REVIEWS

Mac-to-NeXT Partner

One of the features re-moved from NEXTSTEP 3.1 was the ability to mount files over the network from AppleShare servers. Although NeXT had introduced the feature with NEXTSTEP 3.0, the company's AppleShare client support never worked satisfactorily.

Now the connections can be made with Partner, from Information Presentation Technologies (IPT). Like NeXT's original client software, Partner enables NeXT machines to act as AppleShare clients on networks with AppleShare servers. Unlike NeXT's software, Partner works reliably on both small and large networks.

Partner is configured via a panel in the Preferences application. Once enabled, Appletalk zones appear in /Net/AppleShare, listing AppleShare volumes within each zone. Selecting volumes in the File Viewer brings up a login panel for AppleShare user validation. With successful validation, Macintosh files appear in the File Viewer on your NEXTSTEP computer. You can read, write, and edit files that reside on AppleShare file systems and copy files between both systems.

Partner also includes support for AppleTalk printing through its uPrint module. AppleTalk printers are added through the Preferences app, giving NEXTSTEP users a simple means to access the many PostScript devices that include built-in support for AppleTalk.

Users who need, however, to go the other way access files or printers on NEXTSTEP computers from their Macintosh systems should consider IPT's other product, uShare, which turns a NEXTSTEP computer into an AppleShare file server. NEXTSTEP computers can be very attractive AppleShare servers, since multitasking UNIX computers often have larger disks and faster CPUs, while moving network traffic faster than most Macintosh AppleShare servers.

Although we have seen no problems using Partner and uShare in small- to medium-sized networks of Macintosh computers and NeXT machines, some users on the Internet have claimed that, due to NFS server conflicts, NeXT's NetWare client and Partner do not work together properly. We were not able to duplicate these reports. These problems, if they exist at all, may be the fault of IPT or NeXT or they may be the result of improper installation. Because they push the edge of heterogeneous networking, Partner and uShare can reveal cracks in the internetworking system. In the past, IPT has earned a solid reputation for being responsive to user's problems, providing workarounds and fixing bugs.

We evaluated Partner and uShare on NeXT black hardware. NEXT-STEP-for-Intel versions are under development and should be available soon.

by Joe Barello


Partner 1.17

3 Cubes

Mounts AppleShare volumes under the NEXTSTEP file system, enabling you to read and write files on Macintosh computer networks. With included uPrint software, NEXTSTEP applications can print to AppleTalk printers via the standard Print panel.

$149 Partner on one NEXTSTEP client (includes uPrint)

$745 Partner Plus single-client bundle (includes Partner, uShare, uPrint, and uMail)

$1995 Partner Plus five-client bundle (includes Partner, uShare, uPrint, ` and uMail)

$2995 Partner Plus unlimited bundle (includes Partner, uShare, uPrint, and uMail)

Information Presentation Technologies, 555 Chorro St., Ste. A, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405.

805/541-3000; 805/541-3037 fax; info@iptech.com.