AFS for OS X/Darwin
What is AFS and why do I need it?
AFS provides a system of accessing network file servers in a
reasonable and scalable manner. So from a user standpoint, it's much
like SMB/CIFS and Appleshare. A lot of universities (such as UNC
Chapel Hill, where I work) use it to provide integrated access to
files on central servers. Unless you need to access an AFS cell, you
don't need it.
ATN has some good docs on
afs to get you started.
But before we get started, a few caveats:
- If you haven't already, install the OS X developer tools (now
called Xcode). If you're playing with afs, you're going to need the
developer tools soon enough, might as well install them now.
- I'm making no claims that this will work for you, it's just
what's worked for me.
- Read the readmes, associated pages, and notices, as this page
will certainly be out of date at some time(s).
- To do some of this, you need to work as root. You can either do
this by using the command "sudo /bin/tcsh" or (if root is enabled for
login) su to root in a terminal window (using the terminal app in the
- I suggest you use vi as your text editor, UNC's ATN has a pretty
good document on it Some of the directories you'll be using aren't
available in Finder, and some of the files are marked read only (so
with vi you can reach all of the files, and using "w!" you can save
your revisions of a read only file.
- If you want to use a GUI editor, BBEdit is probably your best
choice, but you may have trouble accessing the files because of
- Be careful, you can munge your machine if you're not. Make
backups of data before you start!
There are two good options, OpenAFS
and Arla. I've
tried both, and there's little difference in performance. OpenAFS is
probably the better choice for most folks, since it is in wide
Most afs cells offer unix login servers, so you can also access afs
space through a login server with an SFTP client such as fugu or fetch, or you can mount shares
directly to the finder using MacFusion.
- Installing OpenAFS for 10.3
- Installing OpenAFS for 10.5
- UNC Chapel Hill's ITS has written up instructions for installing OpenAFS. If you're
not using isis.unc.edu as your main afs cell, you can still use this
document as a starting point but you'll need different settings.
- You should consider integrating the logins so that you can get
AFS tokens when you login to the main console or screensaver. Likewise,
if you login remotely to your machine with SSH, you might want to add
PAM support for AFS to the system so you can get tokens in your SSH
sessions. Information on integrating
Kerberos and AFS is here.
Also, if you're interested, here's some other references:
I've put together a list of useful AFS
tools, things like athentication plugins, GUI tools, and useful
Here's a older document describing
installation of Arla.