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How do you mount a network volume in Leopard?

Saturday, November 17, 2007 by Dave Winer.

A picture named houseOfCards.gifI rushed through this in my piece about Leopard a couple of weeks ago, I do things other than review software, so I don't always have enough time to go into depth. And I wanted to be reasonably sure it was as bad as I thought it was. But now I am reasonably sure, but maybe I'm still missing something, if so, I bet a lot of other people are too. Here's the problem with networking under Leopard. Permalink to this paragraph

In the previous version of Mac OS X, you would mount a remote volume, and from then on it was as if it were one of your local disks. That's how networking has worked on Macs since the 80s, and it's the way it works on Windows (not sure when it came in there, but it was present on NT and XP). It's the way networked OSes should work, it's hard to imagine them not working this way. Permalink to this paragraph

However, amazingly, that's not how it works on Leopard. Permalink to this paragraph

Here's an example. I have three computers on my LAN that I can access from the laptop I'm writing this piece on, Bucharest, Darkstar and Illium. They are conveniently listed in the Shared section in every Finder window. This is a small improvement, in previous Macs, you had to 2click on a Network item in the same place, and choose the computer from a dialog. Now you can see the names without clicking (It's a small improvement because believe me, I've got these names memorized.)  Permalink to this paragraph

Let's say I want to look at the disk named Ohio on the computer named Darkstar. I click on Darkstar, and a list of disks appears, among them Ohio. I double-click on Ohio and the list of disks is replaced by the files and folders in Ohio. Nothing has changed in the left pane of the window, no disk has been mounted, I can access the contents of this disk only in this window, and only as long as it stays open. If I navigate to another disk or folder, I no longer have access to this disk. This is the first major step back. (There were some minor reverses on the way here, each of the steps in this process take much longer for some reason than they did on the earlier version of the OS. I have two machines that haven't been Leopardized, so I can compare, and the delays can be really long, and yes, I've rebooted everything numerous times. The pre-Leopard machines are faster. I actually replaced one of my Mac Minis because it was too slow, now after "upgrading" it's just as slow as the one it replaced. Oy.) Permalink to this paragraph

But here's the real kicker. Suppose I want to save a file to the Ohio disk from inside one of my apps. There's no way to do it! Permalink to this paragraph

This is the part I can't believe. Permalink to this paragraph

I can't even go through the navigation process to locate the disk (a lot of extra steps from the old method, where I could just access it as if it were a local disk). It's not that it's hard to do, it's that you can't do it. This is a basic feature that goes back to the 80s. How do they get away with removing it, and no one calls them on it, and they don't explain it anywhere? (Or did they and I missed it. In a Steve Jobs keynote, did he say "Oh and one more thing, we removed a feature so basic you don't even realize it's there.") Permalink to this paragraph

Now, as I said earlier, it's possible it is there, staring me in the face, and I just can't see it. I've been using computers long enough to know that that sometimes happens. If so, show me how to do it. How do I save a file to a server volume from inside an app? Permalink to this paragraph

Update: You can navigate to shared disks in some apps, and not in others, as has been pointed out in the comments. Note that in earlier versions of the OS you could save to network disks in all apps.  Permalink to this paragraph

Here's a video that illustrates how the Finder doesn't let me mount a network drive in Leopard. Permalink to this paragraph

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Last update: 11/17/2007; 10:09:01 PM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

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