold down the "T" key. A FireWire icon will appear on the screen, and the hard drive icon of the target Mac will pop up onto the host Mac's desktop.

Compared to SCSI Disk Mode, FireWire Target Disk Mode requires no rebooting of the host Mac and needs only an easy-to-find FireWire cable (it's half the price of the SCSI Disk Adaptor). FireWire Target Disk Mode is the fastest and easiest way to send files between a new portable Mac and any other Mac with FireWire. For sharing files between PowerBooks, FireWire provides 100 times the bandwidth of IrDA, the bigwig in Windows notebook computer and Palm PDA file sharing.

One other nicety is that FireWire Target Disk Mode is hot pluggable, you don't have to plug the two computers together before you start up the "target" PowerBook or iBook. Once the target computer has booted and the FireWire icon is displayed on screen, you can plug it into any FireWire-equipped Mac. When you're done sending files, all you have to do is move the shared hard drive icon to the Trash and unplug the FireWire cable. When you plug it into another computer, it'll mount on the desktop of that Mac!

The only big drawback is that the systems that support it in target mode are nowhere near low-end. You can only use it with the 2000 PowerBooks and iBooks, although, unlike SCSI Disk Mode, some desktop systems support it as well! The "Sawtooth" and "Mystic" Power Mac G4s support it, as long as they're using hard drives connected to the built-in ATA controller. And, if you've installed the iMac Firmware 2.4 updater, you can even use it with any slot-loading iMac. However, the G4 Cube, the G4 tower (if using a separate hard disk controller), and any Mac with FireWire added by a PCI or CardBus card, are not supported.

Still, if you have a new Mac and need to swap files with other systems that have FireWire, it's a feature that is so intuitive and Mac-like you could use it happily every day. It's fantastic if you want to get into Mac OS X. You could back up your iMac DV SE's hard drive to your sister's new PowerBook to partition it, and do so fast enough that she's not stuck counting sheep waiting to get back on her beloved computer.

If you have a computer that was built long before Apple started including FireWire on its systems, this doesn't apply to you. But you can certainly use SCSI Disk Mode with older PowerBooks, knowing that Apple is continuing to innovate the newest incarnation of that feature, one it barely mentions in its Tech Info Library

Re:Seriously, Macs just work. (1)

Undertaker43017 (586306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770946)

This doesn't solve the FAT32/NTFS/HFS problem. The original question was mounting a Win32 disk (FAT32/NTFS) onto a Mac (HFS).

Even without a VPN involved this is a hard problem...

Re:Seriously, Macs just work. (1)

Oopsz (127422) | more than 9 years ago | (#11773997)

mounting a win32 disk on a mac is no problem, OSX natively reads FAT32 and NTFS.

(the NTFS support is flakey, though.. occasionally folders containing gigs of data refuse to show up in OSX.)

What problem are you trying to solve? (2, Insightful)

kwerle (39371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770972)

Since we use Cisco's VPN client at work, I can't mount the drives on the PC from the Mac

OK, you have a PC laptop. You have a Cisco VPN. You have files. What files do you need to share?

If the files are on the laptop, just network the 2 boxes at home and share the files, right?

If the files are at work, get a Cisco VPN solution for the Mac (I used one for years).

If IT won't help (surprise, right?), and you're determined to break the law/policy/whatever, there are a lot of options:

Add an interface on the laptop and set it up as a router.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/openvpn/, maybe over http://www.nocrew.org/software/httptunnel.html (either from the laptop or a machine in the office).

Maybe run the VPN in an emulator layer (http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/qemu/), give it access to the local filesystem, let the "outter layer" windows export the same filesystem, keep updating using rsync (just brainstorming, here).

Or just keep it simple, stupid. Get an external firewire drive, dump the files you need, and swap it to/from the mac/laptop.

Re:What problem are you trying to solve? (2, Insightful)

BridgeBum (11413) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771906)

I think, perhaps, the person asking the question would like to be able to access the files on the PC and VPN simultaneously. He said he could do an rsync type thing prior to initiating the VPN, but that's too much work.

Given that many VPN solutions are configured to not allow split tunneling, you cannot access your local LAN IP addresses while connected via VPN. I believe the Cisco client by default disallows split tunnelling, but that may be a server side setting that is negotiated, I'm not 100% sure.

So, let's rephrase: How can I access the information on my PC without using IP?

Re:What problem are you trying to solve? (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772184)

So, let's rephrase: How can I access the information on my PC without using IP?

I've never worked for a company that didn't allow any outside access at all (including web). If there is ANY outside access (carrier pidgeon, http, ssh, etc), I would set up a tunnel. Either from the laptop in question (in which case you'll be routing through the company and back to your mac), or from a machine at work.

If not, I'd try a windows in a box solution and do the mirroring in there.

Either way, we don't have enough information to really answer the question.

Lemme make sure I'm following... (1)

heychris (587825) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771015)

Sounds like you want Target Disk mode for PCs, but I don't think that such a beast exists. I believe Target Disk mode is a lower level feature than the OS (perhaps in Open Firmware?). I don't know a BIOS that supports anything similar, though I am no maven there.

You could put your Mac into Target Disk mode on your PC, but then you'd have to software for the PC that reads HFS+ formatted disks. Ugh...

IP-over-FireWire won't work because the VPN client locks out other network connections, so that knocks that idea out.

If you are willing to tear out your drive each time you work at home, then I suppose you could use one of the Wiebe Tech USB/FireWire enclosures, but I doubt that would be worth your time.

Good luck,
CC

Re:Lemme make sure I'm following... (1)

GiMP (10923) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772016)

> software for the PC that reads HFS+ formatted
> disks. Ugh...

It isn't that simple. Target mode doesn't turn the mac into a real firewire device, it is a special device which only MacOS has a driver for. Even Linux, with great firewire support and HFS+ support, you cannot mount the "disk".

Re:Lemme make sure I'm following... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11772577)

Hmm, I must be doing the imposible then.

2.6.10 kernel, plain vanilla, no extra patches.

Powerbook G4, I think the GbE edition.

scsi0 : SCSI emulation for IEEE-1394 SBP-2 Devices
ieee1394: sbp2: Logged into SBP-2 device
ieee1394: Node 0-00:1023: Max speed [S400] - Max payload [2048]
Vendor: AAPL Model: FireWire Target Rev: 0000
Type: Direct-Access ANSI SCSI revision: 03
SCSI device sda: 39070080 512-byte hdwr sectors (20004 MB)
sda: [mac] sda1 sda2 sda3 sda4 sda5 sda6

Have to remember to setup the Apple Partitioning when building the kernel, otherwise it wouldn't appear to have any partitions.

And just for fun, and to show something: /dev/sda5 on /mnt/drives/sda1 type hfsplus (ro)
Now to play with the settings so I can access some files on it...

Re:Lemme make sure I'm following... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11772979)

settings meaning permissions, as HFS+ supports most anything you think a unix file system would it seems (including permisions, symbolic links and the like)

Re:Lemme make sure I'm following... (1)

FyreFiend (81607) | more than 9 years ago | (#11773026)

I just booted my iBook G4 into target disk mode and connected it to my Linux box (SB Audigy's firewire port). The iBook showed up as sda and I was able to mount sda3 as hfsplus just fine. (on Macs the first and second partitions are not real partitions but the driver and partition map, iirc). To make it work you not only need hfsplus compiled into the kernel or as a module but you also need to compile in mac partition table support.

Re:Lemme make sure I'm following... (1)

Karma Farmer (595141) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772746)

If you are willing to tear out your drive each time you work at home, then I suppose you could use one of the Wiebe Tech USB/FireWire enclosures, but I doubt that would be worth your time.

I would think that it would be easier to turn off the VPN client than tear out the drive; I'm assuming there's some reason he wants to be simultaneously VPN'd on the PC and accessing that PC's drives from the Mac.

Wrong problem (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771016)

Since we use Cisco's VPN client at work, I can't mount the drives on the PC from the Mac.
So, shut down your VPN client and close the VPN pseudo-connection. Then establish an ordinary network connection with your Mac.

ZIP Drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11771067)


Why not just an Iomega ZIP drive?

Re:ZIP Drive (NOT!) (1)

kmb (56194) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771389)

Why not just an Iomega ZIP drive?


Because the question wasn't "What would make an ideal doorstop?"

Seriously, I used to use a ZIP drive at home until one day 6 years ago I went to Fry's to buy disks to back up my (probably) 20Gb hard drive and realized that it would cost more just to buy enough ZIP disks than it would to buy a CD burner. So I bought a CD burner instead and have used that for backups until I got a DVD burner.

Now, the CD burner part is irrelevant here. I would advocate the method already suggested of getting an external USB hard drive. Make it FAT32 format, as I believe OS X can read/write to that. If you do that MAKE SURE you know the max FAT32 filesystem OS X can support. I ran into this problem with RH EL3. The 2.4.21 kernel doesn't support FAT32 filesystems beyond ~130Gb. Well, it doesn't complain if you make them, but after you put about 130Gb worth of data on them, they get subtly corrupted.

idiot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11771071)

  1. Apple K

  2. files

Re:idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11771108)

don't forget to tell the idiot to turn off his VPN.

Just use a Linux Live CD (2, Informative)

Taladar (717494) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771102)

Use a Linux-Live-CD or USB-Boot or even Floppy to boot a minimal Linux with Samba, NFS or whatever fits your Mac best and share the files with that. Switching is as easy as removing the CD from the Drive and rebooting.

Re:Just use a Linux Live CD (1)

SA Stevens (862201) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772613)

Or even just a small Linux partition to dual-boot into.

Or a small Linux partition, plus an unfetterd second Windows partition. Lilo is a useful bootloader, and can 'make' partitions on a system boot 'Windows' that Windows itself doesn't comprehend (this may not be as easy as it used to be, back when I had Slackware 3.4 and a whole handful of different DOS and Windows partitions on a single system)

Um.... (1)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771110)


Use the Cisco VPN [cisco.com] client for Mac OSX? Am I missing something here?

Sera

Re:Um.... (1)

erlenic (95003) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772711)

Am I missing something here?

Yes.

It doesn't matter which computer uses the VPN client, he's still not going to be able to use the network to do this, as he implies in the posting. The Cisco VPN can be set to prevent ALL network traffic that's not VPN traffic, and the setting is maintained at the company's end, so he can't change it.

Re:Um.... (1)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | more than 9 years ago | (#11773440)


Thus using the Cisco VPN client...
Since we use Cisco's VPN client at work
It tells me that what he meant was that they have Cisco servers. From my home I can use Windows, Mac, or linux to VPN into work. This is the whole reason to use VPN. If he is at work using VPN to get into thier own network .... then he should be able to do it from anywhere on the Net. If they block external access - then I have to ask why in the world they have a network set up that way - not trusting internal clients is odd at best - sounds to me like the business is set up like a coffee house with open access all over. And then it means that his machine is sitting in some unfirewalled way if he thinks he can mount a drive. Yuck, what a security mess. Chances are he can VPN in from home and simply mistyped.

Sera

Re:Um.... (1)

erlenic (95003) | more than 9 years ago | (#11774434)

No, he's saying that his company uses Cisco's VPN solution, which happens to include the need to use the Cisco VPN client on his home computer to access the VPN. It's a somewhat proprietary system. The restrictions I explained earlier apply to this client.

Networking via USB or Firewire probably won't help (2, Insightful)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771156)

I looked into this a while back.
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8 &c2coff=1&threadm=79240318.0302052128.2ac4b7de%40p osting.google.com&rnum=8&prev=/groups%3Fq%3Dcisco% 2B%2522default%2Bgateway%2522%2Bvpn%2Bclient%26hl% 3Den%26lr%3D%26ie%3DUTF-8%26c2coff%3D1%26sa%3DN%26 tab%3Dwg [google.com]
is a summary of what I found then.

There is an option "allow local LAN access" on the "transport" tab of the VPN client setup. However, according to the Usenet post above:

"... the administrator has the final say whether or not clients can do local LAN, both by enabling/or/ not enable "split tunnelling"
in the concentrator GROUP/CLIENT CONFIG. Without split tunnelling your stuck sending everything through the tunnel. You are only allowed to speak to your DEFAULT gateway, I.E the ISP ROUTER. Nothing you can do with the client will override this."

Re:Networking via USB or Firewire probably won't h (1)

zbaron (649094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775886)

"... the administrator has the final say whether or not clients can do local LAN, both by enabling/or/ not enable "split tunnelling" in the concentrator GROUP/CLIENT CONFIG. Without split tunnelling your stuck sending everything through the tunnel. You are only allowed to speak to your DEFAULT gateway, I.E the ISP ROUTER. Nothing you can do with the client will override this."

Correct. The VPN Concentrator has to be configured to allow local LAN access and can even restrict the addresses used, for example allow 192.168.0.* only and if the home user is using 192.168.1.*, tough luck.

Split tunneling is different, in that it leaves your default route alone and only captures traffic destined for your companies address range, this is bad bad bad, because an attack can come from your ISP and then has a nice encrypted tunnel into the corporate network. This happened to a company in Japan a couple of years back which resulted in the total banning of connecting home Windows machines to the corporate network weather via modem or VPN.

Oh, and another thing. (0, Troll)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771322)

Its a bad idea anyway.

Even Apple is dropping Firewire. [slashdot.org]

USB wins! Yea! What did it win?

Not an answer the question but A USB harddrive? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771725)

Get a USB of firewire hard drive and back up you notebooks drive to it. Hook it up to you Mac and you at least have all your data. Could be a good reason to get an iPod.

OpenFirmware features vs PC BIOS (1)

bolix (201977) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772374)

OpenFirmware [openfirmware.org] is a hell of a lot more featureladen than the PC's BIOS. While attempts to update BIOS are ongoing (see LinuxBIOS [linuxbios.org] ), a more effective shortterm solution is to emulate part of the functionality: boot off a livecd/floppy and network/fileshare over tcpip (nic or firewire). I'd advise u to look towards the always excellent Bart Lagerweij site [nu2.nu]

Same thing, for Pocket PCs? (2, Interesting)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772579)

Is there a program that will make my Pocket PC (Asus 716) behave like a normal USB drive so I can copy stuff on and off of it without needing the ActiveSync app installed?

SCSI Target support (1)

Sesse (5616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772650)

There is support in newer Linux kernels for doing just this, only for SCSI (or was it an external patch)? I think it was originally meant for SANs and such, but you could probably get about the effect you want from it if you can find the patch :-)

/* Steinar */

I think what he's trying to do is... (1)

Karma Farmer (595141) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772922)

Well, as others have pointed out, the obvious solution to his problem is to shut down the VPN and then mount the drives across the network. That's so obvious, even by normal "Ask Slashdot" standards, that I'm going to assume there's some reason it won't work.

I'm guessing that he wants to be pull down files from work to his PC, then use the Mac to modify the files, and then push the files from his PC back to work. If we further assume that he can't (effectively) add entries to his PC's route table when the VPN is on, and we assume that starting/stopping the VPN is a huge production, then the question makes sense.

My best suggestion would be to go sneakernet -- get yourself a small removeable storage medium (an iPod, a USB drive, a floppy, a digitil camera, whatever), and just transfer the files from one machine to the other that way.

VNC (1)

Linuxathome (242573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11774264)

My best suggestion would be to go sneakernet -- get yourself a small removeable storage medium (an iPod, a USB drive, a floppy, a digitil camera, whatever), and just transfer the files from one machine to the other that way.

I agree. Assuming that the complication here is that he needs the laptop running Windows as a VPN client to work, all the other suggestions such as SAMBA or live Linux CD won't work. But I wonder, does the VPN also shut out port 5900? If it doesn't, he can always run a VNC server and use the Mac to control the laptop desktop. I know you can't file share from Mac to the laptop or vice versa that way, but if he's just wanting to use one computer at home, then this is another option to the sneakernet.

Advise against trying it, security issues (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 9 years ago | (#11774104)

The whole point of having a VPN and a work computer is to isolate and secure your work data.

By propagating your work data to your home PC (even if it is a more secure Macintosh) increases the chance that something is going to go wrong. The IT/IS people at work gave you laptops so you could work at home on the laptop. They set up a VPN so that you could SECURELY connect and work from anywhere. Is the simple convienience of working on your personal computer worth the risks of bypassing a reasonably secure setup??

I can think of a few problem cases where the benefits won't outweigh the loss.
-The first is outright theft. If someone gets your laptop and knows or figures out that they can just jack in, everything is compromised.
-I know Mac's are considered more secure, but what happens if your Mac is compromised and is connected to your laptop which is also connected to the VPN?? It'd make a nice straight IP tunnel straight to you losing your job and your company getting pWnZ0r3d.
-The last, and most likely, is a file synchronization problem. The whole idea of having everything on your laptop or on the company servers is that you have one copy and know where it is. If you start working on things on your own PC, what happens if you don't save it to the right location?? You polish of a report at home and save it locally, then the big boss asks for it on monday and BAM, you're "..in the unemployment line with all those scumbags!".

In short, deal with it. Don't go monkeying with the company laptop because it isn't your machine and it isn't your data.

FireWire? Likely. USB? I doubt it. (2, Interesting)

veliath (5435) | more than 9 years ago | (#11774928)

FireWire host-controllers in PCs are symmetric as far as I know, so you could theoretically have a PC behave like a FireWire drive (i.e. speak SBP2). The protocol itself is a form of RDMA - which means FireWire controllers export their hosts as addressable 48bit memory ranges. Should be symmetric.

USB host-controller in PCs are different. In USB, only the host-controller can bus-master - i.e. initiate transactions on the USB bus - no other device on the bus can. I believe this is specified in the protocol itself. The protocol allows for a smart host-controller and dumb devices. One master and the rest slaves.

This might become clearer if you examine the terminology. The ports closest to the host-controller are said to belong to the "root hub". USB provides for a tree architecture, rooted at the host-controller's ports.

This means that you cannot connect two PCs back-back through their USB ports and say run PPP over them. AFAIK host-controllers in PCs do not have a slave mode that they can be switched to.

The PC emulating a hard-disk has to be able to become a slave to show up as a device.

veliath

What you need is... (1)

ploss (860589) | more than 9 years ago | (#11774946)

something like a pc-linq cable [google.com] or some such - check the google text ads on the right...

I am pretty sure it works with macs too.
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