SUMMARY: Reading Mac Floppies

From: Ed Morin (
Date: Thu Nov 15 1990 - 13:05:42 CST

Enclosed is my summary of reading Mac floppies on Suns. In a nutshell, it
can't be done (unless they were written on a Mac SE/FDHD (or whatever the
model is that reads and writes DOS disks).

First, my original request:

| We are looking for software to use a SparcStation's floppy drive for reading
| (and writing?) Mac floppies. I realize that Mac floppies have a "special"
| format, thus making my chances slim, but figured it was still worth asking...

Thanks to those that responded with suggestions and/or information (there were
more "me-too's"):

George Planansky <uunet!!gplan>
uunet!hbo!bice (Brent A. Bice)
uunet!Corp.Sun.COM!creagh (Creagh Yates)
uunet!!bchivers (Brent Chivers)
uunet!Corp.Sun.COM!kevin (Kevin Sheehan {Consulting Poster Child})
David N. Blank <uunet!!dnb>

Basically, the Mac's (and Amiga's I'm told) vary their spindle speed to
retain a fairly even bit density across their disks. The drives that PCs
and Suns use can't do that trick. The only way around this is to set up
some sort of reasonable Mac/Sun connection so you can read disks on the
Mac and transfer them to the Sun.

Brent Chivers made the suggestion that we are actually pursuing at the moment.
That is Mt. Xinu's KA-Share software which makes the Sun look like a big Mac
server (I'm getting hungry :-) via a Kinetic's FastPath. The Macs then use
AppleShare to access files on the Sun (even NFS mounted volumes). (They also
have a printer spooler solution that we are playing with, but haven't gotten
much experience with it yet.)

The Gator Box by Caymen systems is another solution along this line. We
didn't go with the Gator box because we already had a FastPath-4 and I have
heard (but not substantiated) that the Gator box has poorer throughput.

There are other Mac/Sun connectivity solutions out there involving public
domain S/W, but we decided to go with Mt. Xinu because I am confident in
their product and services and they seem to have a good reputation. (The
price was right too...)

Ed Morin
Manager, Computer & Network Operations
Mobile Data International

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