Enterprise Software

OS X + NFSv4 == SSHFS + open bitterness

Has anyone, who isn't a die-hard Darwin fanatic, ever tried to recompile their kernel in OS X? If you answered yes then you are among a rare breed of user indeed.

Has anyone, who isn't a die-hard Darwin fanatic, ever tried to recompile their kernel in OS X? If you answered yes then you are among a rare breed of user indeed. Congratulations, I hope that you were better for the experience, and that it worked.

Meanwhile any sort of reality distortion field that I may have been previously emersed in is well and truly gone. The cause was NFSv4 and a touch of naivety.

For an operating system that was recently certified as UNIX, the inability to handle NFSv4 without external patching was simply staggering to me — and remains to be. However, this is a problem endemic to the entire BSD community as the same problem appears on FreeBSD and OpenBSD.

If you wish to get into the dark world of patching and kernel recompilation on BSDs, go here: http://snowhite.cis.uoguelph.ca/nfsv4/

Mac users beware though, getting your hands on the latest kernel sources is terribly hard. Thanks for embracing the spirit of open source Apple.

In the world of the pragmatic, the solution is to ditch NFSv4 and move to a filesystem over ssh, SSHFS. Since any server that has NFS on it would also have SSH on it, then switching from one to the other should not be a problem and if you are lucky you might be able to even remove the NFS server entirely.

SSHFS is based on FUSE with allows for filesystems to be created within user space without recompiling the kernel. So you can therefore connect to SSHFS or GmailFS without having to get dirty with recompiling. Useful if you do not have sufficient filesystem permission or you can't find the current XNU source easily, in Apple's case.

To get SSHFS working with a GUI on OS X, visit http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/users/08/mgorbach/MacFusionWeb and follow the instructions procedures. You will have to install MacFUSE from Google http://code.google.com/p/macfuse/ first.

Unless you feel the need for jailing ssh accounts or similar security measures that's all you have to do. It just works.

On a "got the job done" level I am more than happy. But on a "open source philosophy" level I am highly disappointed in Apple for making the current XNU source so hard to get to. It has been well over a month and I cannot get to the actual sources that are on my computer — and it is meant to be open source software.

Add to this that I would not want to put an XServe in the middle of a Linux server farm if it cannot even mount NFSv4 properly — it's not like the standard just came out of the oven.

About Chris Duckett

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

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