Earlier this week I bought a LaCie 500Gb USB drive so I could bring VMWare images between work and home. When I went to copy the image, the copy failed with no meaningful error message (Error 0, I believe). Trying the copy on the command line was a little more informative: as it turns out, the LaCie drive ships with a FAT-32 file system which can only handle files up to 4Gb in size. As the image I was trying to copy had a 8Gb file in it, this was a no go.
My initial thought was to use the UNIX commands
split to break the files into individual smaller chunks, but this is hardly a satisfactory answer. If I formatted the drive to the Mac filesystem, the Windows machines would not be able to read it at all. If I formatted the drive the “new” NTFS filesystem, Windows can read and write just fine but the Macintosh wouldn’t be able to write to it.
Fortunately, there’s an excellent install for the Mac called MacFUSE that allows access to all sorts of filesystem types not natively supported by the Macintosh, include NTFS. Here’s how I set up MacFUSE.
- go to http://code.google.com/p/macfuse/
- download the latest version
Installation by itself does nothing except set you up for the next stage: installing drivers for particular file systems.
You have to search through the documentation for a bit to figure out where to get NTFS to with Windows filesystems. It actually turns out to be rather easy:
- go to http://macntfs-3g.blogspot.com/
- look for the latest NTFS-3G [stable] release
- click on the link, download and install the package
You can now write to NTFS drives. It’s a little slow – it’s taking me about 2 hours to copy 8Gb to the La Cie drive, but that’s better than not being able to do it at all. You wouldn’t want to work live off the drive however, and it may be worth investigating commercial NTFS compatibility applications if you need to do this.
To reformat your La Cie drive plotline, use Applications > Disk Utility to erase and install an empty NTFS file system.
SSHFS lets you see remote filesystems through SSH.
- go to http://code.google.com/p/macfuse/wiki/MACFUSE_FS_SSHFS
- download the version appropriate to your Mac; you can store this in your home directory or if you’re a little more organized about your path, a directory link
- make a mount point – this is just a directory on your Mac that is needed by MacFUSE; it can be hidden as Mac OS will show you the mounted drive on your desktop and in
/Volumes. For example, on the command line run
mkdir -p ~/.Volumes/Remote.
- run the mount command; you’ll be prompted for your remote system password
You’ll see the drive appearing on your desktop. I’ve actually created a shell alias to do the mounting for me called “mount-xxx”. If you don’t know how to do this, it’s probably too much to go into right now.
The nice thing about SSHFS is that I could see being able to run an entire Mac desktop development shop with all the backend computing running Linux, all being accessed nicely through SSHFS.