[vcf-midatlantic] Moving files from an old 68k-Mac to an emulator or other machine

David Riley fraveydank at gmail.com
Fri Sep 18 09:59:07 EDT 2020

On Sep 18, 2020, at 8:29 AM, Glenn Holmer via vcf-midatlantic <vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:
> From: Glenn Holmer <cenbe at kolabnow.com>
> Subject: Re: [vcf-midatlantic] Moving files from an old 68k-Mac to an emulator or other machine
> Date: September 18, 2020 at 8:29:51 AM EDT
> To: vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org
> On 9/17/20 6:13 PM, David Riley via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
>> Actually, IMO, the best option is: if you can get an Ethernet card in
>> the SE, you can run Netatalk 2.x on Linux or NetBSD (both still
>> support AppleTalk, but netatalk 3.x does not).
> I'm keeping an old version of Debian on a Raspberry Pi so I can run Netatalk 2.2 for my Mac SEs. Is there anything current that will support AppleTalk?

Nope. They dropped AppleTalk support from Netatalk at the 3.0 transition because:

a) Almost no one used it (I was the only vocal complainer)
b) No one was left on the project to maintain it (ironically, Thomas Kaiser, the last guy who did, is one of the lead maintainers for Armbian, probably the best generic Debian port for non-RPi ARM boards)
c) Backwards compatibility with older versions of AFP (Apple Filing Protocol, the AppleShare protocol) was beginning to make adding new functionality difficult to add, so losing the older non-TCP versions really improved maintenance and security

NetBSD and Linux both still have AppleTalk kernel support; I sent a patch to fix some AppleTalk bugs in NetBSD a long while ago that I believe has been mainlined, and Linux currently has a bug in its AppleTalk stack regarding multiple interfaces (important if you're trying to run an AppleTalk router, but irrelevant otherwise) for which I need to update my patch and send to the maintainer.  But they both work.

Apple got rid of AppleTalk for everything but printers in 10.4, and the rest of it in 10.5.  OpenBSD dropped AppleTalk support a long time ago.  I don't know about FreeBSD, since I don't do much hacking on it, but I'd be surprised if it still had support.  Netatalk 2.x comes with source for a kernel module for Solaris to add AppleTalk support, but it was severely broken on Solaris 10 and I never finished trying to update it, and it definitely won't work on 11 because they changed the low-level networking interface quite a bit.

So in general, Linux is probably your best bet, followed by NetBSD, IMO.  There's no telling when Linux might get rid of AppleTalk (after all, they're deprecating the PC floppy driver), but NetBSD is unlikely to since they delight in supporting ancient and unusual things.

What I *really* want to do is make a userland AppleTalk stack/library that works via BPF to do the packet handling on anything that handles BPF (so, most of the above, including Solaris 11, but not 10, IIRC).  It would be a loser performance-wise on older machines, but for anything reasonably modern (last 15 years or so, really) it should be just fine for the kind of traffic even a medium-sized Mac lab could generate.  It would also be decidedly more secure than a kernel implementation; the Linux kernel's AppleTalk stack is a real mess, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were some latent security vulnerabilities in it.

If anyone is interested in trying to start that effort, I'd be glad to chat.  LocalTalk support via custom interfaces would be especially neat (you can't do it on a regular PC serial port because it's actually 230kbaud SDLC, which the Z8530 on the Mac and Sun machines handles just fine, but 16550 and family definitely do not).

In any case, to answer your original question: Netatalk 2.2.6 is, if I recall, the latest that will work. It incorporated some of the login module fixes backported from 3.0, but is otherwise in mothballs, so don't expect anything new unless you decide to fork it.

- Dave

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